Thursday, April 21, 2011

Summer Reading Ideas: Passive Programs

This summer's travel-themed program lends itself to some really fun event ideas- but my library's budget dictates that staff-facilitated programs are on hold for now. In this economy, I'm sure I'm not the only librarian faced with budget-related challenges, so I thought I'd share what I'm doing to keep the summer reading program FUN. Instead of running events for my library teens, I am planning a series of passive programs I call Boredom Busters.

WHAT? Each week during my library's summer reading program, I'll feature a different make-and-take craft with an international theme. This gives the teens something to do while they're hanging out at the library, and hopefully they'll learn a little something about the world around them while they're at it!

WHERE? Our reference desk has a section that's used to store things like the stapler, hole punch, and a brochure display. It's easy to relocate those items during the summer, cover that area of the desk with decorative butcher paper, and designate it the Boredom Busters zone. Hosting these crafts at the reference desk is great because it's an opportunity to interact with the teens and make them feel welcome in their library. It's also convenient for keeping an eye out for spontaneous glitter fights. Not that my library teens would ever do that! I'm just saying.

WHO? This question has two parts: "Who can participate?" and "Who's running this extravaganza?" The program is intended for ages 13 - 17, but we're not going to turn away an interested child or adult. As far as who's responsible- I am, of course! But since I'm not always at the reference desk, I email my colleagues each week to explain the craft, note the location of extra supplies, and so on. It's all about communication!

HOW: I'm going to kick off the summer with something simple but popular: origami, the traditional paper craft of Japan.

I purchased patterned and solid 6 inch papers from The Origami Paper Shop.

A lot of the teens at my library will probably know how to make their favorite origami patterns already, but I'll display instruction diagrams with step-by-step examples of the folds for the crane, cicada, and tulip.

I'll accompany the instructions with a brief history of origami and its significance in Japanese culture. Good sources for this information include PBS and Kids Web Japan.

I'm thinking of adding on some kind of fundraising effort for the earthquake/tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Maybe something as simple as a change jar for donations?

Next stop: France. Watch for the details of the next craft in a few weeks!


  1. Thanks! I debuted the Boredom Busters last year, and they were a hit.

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