The Passive Programming Playbook

101 Ways to Get Library Customers off the Sidelines

by Paula Willey and Andria L. Amaral


Offers new and field-tested ideas for reaching diverse library customers with fun programming—even on a limited budget.

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Cover image for The Passive Programming Playbook

August 2020

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 150
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Adult Services and Programs
  Children's and Young Adult Programs
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This book offers 101 passive programming ideas that are extendable, adaptable, customizable, and above all, stealable—so your passive programming never runs dry.

Passive programming is a cheap, quick, fun way to make all library customers feel like part of the community. It can support reading initiatives, foster family engagement, encourage visit frequency, and coax interaction out of library lurkers—while barely making a dent in your programming budget. Passive programming can be targeted at children, adults, seniors, or teens; used to augment existing programs; and executed in places where staff-led programming can't reach. It can be light-footed and spontaneous, easily deployed to reflect and respond to current news, media, library events, even the weather. But even passive programming pros run out of ideas sometimes, and when that happens, they want a fresh, funny source of inspiration.


  • Make programming less intimidating
  • Get the most bang for your buck from whatever resources you have available
  • Make diverse customers feel welcome and seen
  • Encourage repeat/regular library visits
  • Boost your programming statistics
Author Info

Paula Willey is a children's librarian in Baltimore, MD. She has written about children's literature and family engagement for publications such as School Library Journal, the Baltimore SunBooklistVOYA, and Baltimore's Child and speaks on topics ranging from book illustration and trends in children's literature to what it means when a kid is totally into truly creepy books. A member of the 2019 Michael S. Printz Committee, she is a vocal advocate for families with justice system involvement.

Andria L. Amaral has spent more than 20 years planning and developing public library programs and collections and services for students in grades 6–12, including after-school activities, summer reading contests, and innovative outreach programs targeting at-risk and incarcerated teens. She has provided professional development workshops at local and national library and education conferences, has guest lectured for MLIS students at the University of South Carolina and YA Literature students at the College of Charleston, and serves on the board of the YALLFest young adult literature festival. Amaral lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband and pack of rescue dogs.

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