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Unicorn Party

A girl on a horse decorated as a unicorn

The Unicorn Party was planned in response to the growing fandom associated with unicorns, particularly among children, tweens and teens. The program lasted 90 minutes and comprised several unicorn-based activities, unicorn snacks, a unicorn book display and a "live unicorn" (i.e. decorated pony).

Obscure Holidays: Fun for Everyone

cwhittall's picture
Chocolate chip cookies

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!

 

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Creative Engagement with Youth

Continuous Line Monster art project

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.

Middle School Panel

School bus

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.

Harry Potter Escape Room

The finished escape room

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: Rural LGBTQ+ Alliance

Teens enjoying a Welcome Werewolves concert

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 Doesn't Mean Boring: 5 Passive Program Ideas for School Libraries

klewallen's picture
Girls making bookmarks

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.

Group of girls making bookmarks

'Breakout' of the Mold: Breakout Programs in Libraries

klewallen's picture
Group of boys who almost broke the code

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.

Paint by Sticker

Paint by Sticker lion

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.

Afterhours: Extreme Hide-and-Seek

Girl covering her eyes

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.

Hail to the Green

Hands holding shamrock slime

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.

 

Fire! Fire!

A firetruck

The Fire! Fire! program is designed to pique young children's interest in firefighting, safety and suiting up for a fire. Invited firefighters read three books to the children and, after a safety demonstration, we head out to our loading dock where a fire vehicle is inspected and enjoyed.

Art Lab: Electric Painting

Girl using the electric paint project

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.

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