20 Simple Tips To Make Performers Love Your Library

All librarians share their best and worst performer stories with each other.
But, did you know that performers also share their best and worst library stories with each other? These tips may help keep your library on the "best" list…

1. Arrange for the performer to load/unload at a door with easy access to the show area (it’s no fun to drag crates through a lobby packed with patrons), carts with wheels will need ramps or elevators.
2. Reserve the performer a parking space (NOT in handicapped, in fire lanes or on the grass — parking tickets do happen).
3. Provide a volunteer or staff member to offer to help haul their supplies or at least to guard their supplies in-between trips to their vehicle.
4. Keep the audience out of the show area until 5-minutes before show time, to allow for a calm set-up and mental prep time.
5. If an audiovisual or speaker system was requested by the performer, set it up and test it prior to their arrival.
6. If payment is due on the day of the show, give the performer their check upon arrival, so you don’t have to be hunted down later when you are busy with patrons.
7. Provide a cold bottle of water right before show time.
8. If it’s a children’s program, quiet the audience before they enter the show area and insure they are seated in an orderly manner (not a herd of noisy buffalo).
9. Limit the number of audience members to comfortably fit the area and/or to comply with fire code (it’s not much fun when the firemen arrive uninvited – yes, it’s happened).
10. Request parents with infants or strollers stay in the lobby area (best case) or at least to stay in the back row, near an exit door (2nd best case).
11. Help the performer maintain audience control by stationing volunteers and staff to enforce any specific performer rules (i.e., noisy children must leave, cell phones off, no photography, no one past the taped line, etc.) – you are paying performers to entertain, not to police your patrons.
12. Forewarn the performer if media reporters will be in attendance – introduce them to each other and help them set-up photo opportunities during or after the program.
13. Start the show promptly on time — hold prize give-aways or awards until after the show is over and give the performer the option of packing-up and exiting before you get started.
14. Provide a warm welcome — stand up, engage the audience’s attention, and enthusiastically introduce the performer to the audience.
15. If allowing late arrivals, reserve an area for them in the back of the room and escort them to their seats with minimal disruption.
16. When the performer concludes, lead the audience in an appreciative round of applause, publicly thank them, and give them a "plug" for their business — mention their website or make business cards available.
17. Instruct the audience which way to leave the meeting area and keep the crowd exiting in an orderly fashion (performers usually have other commitments and need to leave on-time).
18. If your audience was pleased, don’t let the performer leave until you tell them so – pass on all the positive comments you overheard and, ever-so-gently, pass on constructive criticism and suggestions – performers are sensitive folk, but they all want to improve their programs.
19. If you felt the performer’s work was exceptional, by all means write them a quick email or note and tell them so – offer to be used as a referral or an endorsement.
20. Performers rarely get to see media clippings about their appearances, so sending them an original newspaper or magazine clipping for their scrapbook will make you their favorite librarian!

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