Does Big Budget = Lotsa Programs? The Survey Says...

Lisa over at Thrive After Three and I did an informal survey recently to look at the state of school-age programming. We had 171 responses to help us get a snapshot of services.

Today we want to look at number of programs that people reported as well as if there is a a correlation between that number and how much budget is devoted to programming.

From the survey results, it is clear that we librarians love to program for school-age kids. On average, respondents presented 42 programs annually.  The high was 200 - at a shop with five librarians. The lower end included 2 programs at another shop with 5 librarians. So you never know!

A pleasant surprise was how many passive programs libraries were reported. Out of that average of 42 yearly programs, almost 10 were passive programs. Over 3/4 of respondents run active and passive programs.

Annual program budgets varied from 0 to $12,000; the average was $1,169. Looking at 42 programs annually, that breaks down to about $27 per program. We know that contracted performances (singers, jugglers, magicians, storytellers, etc) that need $300-$500 to fund can really eat up a program budget fast. So we might speculate that that $27 per program may be on the high side.

We were especially curious to see if a large program budget meant more programs. This is clearly not the case. The programming budgets  of respondents varied widely as did the number of programs. Most interesting, over half the respondents had an annual budget for programs of $500 or less and on average had the same number of programs as libraries with large budgets.  Some spend on average $1-2 per program. This may indicate these libraries are not spending money on contracted performers but more likely running program series with materials on hand, book clubs, etc.

Libraries that have large program budgets and staff are lucky - but programming numbers don't seem to correlate with that large budget. Youth librarians have long used creativity and ingenuity to create programming magic and the survey seems to bear this implication out.

To see more published results of the survey, please stop over at Lisa's blog Thrive After Three here, here, here, here!

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I don't remember know if I counted these things in with my responses and I wonder who else did - while I have a programming budget that's increased a lot in the past few years, the few performers I hire are almost always paid for with grants or special donations from the Friends. I didn't really think of those as part of my budget. Our consortium pays for 3-4 performers for Storywagon each summer and they must come out of SOME budget, but it isn't mine (-:)