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This month, I’ve handed the spotlight to a dear friend who always knows what obscure holiday it may be and how to celebrate it! Kami Bumgardner is the youth services coordinator at Maitland Public Library in Maitland, Fla., and works primarily with toddlers and kids through fifth grade. Any questions or comments will be forwarded to her. Enjoy!
This six-session pilot program encourages creativity — and interest in library services — for elementary- and middle school-aged children through open-ended art projects such as Watercolor Resist Paintings and Continuous Line Monsters.
We offered this program in collaboration with the organization Phoenix Family, which provided us with access to their existing after-school program and art supplies.
The Fifth Annual Middle School Panel was a great opportunity for parents/guardians to hear about the local middle schools and their programs. This program was geared for parents/guardians of fourth- and fifth-graders.
The event was hosted by the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library in partnership with 17 area schools and organizations. Program representatives from the area schools addressed parents, legal guardians and students about their respective middle schools in terms of academic programs, resources and performance.
We created an escape room with a Harry Potter theme for teens and adults. Participants signed up for a half-hour slot, with four people to a time slot. We read them a short introduction, and then they had 30 minutes to solve all the puzzles we created in the room. This included finding keys, figuring out codes, translating runes and searching for clues with a black light wand.
PRISM is a monthly program aimed toward LGBTQ+ teens and straight allies in our county with the goals of providing a safe place for all. Our young adults are given the opportunity to create their own supportive, inclusive community in an area which often denies such.
PRISM allows teens, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, to connect and discuss issues that are relevant to their lives in a relaxing, social setting; the program empowers teens to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality and justice.
Passive programs can be a great way to regularly attract students into the library without having planned, specific events. Pick a corner of the library that can be designated for these drop-by activities, set out the supplies and some instructions, and let it go! Here are a few of my go-to passive programs.
The holidays always bring a lot of traffic to our libraries, and December 2016 was no exception. We offered Light Up The Holidays: Stories and Crafts as a children's program in all of our eight branches and even one of our Bookmobile stops. The program covered four different holidays that fell during the same week last year.
Like the increasingly popular "escape rooms" — in which players solve a series of puzzles to break out of a room — Breakouts use a compelling story, time limit, and series of puzzles to create an interactive game. But instead of breaking out of a locked room, students must work together to break into a tightly locked box before the timer runs out. Puzzles lead to the combinations for the different types of locks, and many games also include a digital element.
Stickering is a fun alternative to the coloring craze, and it requires few supplies. I purchased three "Paint by Sticker" books — two for children and one for adults — to use at the event. Participants were invited to pick out whatever image they wanted from the books and go to work!
The children's images took about 30 minutes to complete, and the ones for adults took approximately an hour.
Watch the video below to see how painting-by-sticker works.
Extreme Hide-and-Seek is a building-wide hide-and-seek competition for teens that takes place after the library is closed. It is a high-energy, fun-filled program that is a big hit with teens. It can be expanded or modified depending on the size of your library, takes minimal planning and is very low cost! We offered it as part of Afterhours, a regular Friday evening teen program.
We created this program after seeing another library's Facebook post about creating a program with materials from Daddy Daughter Hair Factory, an online community "built to encourage fathers who would like to learn about doing their daughters' hair."
I love March — partly because green is my favorite color and, of course, on St. Patrick's Day everyone gets to wear green. I remember as a kid picking out something green to wear so I wouldn't get pinched at school. As the years went by, I would try to hide my green just to trick everyone.
Whether you love the holiday or just love green like me, have fun indulging in green galore with these St. Patrick’s Day crafts.
Every Friday for the month of January we had "Crafternoons" for school-aged kids. Each week was a different craft activity, all related to storytelling and literacy. We also incorporated physical literacy by using our fine motor skills to build our creations, and promoted gross motor skills by having the kids act out their stories.
You Belong is a weekly, ongoing, after-school drop-in program designed to provide an inclusive and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ young people in the suburbs outside Toronto. We host one creative LGBTQ+ guest speaker or fabulously fun event every month.
Art Lab is a recurring program focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), with a focus on art. It is held at 7 p.m. every Monday. The first and third Mondays of the month are planned lessons, and the second and fourth Mondays are open draw sessions for students to relax and meet other artists.
The information below focuses on the Art Lab lesson: Electric Painting, in which the students made an interactive sound device using paint.