The holidays always bring a lot of traffic to our libraries, and December 2016 was no exception. We offered Light Up The Holidays: Stories and Crafts as a children's program in all of our eight branches and even one of our Bookmobile stops. The program covered four different holidays that fell during the same week last year.
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For the holidays in 2019, Westmont Public Library staff taught patrons several techniques to decorate gift bags. Participants got to decorate and take home three bags. All supplies were provided.
This could also be offered as a virtual program with participants picking up a materials packet in advance.
You've heard of Elf on the Shelf. I've found that the elf is the best low-cost passive program to engage patrons through pandemic times and advocate for our library. My library elf, Tinsel, promotes programming, library services and reading.
The inspiration came from how teachers utilize their elf for classroom management around the hyperactive holiday season. Libraries can use an elf to promote library events and excite patrons with the silly hijinks that the elves get into.
As the holidays approach, people might feel overwhelmed by the expectation of purchasing gifts for friends and family. This can be a great opportunity for your library to provide a program or highlight resources on frugal gift-giving and provide some budgeting education, too. Frugal doesn’t have to mean shabby, but can instead be heartfelt and useful.
Ronda Rex, a family and consumer science specialist with the University of Kentucky Cooperative, guided participants in making holiday gifts using simple ingredients found in most any kitchen. The program was held on a Thursday in mid-December at 3:30 p.m.
Ronda talked about ways to save money by creating homemade gifts for friends and family and how the savings could pay future dividends. She showed us how to decorate mason jars filled with trail mix and how to make a cocoa mix placed in plastic bags and decorated to look like reindeer.
The Giving Tree is an annual event that begins right after Veteran’s Day and runs through mid-December. We set up an artificial pine tree that collects donations of new children’s hats, gloves, scarves and socks (and sometimes new picture books) for distribution within our community before the December holidays.
Now is the perfect time to start planning some fun holiday library programs for teens. 2015 was the inaugural year of the Holidaze Crafts for Teens program at my library, where teens made their own holiday gifts to give to family and friends. It was a great success.