In the last couple weeks, I’ve been on a couple of interviews. For the last interview, I was asked to bring in some program ideas that I might implement if I did get the job. (It’s for an Adult Services position, with an emphasis on seniors.) As I was brainstorming away, asking friends for ideas, and looking at the calendars of local libraries, I came up with an idea that I am really excited about, and which could be tailored to any age group. It’s not entirely original, I’ve seen it done in different ways by different people, but I think I might have come up with a unique spin on it (by which I mean that I did not see it being offered with the same structure, but I did not search extensively to make sure my idea was “unique,” because honestly, it doesn’t matter).

The idea: A Culture Club
The “unique” part: Instead of having a monthly program, I would like to have weekly events that appeal to different people in the library. Some patrons may choose to come to every week’s event, some may come to one. (When there is a fifth “week,” it’s a bye week.) For the example below, I’ve chosen Germany. I was creating a mock calendar for October for the interview, which happens to be German American Heritage Month. I also happen to have German ancestry, so I went with that.

Week 1: Movie/Discussion. I chose Run, Lola, Run for the movie, mostly because I love this movie. It has an interesting set-up, no onscreen sex, and is actually in German (with subtitles). Following the movie, there would be a discussion for those who wished to stay (with no pressure on those who just wanted to enjoy a movie to stay).

Week 2: Book Discussion. I spent a lot of time trying to find a book that looked interesting, someone accurate to German culture, but did not mention WWII or Nazis. If we are celebrating Germany, then we need to look at positive things. In the end, I decided on Faust by Goethe. I read it in college, and while not “about” Germany, it is a German book. The trouble would be finding enough copies of the same translation. Although it could be interesting to have people read different translations and see how that affects their reading of the book.

Week 3: Food and Music. Food and Music are a big part of any culture. I would love to have this be a pot-luck style event, but would need to confirm enough dishes that the patrons get a nice over-view of the food and make sure there is enough food for everyone. All patrons are welcome to bring a dish in, but one is not necessary for attendance. For the music, I would like to start with the oldest examples, getting more modern as the evening continues. I think it would be fun to have some really short stories/poems that people could read, facts about Germany, German immigration to America, and German contributions to the world scattered around the room. Mostly, this would be a social event, but I’d like to have something for the wallflowers as well.

Week 4: Guest speaker. For this, I would probably go to the local colleges first in my attempt to recruit a speaker. I think a talk about the various Germans and German-Americans who have contributed to science, literature, architecture, etc would be a great focus for a talk. Again, I think Germany is associated too much with Nazi-Germany. The country/culture was around long before that, will be around long after that. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that as a society, we should ignore/forget about Hitler, just that during a cultural celebration there are plenty of other things to talk about.)

To me, a program like this hits a good balance of fun/recreational, educational, and literacy. Does your library host any sort of culture club or cultural events? What have you found that works (or doesn’t)?