Librarian's Guide to Passive Programming

Easy and Affordable Activities for All Ages

by Emily T. Wichman


As library budgets continue to tighten, librarians are seeking new ways to stretch their programming dollars and maximize staff resources. Passive programming allows libraries to inexpensively showcase their services while inviting visitors of all ages to enjoy the value that libraries bring to the community.

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Cover image for Librarian's Guide to Passive Programming

March 2012

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 152
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs/General
  Adult Services and Programs/General

Learn the concept of passive programming and get started easily with plans for implementing a wide array of intergenerational programs in libraries with this professional primer.

Libraries are an integral part of the community, a fact that can often be overlooked in today's world of home-based online research. Passive programs encourage patrons to linger—either in the library or on the library's website—and promote a connection to the library's collections, its services, and the community.

Librarian's Guide to Passive Programming: Easy and Affordable Activities for All Ages presents plans for 32 passive programs designed to capture the attention of library patrons. Each chapter—which contains programs grouped thematically—details the steps necessary to reproduce the programs, and includes supporting handouts, activities, and photographs. This helpful guide also examines what passive programming is, why passive programming is relevant, and offers strategies across all aspects of its implementation—from developing program ideas to evaluating program success.


  • Step-by-step instructions for more than 30 individual programs
  • Lists of supplies and resources needed for program implementation
  • Alternative approaches for how to adapt the program for in-house or online use
  • Strategies for developing, marketing, and evaluating passive programs


  • Includes activities for promoting patrons' interest in—and use of—the library
  • Details the steps necessary to reproduce the programs
  • Provides tips for developing program ideas
  • Reveals ways to stretch programming dollars and staff resources
Author Info

Emily T. Wichman is branch manager at the Williamsburg Branch of Clermont County Public Library, Williamsburg, OH.



"Public libraries and school libraries will benefit from all the ideas included and, as many of these are intergenerational, college libraries might also benefit from some of these activities as outreach techniques—ARBA

"This is a tremendously useful guide for librarians interested in passive programming or upgrading their programming practices. . . . This guide enables personalization by asking programming librarians to make choices, rather than presuming there are one-size-fits-all library programs. I found myself wishing that there were even more programs in the book."—Library Media Connection

"Stuck in a programming rut? If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to reinvigorate your programming, this volume is a great place to start. . . . Recommended for public librarians serving all ages."—Booklist Online

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