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Picking Up the Pieces: Circulating LEGO WeDo

LEGO WeDo Hungry Alligator

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or an axle. Or a 24-tooth crown gear. Or all of them in one sitting.

That was the challenge we faced here at Mid-Continent Public Library as we planned to make LEGO WeDo kits available for programs at our 31 branches. How do you circulate 40 kits throughout the system without losing most of the pieces — and your mind?

Animal Advocates

Photograph of a puppy resting on a red pillow.

Animal Advocates is a program for animal-loving kids and teens that began in September 2021. Members meet once a month with the mission to help local shelters and educate the community about animal rights, animal welfare and environmental topics that impact us all. We occasionally go to animal shelters to volunteer for field trips.

Telescopes and Tamales

Illustration of person standing next to a telescope. There is an illustration of a plate of tamales and a tamales stand next to them.

Everyone loves tamales! Telescopes and Tamales was a community-centered program featuring an outdoor tamale dinner, presentations and videos on the upcoming James Webb Telescope launch, and STEAM crafts for kids. The program was topped off with a chance for participants to look through a telescope and view stars and planets on a clear, beautiful night.

Fall for Fine Arts 2: African American Artists

Fall for Fine Arts 2: African American Artists is an artist appreciation and art-making Zoom class followed by a mini art exhibit of submitted class work on our Instagram.

This program is based on the first Fall for Fine Arts series, which was offered in October 2020 to help celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month and fall traditions.

Dinovember Take & Make

Photograph of small multi-colored dinosaur toys.

This program was hosted in celebration of Dinovember, a month-long event where plastic dinosaurs come to life as children sleep. Children were given a take-and-make activity that included an egg-hatching challenge, one DIY dinosaur fossil craft, and a writing activity in which children filled out an official Dinosaur Adoption Certificate.

The writing activity helps younger kids practice or learn how to write their names, see how they look in print, etc., and let them get creative in naming their dinosaur.

Stuffed Animal Taxidermy

Photograph of three final Stuffed Animal Taxidermy boards. Left to right: Panda stuffed animal, Pink Leopard on pink board, Dog on green board

Stuffed Animal Taxidermy is a fun program for kids and teens. Using old, thrifted stuffed animals, kids can give their faux furry friends a new "life" by turning them into a DIY home decoration. 

Thanks to community donations and Amazon purchases, our youth had a blast at this in-person program. 

Fairy Golf: The Mini-est Mini Golf

Photograph of child playing with mini mini golf

It's DIY table-top putt putt!

We provided patrons with everything they need to create a mini miniature golf hole complete with obstacles. Each participant had the choice to take their project home or to make it during our in-person program and add it to the Fairy Golf Course around the library.

The course will stay up as a passive activity in the weeks to come.

Be a Master Money Builder!

Photograph of child putting coins into three jars. Jars are labeled: Savings, Toys, Education

Money Builders is a one-day camp with a Lego theme. At our library, this program was created for the children of refugees, although it could be a great program for any child.

Through games and discussion, children learn about needs versus wants, the importance of saving, why using banks is important, and what things cost. Participants were given Money Builders t-shirts, a Lego key chain, a savings jar, and lunch. At the conclusion of the camp, they watched The Lego Movie.

Toy Lending Library

Photograph of shelves of toys in the Toy Lending Library

The Toy Lending Library opened in July 2020 and is an ongoing, permanent addition to the services and programs offered by the HPL Children’s Room and HPL more generally. To date, it is already a tremendous success, providing at-home, hands-on learning educational resources for children and their families.

STEAM-y Wonderful Wednesday

Screenshot taken from a Steam-Y Wonderful Wednesday Video.

STEAM-Y Wonderful Wednesday is a video series posted on the Los Angeles Public Library's North Hollywood Regional Branch's Facebook page every Wednesday.

The videos show fun science experiments using everyday household items. Kids and their parents are strongly encouraged to follow along with the videos. We have been posting these videos for 14 weeks!

Virtual Literary Legos

Photo of lego blocks

Virtual Literary Legos is a children's program offered via Zoom. It consists of two sessions: in the first, I read a story, asking the kids to pay particular attention to the visuals and think about something they could create with Legos. We take a break so the children can work on their creations, and then we reconvene for a show-and-tell.

This program incorporates literacy, creativity, meaningful interaction and fun with Legos! Before COVID-19, I ran this program once a month from our library; now I do it twice a month virtually.

How to Make Slime

Child holding slime

Our How to Make Slime program gave students the opportunity to use common household ingredients to create their own slime.

They practiced skills including reading recipes, measuring, mixing colors and trial and error to make a colorful, slimy substance that they then played with and took home.

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