For the past three years the Lakeville Public Library has hosted a Noon Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31. We make party hats, dance, have photo booths and do a countdown to noon. The festivities end with a huge pizza party.
This is one of our largest and costliest events of the year; last year's party attracted more than 200 guests.
Our goal for Noon Year’s Eve is to provide families a place to gather and celebrate the New Year. The program requires a fair amount of advanced planning. Supplies and food have to be ordered, activities must be planned, and volunteers need to be recruited.
All of this requires volunteer assistance. This year, the Friends of the Library reached out to their adult volunteers, and I reached out to my teen volunteers. I also had the Honor Society advisor from the local high school reach out to her students.
We promoted this event in the same way we promote all of our library events. Information was available on the library’s website  and Facebook  pages. Advertisements ran in the local newspapers as well as on the local cable station. Noon Year’s Eve was featured on the front page of our monthly newsletter .
This program is one of the more expensive homemade programs that we put on. We spent approximately $250 on noisemakers, blowout toys, photo booth props and tablecloths. Food costs — including beverages, paper goods, snacks and pizza — totaled approximately $450.
The party hats, coloring pages and placemats were printed in house and were absorbed into the daily budget.
The Friends of the Lakeville Library provided the funding for the entire event.
Volunteers were extremely important because we are a small staff and do not have the ability to run the day-to-day operation of the library and staff the event.
I worked with seven teen volunteers to do most of the set-up the day before the event. On the morning of, 15 teen volunteers assisted with setting up food and drinks and assigning stations.
The event ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the event, seven adult volunteers manned the food and drink stations and accepted donated desserts. We ask anyone who is coming to the event to bring a dessert (not everyone does, but we usually have enough who do that there is enough for all of the attendees). The adult volunteers were key in handling the food, while the teens worked best at various activity stations (applying temporary tattoos, helping with the photo booth, playing guessing games).
One other staff member ran the countdown in the smaller activity room.
As participants came in they could find a seat in one of the two rooms and make a party hat, color, and snack on popcorn and pretzels. They were then free to circulate throughout the library and get a tattoo, take a photo in one of the photo booths, participate in our guessing game, and get something to drink.
At 11:57 a.m. we started a three-minute countdown video in each room. Behind the scenes, one of our adult volunteers picked up the pizza while the others started prepping the pizza station. After the countdown participants could go through the pizza and dessert line and bring their food back to the tables.
This was our third year hosting this program. From the first year to the second year our attendance tripled, causing us to change the format. This year attendance matched last year's at between 200 and 250 participants.
Expect the word to spread. I was unprepared for attendance to triple in year two, and because of the increased size, the original format did not work.
Going into year three, I expected the large crowd and simplified things (no glitter, everything already at the seats, snacks on tables and two rooms set up identically). I was worried that oversimplifying things would take away the appeal of the program, but I heard more positive comments this year than in years past.
I am a list-maker and also like to sketch out the room set-up. Both of these things were key to keeping me organized.
My last piece of advice: take all the volunteers you can get. You want adults manning the food stations and at least two teens at each of the other stations. Teens are always looking for community service hours, and they are more than willing to move furniture and set up.
About This Library
The Lakeville Public Library serves a rural population of approximately 11,000 in southeastern Massachusetts as well as the surrounding communities. We are staffed by two full-time librarians, two full-time paraprofessionals, two part-time paraprofessionals and a page.