Nonprofits are everywhere. Wherever you are located, it's likely that there are numerous nonprofit organizations at work in your community that you've never even heard of. In 2009, the Hayward (Calif.) Public Library merged with another city department and took on the city's community grants program. They found that in this city of 150,000 there are over 2,000 nonprofit organizations!
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With funding through ALA's Libraries Ready to Code, we collaborated with a community makerspace and the local Boys & Girls Club to offer coding programs at three locations.
In addition to the Boys & Girls Club and the community makerspace, we also held programs at the library. Participating students ranged from third grade through high school.
In 2016-17 and 2017-18, Montclair Community Library hosted a YA Digital Book Trailer Contest for students in grades 9 through 12. Students read a YA book, then created and produced a trailer to inspire others to read the book. The trailers could be live action, animation or stop-action, with voiceover, music, narration and special effects.
This program was modeled off a previous successful program held back in February where teens taste-tested candies from around the world. Because of the success of this previous program, the Teen Advisory Board at my library branch requested other taste-test programs.
We decided to try different Oreo flavors because of the abundance of different kinds of Oreos, especially around the holidays.
Our library has partnered with our local Wood River Parks and Recreation Department to offer a weekly children's program for kids (ages 5 and younger) that combines gymnastics and motor skills with literacy.
The library provides staff and a story for storytime; the parks department provices the gymnastics equipment and space for the little ones to play.
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.
In September teens have busy schedules, and I want our public library to offer a relaxing break and meaningful creative outlets. However, I also strive to design programs where teens can grapple with the topics they are passionate about. Top on the list of pressing concerns is freedom of expression.