Within the library community, we understand the value of public programming—at least from an experiential perspective, seeing how our users benefit. But how can we understand the benefits and challenges of public programming systematically across libraries, and ultimately at a national level?
The National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA), a project of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office, is addressing these questions. Research work during the past year has yielded initial findings. You may find these findings of interest, and your comments will help to move this work forward.
The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) thinks about the public policy implications of public programming. For many in the library community, the focus is on the substantive programming itself and the direct benefits to communities. For our orientation, public programming provides libraries with visibility (think marketing and advertising) in communities as important cultural and educational institutions. Public programming may also advance specific policy objectives such as improving literacy (including digital literacy), understanding challenges of privacy and surveillance in society, or the importance of widespread access to advanced technology (e.g., high-speed broadband).