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alt+library: library programming for people in their 20s and 30s

Sacramento Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Lori Easterwood, Programming Librarian, leasterwood@saclibrary.org

Problem Statement

People between the ages of 20 and 39 make up 35.6% of Sacramento Public Library cardholders, and although an estimated 61% of the Sacramento county population in this age range have library cards, library programming has not previously been designed with this audience in mind.

Innovation

To better serve people in their 20s and 30s, the alt+library programming initiative was formed. Consisting of a blog (www.altlibrary.com), a meetup group (www.meetup.com/altlibrary), on-going programming, and a book club that reads cult fiction and meets in bars and coffee shops, alt+library attempts to reach the 20s and 30s audience with programming and online marketing designed specifically for them, even if it means those programs take place outside of the library or are a little more edgy than typical library programming.

Progress

The alt+library programs have enjoyed excellent attendance, and are routinely featured in local media, both in print and on television—raising awareness of the library as a place for more than just books. The alt+library blog had over 6,000 hits last year and has had well over 2,000 already this year. The alt+library meetup group has 252 members, forming a community of readers who both use the library and attend library programs. Programs such as Punk Rock Aerobics, Speed Dating for Book Lovers, Speed Friending, and video gaming events hold appeal for many age groups, but through alt+library marketing online and the placement of library event flyers in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and retail stores throughout Sacramento, these programs have been attended by large numbers of people in our target audience. Feedback about alt+library has been incredibly positive and enthusiastic; those who attend one alt+library event often attend another, and bring a friend along. Most importantly, the Sacramento Public Library is now actively engaging with a community of readers in their 20s and 30s.