(Micha O’Connor is the Community Events Liaison for Youth Services at BCPL.)
You know when you’re browsing the Internet and one of those pesky windows infiltrates your field of vision? This is not a new idea. In the marketing/retail world, this is a strategy implored to lure potential customers to a particular good or service. Fashion designers have pop-up shops open frequently, artists will stage a surprise showing in alternate gallery spaces, and U2 famously did so in LA resulting their music video classic “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Now, libraries are getting in on the action with pop-up programs. Essentially, the process is much the same; we still plan the same way as we would for any other program, save for the time and place. That’s when the real magic happens…
Programming at the library requires a lot of moving parts. We’re always looking for the perfect combination of topic and audience. There are so many variables to consider, and we have both hits and misses. There are times when the library is buzzing with activity for no particular reason and we’re left thinking “why aren’t we having a program?” We realize your lives are busy – while you may use the library, your schedule might be so that you can’t participate in a program. For this reason, we’re giving the concept of pop-up programming a test drive. We are employing the scientific method known as “trial and error” to determine times when the library is teeming with life. Like those pesky pop-up windows, we will show up in the public space with some new task or technology for you to try.
For the past two weeks, I have piloted this idea with a crate full of our new tech toys. I have dropped in at every branch with the chance for unsuspecting patrons to try our virtual reality equipment, coding robots and 3D printing pens. A simple loudspeaker message was the only warning I gave to signify that a program would be occurring. More often than not, I had a crowd gather to try their hand at our traveling tech. I will continue to push my luck and the boundaries of the calendar and busy schedules with nothing but a cart full of ideas.
I hope that you won’t disable your browser against our spontaneous activity!
Micha O’Connor is the Community Events Liaison for Youth Services at BCPL. The “Maestro of Mayhem” as she is frequently called, thrives on the spontaneity and innovation that is becoming the norm of library programming.
(Becky Kempf is the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator at Boone County Public Library.)
I grew up as a child model – for my father. I don’t have any modeling talent, but I must have been in thousands of his photos. I remember being mortified as a teenager at a family reunion when my father pulled out his slides and projector and proceeded to bore everyone for at least an hour with photos of my childhood. My sister and brother were forced to model, too! Here is a picture of the three of us. Not only did my father take these pictures, he developed them in his own darkroom and built the frame.
My granddaughter, Sylvie
I bring up my father’s photography hobby because it’s obvious that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – I bribed my own children to model for me and now I expect my grandchildren to smile for the camera, too. My oldest grandchild, Sylvie, is ten and I introduced her to photography with a Little Tykes camera when she was two. Here she is today, using one of my cameras.
Daisy spent three days posing!
My poor dogs have been pulled into this madness, as well. My little dog, Daisy, had to endure three photo shoots on three different days for me to get this picture of her and my books! And you can imagine how much Daisy and Maggie enjoyed being told to “stay” while standing in a flower pot!
Maggie and Daisy
My father gave me a Kodak Pony camera when I was in high school and taught me how to use a darkroom. He claimed a bathroom in our house as his darkroom and filled it with strategically placed equipment and an enlarger. He even rigged a red light bulb outside the door that would light up when he was using the bathroom, I mean darkroom. Actually, the bathroom was never used in the traditional way, you would have had to move the table with the heavy enlarger off of the toilet! (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about – google it! Before digital cameras were invented, creating photos was a long involved messy business in the dark with trays of water and nasty, smelly chemicals.)
Back to high school – did I mention that I was a military brat? My dad was a Colonel in the Air Force and we traveled a lot. I attended two high schools – I went to Goose High School in Labrador (Canada) for 9th and 10th grades and then my dad was transferred to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and I graduated from Beavercreek High School in 1976. I worked on the school newspaper and yearbook while in high school and wrote articles, roamed the halls taking pictures and did layouts for the yearbook pages.
I graduated from Wright State University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. I majored in physical geography (basically meteorology) and minored in communication. I took all of the public speaking, writing, journalism and television broadcasting classes I could get. My plan at that time was to be a weather girl, but I fell in love, got married and worked for awhile for my father’s side business, Deerbrook Industries. My dad built furniture and I drew the plans and wrote the instructions so others could make the furniture themselves. We sold the plans through a little mail order catalog.
My four children – yep, I still photograph them and tell them how I want them to pose
Long story, short, I had four children and I was a stay-at-home mom for the first three. I went to work for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana when the youngest of the three started school. I used my photography, editing, writing and communication skills as a Membership Development Specialist and handled PR and recruitment for a four-county area as well as the cookie sale, the newsletter and even some programming and training.
A picture of me from my recent photography trip to Alaska.
Fast forward…after the birth of my fourth child and two jobs later, I saw the posting in the Enquirer for a Public Relations Coordinator at Boone County Public Library and I said, “I’m going to get that job!” I took a vacation day and worked all day on my resume, cover letter and portfolio of work, dropped the packet off at the Scheben Branch, and voila – I got the job and here I am today. I’ve been with BCPL for 15 years as of August 6.
If you’d asked me fifteen years ago what my favorite thing about the library was, I’d have said books. I’ve been a power reader ever since I read my first word and I still love reading as much as I ever did, but now I appreciate the library for the way it brings the community together. Because we depend so much on texting and social media to communicate today, we have lost some of the face-to-face communication we used to have. The Library is a place where you can interact with your friends, neighbors, and people in the community you’ve never met before, while attending programs, using meeting rooms, browsing the stacks, eating in the cafe or even just reading in a corner. The library is one of the few places you can go where you don’t need money in your wallet. You can come here for free entertainment and free education, no matter your age, your status in life, your race. Everyone is welcome at the library and I’m proud to work here and know that all of us together have enhanced people’s lives and made a difference in our community.