Libraries are increasingly becoming hubs for community play and engagement. But, do we really have what it takes to create a large scale community program that is both free to the public and a celebration of our library users? In this interactive and informative program, we’ll explore strategies for planning a community carnival, creating a planning team that involves community members, and executing this type of event. Snippets of past carnivals will be revealed, as well. Challenges and future opportunities will be discussed.

As a result of this program, participants will learn:
• How to create a planning team, and the planning process
• Strategies for creating this type of program at no cost to the library user, while being budget friendly for the library
• Strategies for creating community partnerships, including offering community members a seat on the planning team

Why this type of program is important:
The current trend in libraries is to create experiences for library users that often face barriers that prohibit them from the experience. In doing so, libraries are spending money to provide free programs on a smaller scale. But, a community carnival is an opportunity to have a broader impact, and to involve overlooked community partners and resources. This type of program does not have to be budget busting either. It is possible to create a large-scale program for the whole community without charging for any of it.


Original broadcast February 13, 2020

Biography: April Watkins
April has worked with children in some capacity her entire adult life, including six years as a high school journalism teacher, and three years as a Children’s Librarian. She can regularly be seen rocking rainbow knee-high socks, tulle skirts, blue hair, and pigtails as she embodies her childhood heroes, Rainbow Bright and Punky Brewster. She loves scrapbooking, alternative music, dystopian YA novels, and binge-watching. April has a BS in Education from Bowling Green State University and a MA in Library and Information Sciences from the University of South Florida. She currently serves as the Early Childhood Services Senior Librarian for Suffolk Public Library where she has started a city-wide reading initiatives, and transformed the way SPL conducts Early Literacy Outreach. She lives in Smithfield, VA with her husband, two sons, and their very large St. Bernard.