Tag Archives: libraries

Drop In and Hang Out: Take What You Need; Leave What You Can

drop-in-and-hang-out-take-what-you-need-leave-what-you-can

As I mentioned in a previous post, our teens are feeling pretty stressed out lately. Between exams, family stuff, and the holidays, it can be one of the hardest times of the year. We’re also feeling the holiday pinch in terms of staffing, so I wanted something that addressed the teens’ feelings and was easy for me to do. I ended up finding a page of printable fortune cookie sayings for kids  which were also applicable to teens. I printed up a few pages of the sayings, along with a few blank slips. I cut the slips apart, folded them, and put them in the teen area. In a separate bin, I put the empty strips. We already have markers, pens, and colored pencils in the teen area. I am hopeful the teens will create their own encouragements to leave, and will find something that will make them feel better in the meantime.

I hope all one of my readers out there are having Decembers that aren’t too stressful, too!

Drop In and Hang Out: IRL Tetris

easy-irltetrisThis program was inspired by a pin from of a huge Tetris board on a person-sized flannel board. I knew there was no way to replicate that in our space (we have a huge chalkboard and a huge magnet board, but no felt board…) I wanted to make it work, though, so I set to Googling powers to work. I ended up a From ABCs to ACTs, which had some really nice printable Tetris pieces available. I printed them and laminated them, then stuck small pieces of velcro on the back. Finally, I whipped up a sign challenging teens to team up with a friend to play. The children’s department loaned me one of their portable flannelboards and I was done.

img_4757

Fan Club, Jr: Star Wars

What We Did:

Hey, have you guys heard there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this month? Seriously, though, we knew that Star Wars was even hotter than usual, with the crushing buzz of the new movie propelling kids and adults alike into a frenzy. Courtney wanted to make Chewbacca bookmarks and BB8s out of Model Magic, and I thought we’d through in perler beads, too (we have a ton of them, kids like them, and they’re super easy). Courtney also had the brilliant and adorable idea of making some Death Star Crunch treats, simply by taping a Death Star on a delicious Little Debbie snack cake.

What I Bought:

$8 for one pack of Model Magic
$4 for two packs of Star Crunch

That’s it! We have tons of perler beads on hand, and we also have a lot of duct tape, craft sticks, and brown felt that we made Chewie bookmarks out of.

How It Went:

We accidentally counter-scheduled one of the many downtown festivals in our area with this program, but we still had about 12 kids come out for this. We put on a DVD of Lego Star Wars, and the kids went crazy making all kinds of cool stuff. We simplified the bookmark by simply having them wrap the felt around the large Popsicle stick and making Chewbacca’s face and bandolier out of duct tape. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Model Magic is just perfect for making a BB8, but definitely put out markers for the kids to decorate their creations. Otherwise it just looks like they’re making some adorable snowmen.

Art Afternoons: Beth Krommes Scratch Art

2015-10-06 [Art Afternoons - Beth Krommes Scratch Art]

What I Did:

Oops, I did this program several months ago and forgot to blog about it. Anyway, I love Beth Krommes gorgeous picture books, especially Swirl by Swirl  – I just adore the idea of highlighting something so common and yet overlooked in the natural world. When I first thought of using her as inspiration for an Art Afternoons program, I thought her work was done with prints – perhaps woodcut? Nope, she uses scratchboard, which is a super fun thing to experiment with! So that’s what we did, too!

What I Bought:

$4 for 100 scratch art sticks
$4 for 50 Artist Trading Card sized scratchboards
$18 for 40 8.5″x11″ scratchboards

$26 total for a program with a registration cap of 30

How It Went:

This was a fun Art Afternoons, but we definitely had some challenges. The scratchboard sticks didn’t really do a very good job of scratching off the scratchboard. I ended up pulling lots of random stuff from our craft closet – pipe cleaners, jewelry tools, sewing needles, and other scratchy stuff. I let the kids pick their tools.

It also doesn’t take very long to scratch art, so we put out watercolors for the kids to optionally paint their works afterward. This creates a really cool effect.

