Having science, technology, engineering, and math programs in the library is nothing new. When the library had grant funding for programs, we had instructors from outside organizations present programs such as The Mystery of Chemistry, Rube Goldberg Marble Machine, The Science of Toys, and Radical Robots. Now that we no longer have grant funding and have a tighter budget, I’m trying to keep STEM in the library with some in-house programming. One such program was Build Your Own City. I asked coworkers to bring in their recycling and set out everything on a long table. Each participant received a large flat piece of cardboard, their choice of recyclables, tape, and glue. I set out some books about buildings and cities for inspiration. We brainstormed things we liked in our city and things we think our city is missing. Each person designed her own city. At the end, each person shared her city with the group. Another program is LEGO Club. Using grant money, I purchased several boxes of LEGO bricks. Once a month, LEGO Club meets to build anything and everything. I set out books about buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers for inspiration. At the end of the hour, each participant can choose one creation to put in a display case in the library for everyone to see. It is interesting to see how many parents and children work together to create their masterpieces. To celebrate International Games Day, we hold a gaming program in the library. Last November, in addition to the traditional board games and Wii games, I created a live-action Angry Birds game. I saved boxes and tubes of different shapes and sizes. Participants worked in teams; one team set up the structure, and the other team tried to knock it down. The structure that lasted the longest won a point for the construction team. It was a lot of fun, but it was also more challenging than participants originally thought it would be. I chimed in every once in a while to ask questions like, “How do you think you could make your structure more sturdy?” and “Why does that tower fall over but that tower stays standing?” Teams became more strategic as time went on, noticing things like the number of boxes on the base level made a difference.
In an attempt to bolster the library’s services for teens, I have begun to hold monthly programs exclusively for those in grades 6 through 12. Examples of programs are as follows:
- Hunger Games Party- Teens had to survive in the arena for Hunger Games-style snacks, crafts, and challenges.
- Cupcake Wars- Teens each got 3 unfrosted cupcakes, a mound of white frosting, and their choice of 3 toppings to create a book-themed cupcake in 30 minutes. Library staff chose three winners. Teens were able to eat their masterpieces at the end.
- Minute to Win It Party- Teens competed in a series of minute-long challenges. Results were hilarious.
- Anime/Manga Club- Manga-loving teens came together to discuss manga, eat snacks, make crafts, and watch manga at this recurring summer program.
- Inflation 101: Balloon Sculpting Workshop- Local business taught teens how to make balloon animals and other sculptures.
- Recycled Runway- Local business taught teens how to alter an old t-shirt to make something new and fabulous.
- Teen Crafternoons- Summer program featuring a new craft each week including duct tape, glove monsters, and yarn creatures.
- Yu-Gi-Oh Party- Local resident led Yu-Gi-Oh card tournament.
- Books & Bites- An un-book club with snacks. Teens were asked to share books they’d read and enjoyed. I booktalked some of my favorites, too.
- Teen Murder Mystery- A live-action version of the board game Clue.
Some programs, like LEGO Club, are automatically going to be a hit. Unfortunately, book-centered programs are sometimes not so popular. To change this, I decided to do a program based on the beloved Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. I had originally planned to set this up in stations, but based on the number of kids who attended and the fact that I did not have volunteer help, we did each activity as a group. The first activity was Pin the Booger on Greg Heffley. In the format of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, kids stuck “boogers” made of tacky poster adhesive to a poster of the character. Next was the Rowley Jefferson bean bag toss. I drew the character’s face on a large piece of foam board and cut out the mouth. Kids took turns trying to toss bean bags through the mouth. We then moved to tables for writing and drawing activities such as a trivia contest, a Pictionary-style guessing game, and shared comic drawing. Afterward, we did a team mummy wrap with toilet paper. At the end of the program, I drew names to win free Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. It was a fun program that attracted both boys and girls in the upper elementary crowd.
The theme of the summer reading program this year was Dig Into Reading. Program highlights included worms in the library (partnership with Community CROPS), bulldozers in the parking lot (partnered with Public Works), and pigeons in story time (Mo Willems Book Day).
One of the programs I planned was Mo Willems Book Day. I created giant cutouts of Pigeon, Elephant, and Piggie for photos, set up three book-related craft stations, and had Teen Advisory Board volunteers read books aloud for one hour of the day. Over two hundred people participated in the activities throughout the day.
Heavy Equipment Day for the Summer Reading Program 2013. The library worked with the city public works department to bring equipment to the library. After a construction-themed storytime, families went outside to see and touch the vehicles. I think the public works employees had as much fun as the kids!
For the adult summer reading program in 2012, I planned a make-and-take craft program for adults. There were four stations with a different craft at each including, a book page broach, a duct tape lanyard, a clothespin magnet, and a fabric rose. Our budget was $50 to purchase enough supplies to have the program at two different library branches. I made an instruction sheet for each craft station.
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This is an example of a family story time I did in March 2013. Children of all ages are welcome at this story time, but most of those who come regularly are in early elementary.
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The Monster at the End of This Book was one of my favorites as a child. My mom would read it in a Grover voice. I especially like the part where he builds the brick wall and talks about how strong you are when it crumbles.
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