Mary Grace Flaherty authors new book on planning library events

April 23, 2021

Mary Grace Flaherty, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has written a new book to help library staff plan and execute events that will serve their communities. 

Great Library Events: From Planning to Promotion to Evaluation, published by Rowman & Littlefield in April, provides guidance for every stage of an event, from defining scope and determining objectives to ensuring inclusivity and assessing outcomes.

“As programs and events become an even more substantial part of library services, having tools that allow for intentional planning and evaluating are increasingly important,” Flaherty said.

Photo of Mary Gracy Flaherty and the cover of her new book
 SILS Associate Professor Mary Grace Flaherty and the cover of her new book.

Contributors include SILS faculty members Amelia Gibson and Maggie Melo, and graduates Erica Brody (MSLS ’16), Taylor Johnson (MSLS ’16), and Lydia Neuroth (MSLS ’20).

Gibson suggests strategies for making events more inclusive, and Melo outlines how to plan a remote Makerspace workshop. Neuroth, Museum Educator at the John Marshall House at Preservation Virginia, shares tips for a Zine-making workshop.

Brody, Research and Education Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University, explains how she organized a continuing education event for VCU dentistry faculty, and Johnson, Assistant Director at the EPA-RTP Library, shares lessons she learned from pivoting during uncertain times.

“Emphasizing community engagement and responsiveness to funders, library users, and other stakeholders, this book powerfully connects programming to organizational mission and long-term goals,” said Joy Worland, state library consultant for Continuing Education and Small and Rural Libraries at the Vermont Department of Libraries, in a review of the book on Rowman & Littlefield’s website. “Practical information and tools on planning, assessment and reporting demonstrate how to strengthen this connection, giving librarians the confidence to think big and courageously about programming.”

Flaherty, a former Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) fellow and Fulbright Scholar, has over 25 years of experience working in a variety of library settings, including academic, medical research, special and public. She holds a PhD in information science & technology from Syracuse University, an MLS from the University of Maryland, and an MS in behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University.

She has published articles in Library & Information Research, Library Quarterly, the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, and the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, among others. Her books include Promoting Individual and Community Health at the Library (American Library Association, 2018) and The Library Staff Development Handbook: How to Maximize Your Library’s Most Important Resource (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), which received a starred review in Library Journal.