Category Archives: library

Program inspiration: Art Workshops for Children

Just got this book at the library and it is filled with wonderful ideas that I really want to do yet know I can’t do because PAINT!

But I’m not going to give up. I think I can find some substitutes for the messy paint and perhaps just go with markers. Our meeting room/programming room is carpeted and getting it cleaned on a normal day is difficult so I can’t imagine what would happen if we got paint on it. I’m pretty sure our custodian would never forgive me.

Has anyone done an Art Workshop for kids at their library? I’m thinking this would require registration as it sounds like the kids will need lots of space to move around for some of these.

Posting this here so I can stumble upon it later and maybe plan a program for next year. ūüôā

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fun with iMovie – before after library remodel video

My library will reopen to the public tomorrow after a MONTH of interior remodeling. It has been a wild and crazy experience being a part of this process. We had many days of laughter, grumbling, some interesting fumes and lots and LOTS of donuts!

Anyway, to kill time on Friday as we waiting to be trained on some new equipment, I threw together a quick Before/After video that **hopefully** we can run on our 40″ TV we have set up in our lobby area now to help patrons visualize what we used to look like just a few weeks ago. It was quite an impressive change, physically and also mentally because the flow of the entire building has been overhauled. It will be confusing for awhile, but I think it turned out well.

If you are curious, here is the video!

Sam’s guide to Star Wars Reads Day @ Your Library #StarWarsReads

The official Star Wars Reads Day has come and gone for 2014, but hosting a Star Wars event at your library is always a sure-fire way to get tons of new visitors into your building. With unofficial days like May 4 (“May the 4th be with you”), the new Disney XD series “Rebels” on the small screen, and a new set of stories headed for the big screen in 2015, Star Wars’ popularity will not be going away any time soon.

The great thing about a Star Wars event is that it is for all ages. You will see entire families and they will travel from all over if you can get the publicity out there in your library’s paper calendar or online social sites.

First things first – go to the 501st Legion’s website and find out if you have a local garrison. Star Wars programs are huge hits when you can have these amazing costumed fans wandering around. They do not charge for their services (though they have never said no to the boxes of donuts and coffee I leave for them in the back room). With this in mind, you obviously want to avoid the end of October (Halloween and New York Comic Con) and July (San Diego Comic Con) and it might be wise to check to see if there are any other major Star Wars events coming up (like Celebration Anaheim, a huge Star Wars convention sure to attract many of these fans away from home).

Thank you to the 501st Legion Old Line Garrison for making #starwarsreads day a huge success!

Once you’ve found a date on your calendar, contact your local garrison and they will start looking for volunteers to help out. Because of how my library system works, I tend to contact them ASAP, sometimes six months in advance. This isn’t necessary but the more time they have to put it up on their forums, the more chance you have of getting a strong turnout.

Another thing worth searching for is a local R2-D2 Builders Club. I know Maryland has a very active group¬†and I’ve had their members stop by with amazing R2-D2s that thrilled everyone in the library. If you can connect with one of these awesome people, I highly recommend it.

Star Wars Reads Day 2013

And one more random group to reach out to — collectors! I am a member of the DC Star Wars Collector’s Club and I was able to get one of our members to bring his collection into the library for the day. Club members have also donated items to be used for prizes. Teaming up with groups like these can add that extra special something to your program.

Star Wars Reads Day 2013

Next, look at your space and thing about your community. If you have a meeting room and feel like it will be a small turn out, you could have it in there. But each year I have held the event, we have had over 100 people stop by, and our meeting room capacity is 160. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s fun by citing the Fire Code, so we have always held the event in the Children’s area of the library proper. Yes, it’s loud and crazy but it means that everyone can have a good time and have plenty of space.¬† And it gives the added bonus of people stumbling upon the event by chance and calling friends to visit. My program usually goes 2-3 hours, so plenty of time for people to show up.

Also keep in mind that people will want to get photographs with any droids or costumers that are there so think of a spot that would work well as a staging area. You can direct the 501st members to that spot and have your patrons form a line.

Now the part that you really need to plan out! Like I mentioned, you are going to have fans of ALL AGES attending your event. We’ve had everything from 30 – 300+ people so keep those crafts SIMPLE but fun.

A sure fire hit (and a book tie-in!) is Origami Yoda and the Fortune Wookiee. Author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Tom Angleberger uploaded instructions to his blog to help young folders: The Simple 5-Fold Yoda and the pattern for the Fortune Wookiee. (I do recommend doing a few practice ones yourself so you’re ready to help the kids if they get stuck).

Another favorite (and easy) craft is to let the kids color a stormtrooper helmet, cut out the helmet, and then tape it to a stick, creating their own mask.  When I set up for this craft, my instructional poster includes photos of different variations of Star Wars stormtrooper cosplayers, to highlight that they can be more than just white helmets.

Star Wars Reads Day 2013

LEGO is always a hit with any age so the blank LEGO Minifigure coloring sheet works well here too. Again, when I make the poster with the instructions for the craft, I have a bunch of images of Star Wars Lego minifigures to help inspire.

Star Wars Reads Day 2013

There are lots of activity and coloring sheets in the Star Wars Reads Day packet. If you do decide to take part in this event, definitely register for the email list so you can find out about publisher giveaways. Posters and stickers can make for great prizes.

