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Murder By the Book- Alexandrian Public Library

December 3, 2010

Run If You Can by Owen Dudley(1960) & The Devil's Punchbowl by Duane Decker (1960) from http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalsextant/5128876101/

Public library programming has its tried and true standards: book discussion, story time, author readings, and the like. We love this stuff, our patrons love it. That said, adventurous librarians are always looking for creative ways to attract interest, incorporate artistic talent, and keep things fresh. One of the best places for libraries to look for new programming ideas is, of course, other libraries! Sharing these ideas is as important as sharing any other best practice and though libraries’ audiences, funding, and directions may diverge, there is a lot to gain from these exchanges.

As more and more libraries get involved with Flickr, its value in sharing programing practice is enriched. A Flickr set is the perfect encapsulation for an event, allowing the library to display promotional material, event production, and the audience. The Alexandrian, Indiana Public Library sets the bar high with its Murder by the Book live action mystery performance, a Halloween thriller acted out by library staff and photographed by “Loud Librarian” Marissa Preddis who has compiled a nice gallery on APL’s Flickr account and written up the event on her Loud Librarian Blog. Preddis’ writes: “In the course of several months, we bought a script, tweaked it, began rehearsals, promoted the program, created programs and “guess the killer!” sheets, bought a smorgasbord of food, engaged some “plants” in the audience to help us along, got props, and did some set dressing to the library itself.” A lot of work no doubt but a memorable program for those in attendance.

APL’s Flickr account has an extensive record of library events and is supplemented by staff social media applications such as Loud Librarian. Unfortunately, this great resource is rather difficult to find on APL’s website. If not accessed from Flickr, the most direct link I could find was from a gallery displaying APL’s new information desks. Worth photographing perhaps but not necessarily the most intuitive route. Users not previously familiar with Flickr may have a difficult time using the account without a page on the library site to introduce it. Though separated nicely into sets, many of APL’s photos have no tags, notes, or even unique names. Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web blog stresses the importance of enriching photos with labesl, tags, and notes to enable access and enrich content. It is difficult to say how many of APL’s patrons are visiting its Flickr account, but a direct link from its website and search-directing tags on its photos would no doubt increase this number.

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