If you try scratch art at your library, make sure to talk warn your program attendees that they only get one large paper and one small paper (or however much you opt to give them) to use. Lots of kids are used to diving right in and then asking for another paper, which definitely works for some media, but not scratchboards.

This was also a relatively expensive program. Not breaking the bank, exactly, but definitely required more specialized stuff than I would prefer.

 

 

Fan Club: Steven Universe

2015-10-10 [Fan Club + Fan Club, Jr Steven Universe flyer]

What I Did:

When our Youth Services Tech resigned last month, I knew I had to take over Fan Club, if only for a month or two until we found her replacement.  I made the mistake of telling my Anime Club kids this, and they immediately started begging for a Steven Universe program. I asked them to describe what Steven Universe was, and got…confused. But, you know, I’m up for anything, so I did some quick research and agreed it sounded cool.

If you don’t know, Steven Universe is an animated show to appears on Cartoon Network. It’s about some gemstones, but they’re really people, and they save the world. Or something. I’m about a dozen episodes in and I still don’t really understand it, but it’s a funny show, and my teens made a great case for it, using terms like “good representation for QUILTBAG teens” and “body positivity” (these are actual words that came out of their mouths).

The tricky thing is, it’s not like the program lends itself to easy crafts (although what does). We could have made Steven’s iconic red shirt with a yellow star, but tshirt crafts kind of stress me out. I never know how many shirts to buy, and in what size. Plus, as a chubby kid, I would practically have an anxiety attack trying to figure out if an activity’s planner would have bought a tshirt big enough for me. Ugh, no thanks.

I instead settled on one of my all-time favorite fallback activities: shrinky dinks! I picked up a couple of packs of them, and was trolling around the internets trying to find another activity when I stumbled upon Galaxy Jars (there are a ton of tutorials out there…here’s one: http://www.m-magazine.com/posts/diy-super-colorful-galaxy-jars-for-your-friends-in-just-four-easy-steps-56612). Pretty much you put some water in a bottle, add in some paint, mix it up, and then add some cotton balls. Since I had a ton of leftover bottles from a previous program, I figured this would be the perfect craft!

What I Bought:

$12 for two packs of Shrinky Dinks
$6 for extra tiny bottles because I’m paranoid about running out of supplies (I used ones like this)
$3 for gemstones to glue on top, so it could be more Steven-universe-y

That’s it! I had cotton balls and paint on hand, along with glitter. If I were doing this program again, I would spring for some extra-fine glitter to make it an extra-special program.

How It Went:

Galaxy BottlesPretty well! Things I learned from this program: don’t let teens use permanent markers on your tables without putting down tablecloths; nail polish remover will remove permanent marker; teens are terrible at pouring liquids into tiny bottles; and Steven Universe is pretty awesome. I wish I had made pancakes so we could have had Together Breakfast, but I got pinched for time! The kids had lots of fun talking about Steven Universe and making stuff. Honestly, I think with Fan Club, the fun thing is getting together with other teens who like the same stuff you do, and the activity is just something to do while you’re hanging out. But I like to sneak in fun stuff that requires them to play around a little, too. It’s a little thing I like to call planning and decision making – TAKE THAT, DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS!

Anime Club: Pancake Sushi

What I Did:

Like many of my programs, this one was born on Pinterest. I saw this sweet pin of waffle sushi, and I definitely thought it was something that sounded fun (and delicious!) Even though I have a solid budget for teen programming, though, I just couldn’t justify buying a pizzelle maker that we would probably only use once. I can think of a hundred uses for an electric skillet, though, so I figured we could just use pancakes instead of waffles and it would still be delicious!

What I Bought:

$20 electric skillet
$4 for two containers of whipped cream cheese – one plain and one berry
$2 for complete pancake mix (generic, yo!)
$1 for a spatula (you might already have one of these on hand if you do cooking programs a lot!)
$2 for some syrup
$2 for a container of strawberries
$2 for a bunch of bananas

Total, about $33 for supplies, with about two thirds of that going toward equipment (the skillet and the spatula) that we can use again and again. If you do cooking programs with your teens already, you might have these things on hand, which would make this a pretty darn cheap program.