This year I did a scavenger hunt/raffle where the children had to follow hints around the library, finding a secret letter at each location to spell out the name of the planet where the Rebel base was located. I used these slips as a raffle for prizes, awarded the following week.  I had the contestants write down their name, age, and phone number so I could be sure to pick out appropriate prizes.

I also created a 10 question Trivia Challenge, also asking entrants for their name, age, and phone number. It had some tricky questions, but I had 5 people who managed to get most of them correct so they got nice prize packs as well – a mix of Star Wars items and library items.

It makes for a very busy, non-stop few hours, but it is a whole lot of fun.  I stay on my feet the entire time, checking on my special guests and checking on my patrons (and usually photocopying more of the crafts as things get low).

#swrd #starwarsreadsday #library

Please feel free to comment if you have any questions about this program. It really is one of my favorite events (even if I pass out afterwards).

paid to blog: Star Wars Reads Day #StarWarsReads

Three of my favorite things came together in one post — getting paid to blog, Star Wars, and reading!

This is the third Star Wars Reads Day event we have hosted and I am so looking forward to it! It’s always a huge family event.

Please check out my blog post at my library’s website! ūüôā

This felt like something librarians should discuss…

This seems like it should be a call to arms for librarians! You can archive the Internet all you want, but who will organize that archive? Is the Internet worth archiving — in my opinion, yes. Mostly because we never think NOW is important, but later we will want to look back, for nostalgia or research. It’s already becoming harder to look back with things like computers and video games as you have to have older consoles/machines to run the games made at that time. Books and artworks that were made physically are not tied to a model number of a processor so we can look at them if they are 5, 50, or 500 years old and say “hey, there it is”. But I just went to the Wayback Machine and tried to find my old Geocities site (stop laughing) and it is, as Mike said, a shell of a site with broken images and the index page was never archived.

buzz words and face to face marketing

NEVER underestimate the power of walking up to a patron.

I think a lot of times, we forget the that the lives of most of the people who visit the public library do not revolve around the library. ¬†They may pop in and out for a book or movie, they may stop by every 3 weeks to return a stack of picture books and let their kids pick out another set. ¬†But, unlike those of us that work there, they are probably not checking the library’s website on a daily basis or following all of its social media outlets. ¬†

So when you hang up that poster in the front of your library, NEVER assume that it is enough.  We have all learned how to ignore all of the messages being sent to us every day.  Billboards, posters, fliers, spam texts and emails Рwe avoid a lot of marketing, we have to or we would never get anything done.  

So, librarians, if you want your program to succeed, be it a storytime event, teen club, or adult class — YOU have to take the initiative and talk to your patrons. ¬†

One of our librarians decided he wanted to create a “Guys Book Club” – a book club with books that would appeal to male readers. ¬†Now, he could have just put up a sign, maybe a little display, and hoped for the best. ¬†And he probably wouldn’t have had anyone show up. ¬†Adults, especially men, are notoriously hard to get into programs. So he made sure there was a stack of our system publication of events sitting open at the desk with the Guys Book Club dates highlighted. Any time he helped a male patron, he made sure to talk up the club, invite them to the program, and give them a handout. ¬†And you know what? The club has been going strong for over two years!

Also, never underestimate the power of buzz words.  

We will be starting our Early Literacy Initiative this month. ¬†In reality, we have been doing this forever, reading stories to children, singing songs, and preparing them for when they learn to read. ¬†Our new programs will just include more information for the parents/caregivers to help them after the 30 minute story time is over. ¬†In an effort to make people aware, I followed a cue from my co-worker and opened up the publication to the Early Literacy page. ¬†When I started handing them out, I just said “storytimes are coming back in March!” and most parents smiled and nodded. ¬†

Then I decided I should say “Early Literacy Initiative”. ¬†No sooner had I talked it up to the parent I was helping, but then another parent came over to me to find out more because she heard me say “early literacy”. ¬†

It’s easy to forget, when we live in the library, that not everyone knows what we are doing or understands the full value of programs for all ages. ¬†So the next time you or a co-worker are trying to get a new program or series off the ground, don’t just put up a poster and cross your fingers. ¬†Go out into the stacks, talk to patrons and let them know. ¬†Your excitement and enthusiasm may make them want to check it out or your words might carry over to a patron you had missed and they will want to know more. ¬†

This morning I had a message from another librarian in my system sitting in my inbox. She told me that during her shift the evening before a young lady, a senior in high school, came into the library with her family. Her younger siblings were signing up for the Summer Reading program and the librarian told her about the teen program we have this year. This prompted the girl to start telling the librarian about how she didn’t used to like reading until she visited my branch. Apparently, she was at my library and her father told her she couldn’t leave until she picked out a book and she huffed and puffed and dragged herself over to the Information Desk.

This is the point in the story where my colleague decided the girl was talking about me –

[…]the teen asked for book recommendations. She told the librarian she enjoyed The Hunger Games and said the librarian became so excited she was spazzing out. It was pretty funny; she starting waving her arms etc. and you recommended several titles but I remember The Uglies. She said she read every one and rattled off other titles that I’ve seen you post about.[…] She said please tell her everything you see here (and she waved her hand from her head to her feet) is all because of her! It was very sweet.

How awesome is that?¬† Usually I worry (after the fact) that my spazzing will scare the children and teens away from reading.¬† But apparently she found it endearing and really enjoyed the books I gave her.¬† So, YAY! I really hope she makes her way back to my branch at some point, I’d love to put a face to this story. ‚̧