8 PROMOTING AFRICAN AMERICAN WRITERS the program, the Springfield AARI hosted a “virtual” interview between a group of high school students and the civil rights icon and Georgia congress- man via Skype, a videoconferencing application. The program was planned in collaboration with high school instructors. Copies of March: Book One were distributed to students to read in preparation for the interview. In-class discussion time was scheduled, allowing students to take part in critical reflection and to prepare interview questions to ask Congressman Lewis. Steps Three and Four establish a program timeline and set objectives. To develop your program to promote African American writers, establish a program planning timeline, ideally twelve to eighteen months out from the date that the actual program is to happen. Once a public program theme and/or purpose has been determined, develop the program around an antici- pated audience’s wants and needs. Planning should include objectives like determining arrangements for the featured writers, finding the best location or venue in which to hold the program, and reserving it based on the best dates and times to hold it. Program planners must determine how to provide access to the writing represented by the theme. Determine whether books with the chosen theme and by the writer or writers are available to readers in local libraries, book- stores, and/or online. Are book signings and/or book sales wanted? Decide whether writer visits are desired as part of the public programming, because they may take a period of months to plan and organize. To schedule authors, the program planners must contact the writers or their publishers or agents to determine who is available for a specific program engagement date, and in some cases, to determine who might be affordable based on a program- mer’s budget. For budgeting, it’s best to have selected two or three choices of guest writers as possible invitees in cases of glitches that may occur in matching your needs with that of writers. Perhaps you and your working group of library program planners and other literacy partners do not want to feature an author visit, but rather want to develop other types of programs. There are many possible program options, including holding book club sessions, hosting a literacy program that features readers who read to children, sponsoring a summer reading program where an entire community choses one title and arranges book discussions around it, or having a program based around a poetry reading by readers or performers to highlight the work of one or more poets. I manage coordination of programs by keeping a to-do list to make sure that tasks are completed according to deadlines, objectives are met, and pro- grams are accomplished. Always delegate or obtain a volunteer to oversee each program task. Some program planners may choose to keep a record and progress report of program tasks by using a shared Excel spreadsheet or by using project management software. Burnout, or mental and physical exhaus- tion, is something the programmer should guard against. However, burnout is common among persons who are responsible for organizing events, especially
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