If the Unthinkable Happens...Working with performers and libraries, I occasionally hear horror stories about a performer not showing up when they are scheduled. Thankfully thus far, with an ever-growing population of artists for Unbound Booking, this has only happened to us twice. Usually our performers arrive at the venue between an hour and an hour and a half before the show to set up, and meet their friendly neighborhood librarian.
One thing that was suggested, and makes a lot of sense, is to call and confirm with the performer the day of, or the day before the performance, just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Unbound Booking keeps a calendar for each performer to help them remember all of their bookings. We also institute some hefty consequences for missing performances that our performers are anxious to avoid.
I polled a group of librarians to see what they did when their scheduled performer didn’t show up (because unfortunately these things do happen), and I received quite a few responses. Most folks agreed however that being able to pull together something else was better than sending patrons home.
Some of the suggestions I received include: For Children’s programs – have the Children’s librarian stand up and tell a few stories. This suggestion came from a librarian who assured me that any Children’s librarian worth their salt would be able to stand up and tell at least 3 stories with no props and no preparation. It’s not something I can do, but kudos to those that can!
Have some current (good) movies on hand to throw in the DVD player. A twist on this, make it a –read-along movie by turning off the sound and putting on the subtitles. This could also make it into a bi-lingual program.
One librarian (in advance) took pictures of familiar objects in the library, zoomed in on and cropped them to blow up the image, and then would hold prints up for the crowd to guess what they were pictures of. I may try and do an electronic version of this game for everyone to download and have on hand.
Another suggestion that I really liked was a library scavenger hunt. This would take some forethought and planning, (creating the clues) but the library could have the scavenger hunt questions printed up in advance for emergencies. Split the people up into teams and then have some sort of prize for the winners. Maybe give out food coupons, or leftover summer reading prizes. A twist on this might be a Dewy Decimal scavenger hunt, where participants learn the system while hunting for clues (matching a book with an author, subject, publisher, publish date, etc.). This will also help patrons learn more about using their library.
Other good suggestions included having a trivia contest on hand, something like Wheel of Fortune, or Jeopardy already made up and ready to go. Breaking out board games for people to play, and having crafts on hand that people can make.
If you have other suggestions that you would like to see posted here, or free resources for librarians that we can link bad to, please feel free to email them to me at email@example.com