Category Archives: DIY@Your Library for Teens

DIY@Your Library for Teens: Wreck Your Tshirt

What I did:

This was a pretty easy program to do! It’s the second in our DIY@Your Library for Teens series, which was supposed to focus on a different community expert teaching a skill each month. So far, though, it’s pretty much just been me (although hopefully that will change soon!) My event description invited teens to bring a t-shirt they didn’t mind destroying to work on.

We had five teens sign up for this program, which is a pretty big number considering it’s over at our less-used community center location. To prepare, I bought a few cheap pop-culture tshirts from for teens who didn’t have a shirt to wreck, a couple of pairs of fabric scissors, hand-sewing needles, and several colors of thread. We also had some fabric paint kicking around from time immemorial, so I threw that on my cart, along with painter’s tape and some foam brushes. I also printed some example shirts from this awesome blog called WobiSobi, checked out all our books on sewing and customizing clothes to our unit card, and grabbed a laptop for teens to use to look up more tutorials.

How It Went:

Well, only one teen showed up. On the other hand, ONE TEEN SHOWED UP! She was a cool kid, and we chatted for an hour while we cut up and re-built our tshirts. Hopefully she’ll return to future programs and bring friends. I’m trying to give this program time to grow and breathe before I kill it. It was a pretty cheap program – I definitely could have done without the extra shirts, or hit up the thrift store for some dollar shirts, and if we’d had fabric scissors on hand for program use, it would be almost free!

How long do you let a program languish with low attendance before you scrap it?


DIY@Your Library for Teens: Make Your Own GIFs

Tired of my frantic posting rate yet? Well, have no fear, as this is my last programming post before I’m all caught up.

My library has one full-service location, and one mini location that is located in what used to be a classroom in a community center. The community center has some positives (on a different side of town than the main library, three different sized programming spaces, a Makerspace!) and some downsides (not a lot of foot traffic, sometimes the spaces are hard to book, it can be echo-y, and the building is pretty strange from a facilities standpoint).


In an effort to add some teen programming and get some publicity for the Makerspace, I wanted to add some regular maker programming. The main problem with that is that, well, most people don’t really understand what Maker programming is, and teens probably aren’t going to haul themselves to another location for something they don’t understand. So, I decided to piggyback off a popular adult program called DIY at Your Library, and voila! DIY@Your Library for Teens was born.

hark, a baby!

My hope is that DIY@Your Library for Teens can feature a local expert on a topic each month. I’m hopeful that this program will eventually enjoy some good success, as a number of teens responded to our survey saying that they wanted more classes on specific topics. I’m trying to stay away from typical crafty-craft stuff (although I think that is really fun!), and focus on technology and art more.

For my first session, I decided to be the local expert. Because, well, why not.Im-kind-of-a-big-dealI decided a short course on making your own GIFs from pictures or YouTube videos would be fun, and set about creating a short handout (if you’re interested, you can download it here: Make Your Own GIFs Cheat Sheet) and practicing creating GIFs. Here’s one I made of our library turtle noping right out:

Shelly SwimmingOn the day of, I fired up a few of our laptops and put out some iPads for teens to take their own pictures to GIF-ify. I printed plenty of handouts, so teens self-direct if they preferred.

How’d it go? Despite tons of publicity (I got interviewed on the radio!), only two teens registered for this event, and neither of them showed up.

sad panda

Oh well. I’ll definitely do more in-house promotion and encourage some of our regulars to sign up next time. The dangerous work of rebuilding a teen program from the ground up! We’ll definitely give the program through summer, and then re-evaluate if we need to kill it.