A few months ago on Programming Librarian, I talked about asking a trivia question as part of your passive programming. Now, I've taken it a step further to create a Trivia Master Challenge that encourages students to search the library’s catalog, explore our nonfiction section, and learn how to search successfully within a book.
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Volusia County Public Library follows the annual summer reading program themes as specified by the state of Florida. In 2017, the theme was Build a Better World.
To promote and raise awareness about summer reading, library staff created a visualization of the world to display on the branch's curving staircase wall. Staff then invited patrons to write their reading recommendations on individual "bricks" that "built" the community reading wall. Each brick included a book title and author recommended by local participants.
Passive programs can be a great way to regularly attract students into the library without having planned, specific events. Pick a corner of the library that can be designated for these drop-by activities, set out the supplies and some instructions, and let it go! Here are a few of my go-to passive programs.
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.
UNF's Thomas G. Carpenter Library’s Literary Contests invite students, faculty and staff to virtually participate and share their creativity for a chance to win a prize. Contests include a Haiku Contest in April, a 2-Sentence Horror Story Contest in October, and a First Line Literary Contest in June.
When the pandemic hit, we wanted to let our community know that their library is still physically here. These windows serve as a reminder that, even though we have moved many of our services and programming online, the library will continue with many offerings inside of our building when we are safe and ready.
Spring Break Challenge Quest was a library district-wide, weeklong drop-in and passive program for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Held during our schools' spring break, the series involved daily "quests" to challenge the mind and body, from scavenger hunts to binary coding to yoga.
The yoga quest challenged kids to look at printed silhouettes of yoga poses (e.g. child's pose, downward-facing dog) and figure out how to position their bodies into the poses shown.
Short on time and money, we found a quick and inexpensive way to celebrate National Poetry Month: offering patrons a poem to take home every day in the month of April.
We created a large display table with books, DVDs and other materials for all ages, and we displayed free signs from the Poetry Foundation. We also created a sign that read, “Don’t forget to get your poem a day!”
Princeton Public Library was fortunate to have Dara-Lyn Shrager as our first poet-in-residence in fall 2018. One of our programs during this period was a "Poet-tree" art installation created by community members of all ages.
Have you gone on a blind date with a book? A perfect premise for Valentine's Day, the set-up for the display is simple: just wrap books in paper to hide their covers — hence the "blind date" — and decorate the wrapping with enticing facts, hints about the plotline, or our favorite, the books' first lines.
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.
Let Out the Banksy in You was a passive companion program to Banksy Booked @KHPCL, the theme for a number of active and passive programs to coincide with a six-week exhibit of Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat” street art.
Banksy Booked @KHCPL made the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library (KHCPL) the first library in the world to host a Banksy.
In this passive program, we simply used primed plywood and markers to invite patrons to try their own hands at street art.