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UnProgramming: Passive Programming

Why Passive Programming?

Passive programming offers the opportunity to reach more patrons while expending less librarian energy. If that’s not enough of a draw, passive programs can also end up being great library decorations. From programs as simple as “book bundles” to the more active programs described by Marge Loch-Wouters and Amy Koester, passive programming can have a big impact.

Marge Loch-Wouters and Amy Koester present a “Unprogramming: Recipes for Successful Programming with School-Age Children & Teens” which discusses the uses of passive programming and ideas for creating your own. Loch-Wouters and Koester have also created an “Unprogramming at the Library” Pinterest board with more ideas.

On her blog, “Tiny Tips for Library Fun,” Marge Loch-Wouters presents a recipe for creating fun passive programming as well as some specific program ideas.

Passive Programming Ideas for Children:

Lending Friends: Do you decorate with book based stuffed animals, dolls, or other toys? See how some other libraries are using those fun toys in The Future Librarian Superhero blog article “Elephant & Piggie’s EXCELLENT Summer Vacation” and The New York Times: City Room article “A Doll’s Magic, Free to Renew.”

Library Sleepover: Doesn’t sound like passive programming, does it? But if it is a sleepover for stuffed animals, that changes everything. The Show Me Librarian details how she ties in the fun of a slumber party without all the work of an actual sleepover in her articles “Stuffed Animal Sleepover Story Time” and “Make New Friends with a Stuffed Animal Sleepover!”

What We’re Reading Wall: From The Show Me Librarian blog, this passive program is aimed at juvenile readers.

Creative Competitions: Any sort of competition involving artwork can easily be turned into a passive program, some examples are “Masquerade” from Abby the Librarian and “Titan Library’s BookFace Photography Contest” from the Titan Library. 

Passive Programming Ideas for Teens

Most Passive Programming is aimed at teens, but many of these ideas can be adapted or adopted wholesale to fit another age group.

Getting Started with Passive Programs: “Reaching Teens Subversively through Passive Programming” from the Programming Librarian blog explains the concept of passive programming in relationship to teens and also presents some passive program ideas.

What’s So Great About It?  In the article “Passive, Not Aggressive,” blogger Abby the Librarian provides a brief explanation of the benefits of passive programs and presents some passive program ideas.

Boredom Busters: The Reading Everywhere blog post “Summer Reading Ideas: Passive Programs,” presents a different way to look at passive programs.

More Ideas: 
In the article “Passive Programming and Other Experimental Library Doings,” the MLISsing in Action blogger provides quirky ideas that provide a lot of opportunities for patrons to participate in marketing their own favorite books.

Rachelle McPhillips shares some great ideas in her presentation: “Passive Programming for Teens and Tweens.” McPhillips talks about specifics for recreating these programs and details about what worked, what didn’t work, and why.