How It Went:

IMG_2793 IMG_2794 Teen poses with awesome pancake sushi roll IMG_2797

This was my first Anime Club since school is back in session; we are on programming pause for August to give us time to recover. I was a little scared that not many teens would show up – what if my healthy summer numbers were just a fluke? What if the teens hated me? WHAT IF I’M A SMELLY LOSER?

Welp, apparently none of that is true. We had a nice crowd of about 10 teens, with a few newcomers and a good bunch of regulars. I had a teen help me measure out the mix and water (life skills!); we made sure to add a little more water than suggested to make a loose batter for better rolling. I set a teen with some knife skills to cutting the strawberries and bannanas into slices. I manned the skillet, and my flipping skills were put to the test. Some of the pancakes were more…beautiful…than others, but all were tasty. The teens had a lot of fun spreading the cream cheese on their pancakes and adding fruit. They also had a lot of fun mocking my flipping failures, but that’s life. Some teens ended up making more pancake taco, but hey, it’s still delicious in my book!

Art Afternoons: An Exploration of Eric Carle

One of the goals in our Youth Services Programming Plan this year was to add some more programming for the dreaded tween population (they’re not really dreaded, but what do you CALL the kids ages 10-12?). My library has tried programming for kids who aren’t quite teens before in all kinds of ways, but it never took off. Or, it would take off for a while, and then the numbers would quickly dwindle to 1 or 2 kids a week. All our previous efforts, though, were on Saturday afternoons, which are a pretty busy time for lots of families. Realizing we had a huge audience already using the libraries on weekday afternoons right after school, I wanted to try launching some programs during that time for kids ages 8-12. After seeing a post on Art Afternoons over at Library as Incubator Project, I knew I wanted to brazenly rip it off.

I even settled on one of the artists mentioned in the post for a nice, easy start: Eric Carle. To prepare, I threw together a quick slideshow that featured some examples of Eric Carle’s work, a video of Carle working, and a short definition and history of collage. I also posed the following questions on the last slide:

What do you want your collage to look like? Take a few minutes to sketch out your animal or bug before you start cutting. Remember that big, simple shapes will be the easiest to cut out.

What colors do you want to use? Do you want to make a realistic-looking brown dog? Or a fantastical purple elephant?

How do the different layers of paper change each other? Can you put two different colored papers on top of each other to make a new paper?

What textures do you want to use? What happens if you rip your paper instead of cutting it? What happens if you wrinkle your paper up a little while the glue is still wet?

Because I wanted this program to be a fun and focused experience for our young artists, we requested that people register and capped registration at 30. By program day, all 30 spots were filled and there was a waitlist of five people.

On the day of the program I set up three rows of three tables each, and set out thirty chairs. I also set out a row of chairs in the back for parents who wanted to stay. Each table was covered with our trusty tablecloths, and I set up two tables along the side of the room for supplies. One table held every kind of tissue paper I could find in our craft closet, and the other held scissors, plates with glue, brushes, and big sheets of construction paper.

As kids arrived, my co-worker and I checked them in. Although 30 people had registered, we had about 20 kids show up. Because our registration form requires kid’s ages, we actually had a full group of kids in the specified age range, which is pretty cool! Our librarian who focuses on younger kids will be doing a session of the program with the same artists for the under 7 set later this week, which helped prevent little bitties from joining us for our more intense session. Parents were invited to wait in the back of the room or browse for books in the rest of the library.

Once the time for the program to roll around started, I introduced myself and welcomed everyone. I read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse to the crowd, making sure to take time on each page to point out different techniques Carle used and give people plenty of time to see the art. After I was done reading, I showed my slideshow. I was really impressed by how well the kids paid attention.

After the slideshow, I passed out scrap paper and pencils to everyone and invited them to sketch out what they wanted to make before they started. I let each table go to the supply table and pick out what they wanted one at a time, to prevent a mad dash and pandemonium. Once everyone had their supplies, kids could go back to get more paper as many times as they wanted.

This program was a great success! People were already asking about next month, and the art these kids made was incredible! The kids were a joy to work with, and it was practically free. We had tons of tissue paper, glue, and scissors on hand, so it was a good stash buster activity, too.

