The programs organized at the Oshawa Community Museum and Archives and St. Luke’s Catholic school are quite different in nature because their purposes are very different as well as their audience. The Museum and Archives’ activities are geared toward teaching older persons (over the age of 12) about local history. The Library (or Learning Commons) at St. Luke’s, on the other hand, is geared towards teaching the students, who are ages 4-13, about general reading, literacy, technology and research skills. Because their audience and purpose differ greatly, their programs are vastly different. For example, the Museum and Archives took us on a walking tour of the different historical houses and taught us about the local history through verbal communication, a presentation with visuals in the artifacts but our attention was not kept using anything but their voices and the historical objects. At St. Luke’s, the librarian there would teach her students about research visually with her colourful posters as well as by giving them hands on activities to participate in and keep them engaged. Furthermore, it is apparent that when speaking to different age groups you have a different idea of what sorts of things will keep them occupied and interested.
While doing my tour of the Cobourg Public Library on my first day, my supervisor allowed me to participate in a children’s activity that the library puts on every Friday afternoon in the children’s section. This activity was delivered for kids under the age of 10 but over the age of 4; every week they make a different craft and are then given a delicious snack (cookies, candy, chips). The staff in the department take time out of their busy schedules to plan the activity during the week when they have time and it is put on by not the Head Children’s Librarian but the young women who work part-time in the department. They use resources that are kept in the cupboards of the activity room that are purchased using their department’s budget. Because this activity is a “drop in” activity, meaning that you do not have to sign up in advanced or pay to participate, it is hard to know how many children are going to show up. The young lady running the program on the Friday that I was present said that she can have anywhere from 2 to 14 kids so she has to prepare as much as possible for either case. It would be hard to prepare snacks as well as art materials in this case because you do not want to waste anything. Drop-in events are a good idea for busy libraries/ families but they also have those challenges of not knowing how many kids you are going to have.