Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tween Scavenger Hunt in the Library!

We have been fortunate enough to partner with many groups in the library. One group, and adventure camp with 10-25 kids, visited the library each week to look around. They were planning a biking tour of scavenger hunts around town for one of their final projects, and wanted us in on the action.

I met with the group leaders a twice before hand, once with Brooke. They were undergraduate students trying so hard not to look like they were undergraduate students. They came in with ideas that were SO NOT doable, I left the first meeting with a bad taste in my mouth. I wonder how often this happens in libraries, that University students ("on behalf "of their universities, of course) come into the public library asking for a hell of a lot, and we take it as kind of an insult: What do they think we do all day? What kind of partnership IS this? But then I remembered: I was a 20-year-old education student once, too, and I remember what it was like to dream of all this stuff I could do with kids but it was like really, really, a lot, and dependent on lots of factors that I could not control, but I assumed I could do it all JUST AS SOON as I got that degree. THEN I would change the world. WITH KNOWLEDGE. And that's where these kids' heads were at. Needless to say, there were no rhyming verses, or archives work, or riddles they would need to ask multiple staff members for, or any other of their (very good, from an idealistic perspective) ideas. I asked for their input without promising anything. They actually had really good insight on how well their kids could read (pretty well, with one reluctant reader), what their favorite spots in the library were (00s and the graphic novels), where they were having trouble (finding good chapter books and the catalog). I ended up incorporating this into the hunt.

I wanted to make sure what we did was engaging for the kids as well as super-easy on the precarious sanity of a short-staffed summer (say that five time fast). And then, I remembered there are actually two episodes of Adventure Time that take place in a library. And with a GIF, an incredibly easy-to-make/engaging Tween Scavenger Hunt was born.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer Reading Game Cards!

The kids are safely back in school. We all need to give ourselves a big pat on the back, because for all the blood, sweat, tears, and hives (no joke I literally got hives this summer, and I'm on every allergy medication known to man)... it's done. The school year has started, and we're gearing up for yet another ridiculously crazy time (namely, the entire school year), but it's crazy in a different way. You know what I mean. But before I dive head first into fall programming (yes, and finishing my write-ups of summer stand-alone programs. It'll be fine and I won't leave you hanging too long), I want to give some insight into the creation of our Summer Reading Game Cards.

Marge wrote about going prizeless, which turned out fine and our participation stayed strong. I was over-the-top happy that we trusted ourselves and our kids enough to encourage reading as a positive expected behavior throughout the summer rather than rewarding it in little bits like a chore. It's important to remember that going prizeless means placing a higher value on your kid patrons' intrinsic motivation, AND on yourselves. Going prizeless means you've placed a high enough value on your well-developed collection, your awesome reader's advisory, your kick-ass programs, and your welcoming environment to know that those mean more to kids than a wooden boat. That's some heavy shizz right there, and I commend Marge and our library director for taking that leap (it's been years in the making. Seriously, please give them a round of applause in GIF form like NOW).