Next month, we’ll be doing scratchboard art. I’m still debating whether I’ll have teen volunteers make the scratchboards or if we’ll buy kids. Either way, be sure to check back soon for another episode of Hushlander brazenly copies a library program to great success!

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes at Hushlander

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes at Hushlander

 

The inspiration for this week’s teen passive program comes from me trying to simplify my life and get rid of stuff I’m not going to use. I was sorting through my stationary and realized I have a ton of really cute notecards – way more than I’ll ever use. So I hauled in a variety of cards, and put them out on the table with some different colored pens and an invitation for teens to write a letter to their parents, friends, or future selves. We’re perpetually short on attractive containers to display program supplies in, so I grabbed a couple of sheets of scrap booking paper and used this easy tutorial to fold up some holders for the pens and stationary.

How’d it go?

Well, I’m not sure yet! I’ve actually caught up on my drop in and hang out posts, so I just put this display out today. I’ll be sure to report back!

A Movie and a Make: Jupiter Ascending

 

Once I heard the abysmal reviews of Jupiter Ascending, I knew I wanted to watch it with our hilarious teens and hear their commentary.  When looking for a project to go with it, I initially wanted to do galaxy tshirts, like the ones found here. It wasn’t until I was making the supply list and realized how tricky it always is to estimate tshirt needs that I reconsidered. I always suggest teens bring their own shirts, but we have to have some on hand in case they don’t read the program description or can’t afford a shirt to bring or just forget. Blank tshirts are kind of expensive, yo! Plus if you over-estimate you’re stuck with shirts, and there’s the whole guessing what size shirt people want/can wear. TOO HARD!

I was trolling Pinterest and Google Images for other space-themed crafts that weren’t too baby-ish or easy, and I stumbled across this amazing DIY Galaxy Necklace tutorial at Oh the Lovely Things.

Here’s what I ended up buying:

2 packs of makeup sponges from the Dollar Tree ($2)
Nail polish in clear coat, navy blue, grey, white, hot pink, white, and lilac from the Dollar Tree ($7)
Two three packs of brass charms on clearance at Hobby Lobby ($3)
One ten pack of shell charms from Hobby Lobby ($3)

I have a ton of findings and cords left over programs people did before I got here, so I also pulled those out. Total expenditures: $15. I would have purchased more blanks for decorating, but historically, this program has had pretty low attendance, so I figured with the sixteen blanks and some other tiny blanks I had on hand, we’d be fine.

How’d it go?

IMG_2708

As the time for my program came and went, I had a sinking feeling I was going to have a goose egg program. Fortunately, one of my teens who was a new face at anime club last week showed up (YAY!), and then a couple more kids came in.

Jupiter Ascending is, in fact, a terrible movie. The teens were mocking it relentlessly, and it’s chock full of groan inducing dialogue. The galaxy charms worked really well as a movie craft because you need to wait a while between each coat of nail polish for it to dry, and the actual crafting doesn’t require a lot of fine detail work that would be hard in the dark. The teens did a much better job at making their galaxy charms than I did (mine just looked like I had spilled a lot of nail polish, oops!)

Overall, I’d say it’s a success! Even though I only had three teens at this program, I’m hopeful it might continue to grow? Maybe? Next month we’re watching Jurassic Park, so at least the movie will be awesome.

Drop In and Hang Out: Mandala Coloring

Did you know teens love to color? Yeah, they didn’t know it either. But they do! It’s super soothing and teens get stressed! So this week, I printed off a bunch of sheets from http://www.printmandala.com/, bought a pack of art markers using a sweet 60% off coupon from Joann, and put it all out. I can’t deny, it’s pretty delightful to wander back to the teen area to tidy up and find the bright pages scattered around.

Again, if you are holding back on doing passive programming for teens because you don’t have a budget, give coloring sheets a try! Or print out some Cubee Crafts and throw them out.  Or put out some black out poetry supplies, or a sign for book spine poetry. There are so many awesome, cheap ideas on Pinterest, and I really do believe that having a stealth program going on in the teen area makes teens feel more welcome in the library. Give it a try!