1) Sign up forms work
Many libraries use sign-up forms to generate advance interest and commitment.
Starting at least a month before your event, put a sign-up sheet (with an attached pen) at the circulation desk. Ask patrons for their name, email and phone numbers (in case of snow), and the number of people who will be attending. (When they sign up, suggest that they put it into their calendar right then!)
Some libraries even print and give out tickets to patrons. These are good reminders for people to put on their refrigerators. If you have their email you can also send them an email reminder!
2) Create a FaceBook event
As soon as you’ve scheduled something, create a FaceBook event. Then, two months before the event, begin inviting people who Like your page. Ask them to share it with their friends — even if they can’t come. Invite the presenter to put postings on the event page.
3) Announce the event in your library newsletter and send information to local news, online and radio
There are so many ways that people hear about events. How can you get yours to the right people? Start with your local newspaper and radio stations. Ask patrons where they get their information from and add those to your list. Plan on sending publicity 1-3 months in advance of an event.
4) Serve ice cream!
This is one of the most successful things that libraries can do to bring people to an event. Ask a local ice cream parlor for a contribution (or a discount). Make sure people know that this event will fill up, so they MUST sign up in advance.