My niece is about to have her second baby, so I offered to take her toddler, Dexter, to storytime to give mommy a break. Sure, we could plop on the couch and watch Miss Rachel on YouTube for a few hours. However, I knew from working at a library myself years ago that storytimes are great for helping toddlers to socialize and build reading skills.    

I don’t have kids myself and now work from home, so I have no idea what storytime options are offered at my library. What I needed was a storytime calendar with the dates and times clearly marked and descriptions so I could find something age-appropriate that would fit with my schedule. I also wanted something I could print out and keep on my desk in case time opens in my workday when Dexter and I could sneak off to the library (sorry, boss, but it’s the library, so it’s work-related, right?).  

The simple act of my library providing a calendar with all the details for upcoming storytimes is such good customer service. It is a stress reliever because I don’t have to click through a million links to find what I need. With a busy work and home life, I have to plan ahead, so it’s smart for the library to make it easy for me to find programs I can attend. The library’s calendar helps me, and it helps the library in terms of greater attendance numbers.  

It’s also a great example of a “passive promotion” because you simply place the information where your patrons are looking anyway. Think “set it and forget it.” Passive promotions take little effort on your part but produce big results. Leaving out printed calendars, posting them on a website and social media channels, or linking to them in an e-newsletter are all examples of passive promotions.  

In my job, I come across all kinds of great examples of passive promotions, including some pretty impressive calendars. Here are a few I just had to share: 

This poster immediately draws your attention to a display of materials for Autism Awareness Month. If you’ve got the space and can print out something large, try a poster for instant impact. 

Try color-coding storytime sessions by age group for at-a-glance planning. The backside of the promotion calls attention to a nice variety of events, including a “marshmallow shooting day” event. (I wonder if chocolate bars and graham crackers are included?) 

This calendar makes it clear the library offers a lot of options, yet it’s easy to scan to find just what you want. And who doesn’t like a social media post with great emojis? Posting to social media is a smart passive programming tactic because it’s where your patrons and community are already looking!   

I really like this simple but beautiful flyer, which focuses just on Summer Reading Program events. It makes an eye-catching social post and does double duty as a flyer that can be placed in the library.  

Check out this excellent monthly calendar, which highlights a few key events but with some detail. Nice job!  

I could offer more examples, but my point is this: When you’re thinking of ways your library can provide exceptional customer service, don’t overlook the regular, everyday things you do, like providing event calendars. For aunts like me, they’re the difference between showing up for your amazing storytime and checking out a dozen picture books or staying at home to watch Miss Rachel on repeat. Again.  

If you’re not yet a LibraryAware customer and would like to learn more about how its print, web, social media, email, and content — created by experienced library staff — can help your organization, ask for a demo! 

Kathy Lussier is the Director of Engagement and Marketing for NoveList. After this post was completed, her niece delivered a beautiful baby girl named Sophia Michelle. Kathy is currently listening to Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller and taking her great-nephew to storytime.