Creative Library Programs You Don’t Know About

Check out your library's event calendar to discover what cool, fun, and free programs they have to offer.

Libraries always find innovative ways to connect with their communities.

Almost all public libraries offer programs like storytimes, book clubs, and tutoring. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Although specific programs may only be hosted at select locations, paying attention to your local facility may lead you to find something surprising. Here are some unusual library events for all ages that go far beyond reading.


Libraries occasionally get involved with their communities by hosting fairs of various themes. The Opelika Public Library hosted a Kid’s Craft Fair on June 15, 2023. Unlike typical carnivals, libraries rarely require admission fees or even payments toward activities within the event. 

Library fairs that do require payment use the funds as donations. These contribute directly to the facility’s maintenance, staffing, and programs. Peruse your local library’s calendar to see if they have any upcoming fairs you may enjoy!

Tabletop and Board Games

Not only can you check out board games at the library, but frequent programs are also available for all ages to play with others. This can be a great personal enjoyment or a way to get your children involved with extracurricular activities involving your local public library.

For example, the Dallas Public Library hosted a Dungeons and Dragons program, which remains a popular recurring event. Tabletop and board games encourage community members to strategize while making friends simultaneously.


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Dances and Balls

Looking for an excuse to dress up and put your best foot forward? Check local libraries to see if they’re hosting dancing events. Specific locations occasionally allow people to bask in elegance at an affordable price.

For example, the Berwyn Public Library is holding its fifteenth annual Fairy Tale Ball. This is held in a local park each year and consists of various activities, including crafts, games, and character performances.


Many library programs encourage patrons to get outside. These can vary by location, including checking out bikes, community gardens, and park passes. One particular trend that’s becoming popular in libraries is hiking backpacks.

The Denver Public Library allows visitors to check out hiking backpacks consisting of wilderness guides, trail tools like binoculars, and first aid. If you’ve been looking for free resources that nurture your love of nature, explore your local library’s website to find out what they offer.

Outdoor Movies

Drive-ins and outdoor movies are a staple of the summer. Luckily, libraries frequently provide this service, and usually for free. Patrons can set out blankets, bring lawn chairs, and enjoy refreshments while watching a summer flick.

The Falmouth Public Library is one of many examples with its Movies Under the Stars program. Showings included The Goonies, Wall-E, and The Incredibles. During the winter months, specific libraries provide indoor showings of movies as part of their programming.


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A nearby library may host unique community celebrations depending on where you look. Some of these events may include fees donated to the library facility, while others are free.

California’s Los Angeles Public Library hosts the Los Angeles Libros Festival. This bilingual event offers a full day of Spanish-language and bilingual storytelling. It also includes author readings, workshops, musical performances, and community engagement.

Comic Cons

You may associate comic cons with expansive event centers. Still, specific libraries around the US have also been catching on to the activity. Comic cons are fandom-related gatherings where participants commonly cosplay as their favorite characters and engage in related events.

Mesa County’s library system is hosting its tenth annual Comic Con in September 2024. Activities included a cosplay contest, panels, a Smashbros tournament, and more. If you’ve been looking for an affordable way to attend comic cons, visit your local public libraries.

Summer Reading Programs

Library programs run all year round, and librarians are always searching for inventive ways to keep children interested in reading over the summer.

The Troy Public Library in Michigan has a unique way of starting its reading programs with a kickoff. Children as young as infants and adolescents are encouraged to participate in the festivities. Services include food trucks, animals, and games. At the same time, children can sign up for summer reading and log their hours while attending the kickoff.


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Battle of the Books

Several libraries nationwide participate in the Battle of the Books. Participating children read selected titles by the librarians and get quizzed on them for points on a selected date. Battle of the Books encourages children to engage in friendly competition while simultaneously developing their reading skills.

The Crete Public Library District in Illinois is one of several facilities that host Battle of the Books. Their reading selections include The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas, and more.


Music lovers may appreciate events hosted by select libraries nationwide. Some libraries provide free passes to specific art programs, while others host the event.

The Boston Public Library provides its Concerts in the Courtyard series to uplift community artists. The programs have a theme that aligns with the musicians they select from a pool of applicants. The theme for 2024 is “Revolutionary Music: Music for Social Change,” meant to highlight how music has initiated social change in the United States.

Libraries provide more than books. Perusing specific library location calendars may lead you to find a program you never expected. EveryLibrary aims to ensure funding for these programs is provided.



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