Have you ever thought about hosting a class at your local library? Libraries are community epicenters, and they offer many free and low-cost classes and experiences to their patrons. Share your skills with your community by hosting a class at your local library on a topic about which you are passionate. It’s a great way to support your local library without spending a dime.
This is part of a series about how to use the library beyond borrowing books. #LibrariesAreMoreThanBooks
Libraries are way more than just a dusty collection of books. While many people check out physical books from the library, most libraries offer a variety of other resources and services. In addition to being serial library book borrowers, we’ve used our library’s museum passes, their Storywalk, their Park Packs, and many more resources other than books.
Attend A Class At Your Local Library
Most libraries offer classes, often called programs, on a variety of topics. Our library hosts informational classes held by organizations like historical societies, museums, and garden clubs. They host skills-based classes led by local artists or experts on topics from gardening and knitting to retirement planning, yoga, and cooking. On occasion, they have programs just for entertainment like movie nights and small outdoor concerts.
Library programs are for adults and kids. Typically, the children’s librarian plans a series of events for kids while the adult librarian hosts a series of programs for adults. Be sure to check your library’s schedule of events. You might be surprised what they have, and it could be a great date night or girls’ night out if you find the right program.
Host A Class At Your Local Library
A couple of times, I’ve hosted a class at my local library. A few years ago, I hosted a bookmaking class for kids. My boys really wanted to make and publish their own books, so we ordered enough book-publishing kits to invite others to try this activity with us at a formal library event. The library covered the cost of the book kits. Your library will likely pay for reasonable costs of materials for a class you host as well.
This summer, Jess (a friend and RGK co-founder) and I hosted a three-part Summer Sustainability Series for Kids. We taught kids how to build a soilarium to observe composting. We showed little ones how to build a sprout house to encourage growing our own food and better understanding the resources needed to grow food (and hopefully encourage less food waste). In a few weeks, we’ll host the final installment and help kids set up this landfill gas emissions demonstration experiment to see how food scraps in a landfill emit methane and belong in a compost pile instead.
In the spring, I reached out to the children’s librarian to see if they would be interested in this series. Libraries often pay program hosts for their services, but I volunteered to host the classes for free. If you’re interested in hosting a class at your library, work with the librarian to see what kind of budget they have, the types of programs that do well in their community, and how you might be able to contribute to their calendar of events.
Librarians are often looking for new programs to host for their patrons. As long as the content of the program fits the library’s needs and is suitable for patrons, they are likely to be thrilled to have you host a program.
If you plan to host a program as a resident just to share your expertise or knowledge, most libraries will appreciate showcasing the talents within their community. If you intend to host an event as a means to promote your business, however, be sure you are very clear about your intentions with the library.
Libraries can be pretty particular about promoting for-profit businesses. It’s really important in most libraries to remain especially neutral on just about anything. They don’t want to have to vet the quality of a business, the political opinions of a business, etc.. when those businesses are operating as an agent of the library. Thus, libraries sometimes have broad policies that won’t promote certain types of events held by for-profit companies.
Our three-part Sustainability Series wasn’t awash in promotion. We introduced ourselves as owners of Raising Global Kidizens and provided project handouts with our URL at the bottom. Aside from that, we had no further discussion about the company in a marketing or promotional sense.
Have you ever attended or hosted a program at your local library? If so, I’d love to hear the topic of the program and how it went. If you’re a librarian and have any more tips, share them in the comments!