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6 Tips for Authors to Create Engaging Library Programs

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Libraries are community service powerhouses. A peek at any library’s calendar of events reveals one tough fact: author programs are a small fraction of a library’s lineup. Patrons often shun author programs in favor of knitting classes, business improvement courses, and movie nights.


Many modern library users see libraries as one-stop community centers. Instead of checking out books, patrons use library meeting space for neighborhood groups, conduct online research on public computers connected to the Internet, or learn a new skill. They seek programs that provide the most personal value, rendering the typical author program stale.

An engaging library program still turns heads. Librarians want to feature authors who understand the importance of programming that yields value. And because librarians act as gatekeepers for their patrons, programming is another way to help readers find and enjoy new books.

Use these six tips to create engaging library programs:

Ditch the author reading. Library users want to meet authors who can look them in the eye and light up a stage. Instead of reading behind a lectern, authors can offer inspiring programs that complement a book or find engaging ways to frame a story. By giving attendees a unique experience, a compelling program can convert passive attendees into passionate fans.

Use the Three Es. Librarians are looking for programs that fulfill at least two of the Three Es: Engage, Educate, Entertain. Where old-style author events focused on educating attendees about specific books, today’s patrons are drawn to interactive events. They want to be engaged and/or entertained.

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