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.
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Just over a year ago, my branch of Baltimore County Public Library started doing monthly outreach visits at the Charles Hickey School at the Maryland Juvenile Detention Center for Boys. We do regular outreach to all the other schools in our area, we thought; why not bring library-led reading and discussion to this one, too?
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.
You've waited all these years to finally be an adult — no one to tell you to do your homework, clean your room, what time to be home or to eat your peas. Now what?
Adulting 101 is your go-to program to learn the basics of being a responsible grown-up. Monthly programs begin in February and run through the summer. We kicked off the series with a program called Bare Essential Cooking.
Talking Truth was initiated in fall 2015 to support and build on understanding of climate disruption. Our experiential workshops employ storytelling, reflective writing, discussions and mindfulness exercises that foster a world that is socially transforming.
Teen Tech Tutors is a hands-on monthly program in which local teens help others (mostly older adults) with technology questions. Patrons bring their own devices to the library where teens are available to answer questions and give one-on-one tech advice, training and support. This is a drop-in program; registration is not required.
The Highland Park Public Library envisioned forming one robotics team that would meet weekly to participate in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL). FLL is a robotics program that gives elementary and middle-school students the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem using robots and research.
I believe in the value of public programming, and I derive great satisfaction from both attending and planning them. Therefore, I was excited to be asked to speak at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference about “Creating Dynamic Programs and Events at Your Academic Library.” When an unavoidable conflict took away this opportunity, I opted to share my firsthand knowledge via the secondhand means of a video, available here.
The idea to hold a Quidditch clinic for teens arose from our local teens' excitement for any and all Harry Potter-related programming. We’ve done numerous Harry Potter-themed programs in the past (typically trivia or costumed events), but had yet to tackle Quidditch. We wanted to engage teens that might have an interest in physical activities as this event was in collaboration with our local YMCA.
Imagine our surprise when we found out a rogue scientist had set up a lab right here in the library ... and, you guessed it, things have gone awry. The tests have gotten out of control, and we’re now overrun with zombies!
In this fun after-hours program, young adult patrons came to the library ready to battle the hordes. Their challenge: use their smarts to decode clues ... or become one of the infected.
A common perception on campuses is that students will attend programs if free food is part of the deal. Well, that may be true. Instead of an afterthought, food can be the main focus and still not cost a fortune. Two recent food-focused events helped us invite students to come see Storytime Censored, a fall exhibition of challenged or banned children’s books.
As librarians everywhere will attest, fake news is not new; fabricated stories have been presented as truth for centuries. But take a divided electorate and add a social media landscape where misinformation is shared with a click, and interest in the topic has soared.
Feeling frazzled after the holidays? We invited patrons to transform plain white boxes into unique creations through collage, all while learning about art therapy and mindfulness in a relaxing environment. Attendees walked away with completed boxes that illustrated their feelings and matched their personal style. All supplies were provided.