The 3D Paper Snowflake program served three purposes: teaching participants a fun way to make decorative three-dimensional paper snowflakes, offering area teens the chance to earn community service credit if they donated their snowflakes to help decorate local children's hospitals, and creating a community outreach opportunity.
This is a craft I have taught several times over the years, and planning this program is pretty simple; it mostly entails gathering supplies you probably already have: copy paper in a variety of colors, tape dispensers, scissors and staplers.
I also contacted two local children's hospitals ahead of time to verify that they could use the finished snowflakes to decorate.
We advertised the program through the library website's calendar of events, with fliers in the library, and by sending the fliers to two area high schools, who shared the information with their students. As the program allowed teens to earn community service credit (required for most area high school students), this went directly to a prime audience.
The only cost associated with the program itself was the use of supplies already on hand (colored paper, scissors, tape, staplers). Only in the event of a low supply of any of these things would this program incur any expenses.
Set-up required only that the supplies be put out in easily accessible ways. Various colors of paper and a bin of scissors were set out on a community table, and a tape dispenser and stapler were put out for every two or three participants. Tables were put together to form large groups (two to four tables per group), so participants could share resources as needed while enhancing the social element of the process.
This was easily handled with a single staff person, but as people came in at various times during the program, a second staff person would have been helpful for the sake of additional instruction/demonstration of the craft. (Participants were also quick to show latecomers how to create the snowflakes!)
The program went really well; we did it twice, to increase participation as well as output. Altogether we had approximately 35 participants of all ages over the course of two days.
Several people commented on using this newfound skill to make more snowflakes to decorate their homes/offices, and they noted that they could use the same process for making "snowflakes" to decorate for other holidays (ex: red, white and blue for a patriotic holiday; black and orange for Halloween). The participants all seemed to enjoy themselves, the teens earned a lot of community service hours (collectively), and we donated about 40 snowflakes to each of the children's hospitals.
You cannot have too many staplers and tape dispensers, as well as replenishment supplies (staples, tape rolls). This was presented as a holiday/winter program, but it can be altered to fit any occasion — just choose signature colors or paper for the holiday or event!
About This Library
Sacramento Public Library (SPL) is the fourth largest library system in California, serving a population of over 1.3 million with an annual budget of $32 million. SPL comprises 28 locations, 280 staff members, a collection of 2 million volumes, with access to 9 million additional items through the Link+ Service, and circulation of over 7.5 million items each year. We serve 4.5 million visitors annually, with over 5,000 free programs for kids, teens, adults and families each year.