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Flower Petal Suncatchers

Tray of fresh flowers

Inspired by a project in Jean Van't Hul's book "The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity," children created colorful suncatchers with natural materials, clear contact paper and paper plates.

This is a simple and creative project for children and adults to complete together. When offered in person at the library, participants visited the library's garden to pick flowers, leaves and other natural items to use in their project. 

Cook the Book Club

Cook the Book Club text over bowl of food

Once per month, we host a cookbook club-meets-potluck event that always draws a crowd. Each member picks a recipe from the same book (voted on by the group) and they bring in the dish to share.

The result is a potluck with lots of talk about cooking and recipes and how to improve on them. And it's about community, getting to know our neighbors and making new friends, with an opportunity for many of our refugee and new American patrons to practice English with native speakers in a fun, social setting.

Big Ideas, Tiny Spaces: A Whimsical Children's Area Makeover on a Shoestring

Three children reading in a bathtub

In our library, the children’s space is, by far, the most used. Sure, we’ll get an adult wandering in to look at books every so often, and the one teen that lives in town often parks herself beside my desk to chat, but each day after school (and every day in the summer), our children’s area is hopping!

Harry Potter Escape Room (on a $0 Budget)

Room decorated to look like the Great Hall from Harry Potter

The Harry Potter Escape Room gave patrons 30 minutes to work together to find clues and solve puzzles. Cracking the code granted them escape from a locked room decorated like a section of the Great Hall.

We had no money to create the escape room, so our challenge was creating clues and using decor that we could find, for free, on our own. The trick proved to be starting with an inventory of what we had on hand.

To Charge or Not to Charge? A Dilemma for Programming Librarians

A person counting dollar bills

It's a sticky subject in the library world: is it appropriate for public libraries to charge a fee for patrons to participate in programs?

I'm not trying to take sides, but rather illuminate some of the reasons why libraries might charge fees and to start what I hope will be a productive dialogue about this emerging dilemma.

Books & Libations: A New Way to RA

Wine glasses being clinked

In this adult evening program, participants learn about six spectacular books and sample six amazing local beverages at tasting stations.

Each book is paired with a beverage matched in tone and intensity to the book. Program partners have included wineries, coffee roasters and tea shops. 

Titles selected for this program are usually “under-performers” in our community — books that were highly reviewed but haven’t circulated well. After the program, most circulate much better and for an extended period of time: circulation stays elevated on each title for up to two years.

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