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Book Parties and Why They’re Amazing

Long time, no post. Amiright?

The past few months have been a really exciting time for me!

  • First, I made it through summer reading with all my limbs still attached. Ahhh!
  • Then, I became a new joint chief for Storytime Underground. EEEEE!
  • My husband started developing his own product for athletes and I became a partial business owner. (Did you know that writing for a patent is really, really hard?)
  • I went to my first national conference: ARSL 2015 in Little Rock, AR!
  • I presented for the first time ever at NCLA!

And before all this, my wonderful friend, Lisa Shaia, asked me to make a video for her class about one-off school-age programs. You may have seen a few of my book character parties floating around the internet. I am a big fan and advocate for them. Wanna know why? Watch my video!

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Thrive Thursday- 9/3

Thrive Thursday Logo

You guys, it’s September! That means kids are back in schools. Stores are stocking Halloween decorations and pumpkin EVERYTHING. We can unpack our scarves again and look forward to boots! It also means a lot of us just came off a nice, relaxing break from programming. Never fear, though. We’ve still got some great content for everybody’s favorite school-age blog hop.

Over at In Short, I’m Busy, you can find some passive programs and displays to help you ease into the school year. I know I’ll be copying a couple now that things are slowing down.

Angie shared a simple, yet powerful paperbag theater program. I love the creative play and photo opportunities! Isn’t she a genius?

Are you looking for ideas for a makerspace for kids? Miss Meg is killing it, as usual, by sharing her program.

Ms. Kelly is showing us how it’s done with a cooking program that I can really get behind. Following directions and measuring are important skills!

At Literacious, there’s a whole list of wonderful programs begging to be used on early dismissal days and teacher workdays! Libraryland thanks you, Laura!

Finally, Kendra brings it home with the second program in her Meet the Art series! What kid doesn’t want to sling paint in the library?

Thanks for sharing everyone! Now go forth and be inspired.

glitter

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Schools + Library = Success!

This summer, a local elementary school and I combined our formerly independent summer reading programs. The school was going to be closed for construction and I could always use a boost in circulation and attendance, so this partnership was so beneficial. Like anything, though, there were some pros and some cons.

Cons:

  1. After talking with school officials, we decided it was best to offer programs after hours to help working families. I’d always wanted to do this and this was just the opportunity I needed to ask permission to keep the library open longer one day a week. I was SO happy to see families using the library like never before, but my system really relied on me to staff the evening shift, increasing my job responsibilities to include two evenings a week for the summer (a whole 8 weeks).
  2. The school was kind enough to ask teachers to volunteer by attending library events and helping with crowd management, shelving, and anything else I could use. Most nights, I had two volunteers and that was such a wonderful gesture from the school, but the benefits were a little iffy. Since I had different volunteers most weeks, I had to show them all how and where to shelve, brief them on how to help with the programs, and delegate to them for most of the night. Only about half of them were enthusiastic helpers, while others had to be rounded up and directed constantly. It was exhausting for me.
  3. Most nights, our program room (aka the council chambers for Town Hall) was packed. On one hand, that is the best success! On the other, it was difficult to arrange the room so that everyone could get to supplies, to manage all the body heat, and to keep families focused when things got noisy.

Pros:

  1. I tripled my attendance AND my circulation!
  2. Families feel way more familiar with and comfortable at the library.
  3. I know a lot more of the kids than I did before.

Here’s what I learned and would keep in mind in the future:

When you have a small space and big numbers, having one activity that individuals can participate in for as long as they want before leaving is a pretty good options.

The three programs that worked best for me were:

Golf the Library

Life Size Plants vs. Zombies

Minecraft Post-It Art

minecraft            minecraft2

With Minecraft Post-It Art, I divided the kids into teams and let them choose which pictures they wanted to work on. In small groups, they had to figure out how to make their poster board look like Minecraft characters. I told them they were racing, but when everyone finished, they all got a piece of candy.

If we do this collaboration again, I think I’ll push for a volunteer orientation night so that I can show all volunteers how to shelve and give them some details about the programs they’ll help with on their assigned nights. I could potentially let them know if I need some extra help setting up earlier in the day or it’s something simple like a guest speaker and they don’t need to arrive until the program begins. This will save me some stress when I’m trying to get the programs going AND relieving my staff.

I hope to see this collaboration reach into the school year, so I’ll be back with updates on the long-term implications of working together.

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Thrive Thursday Placeholder- 9/3

Thrive Thursday Logo

This post is serving as a placeholder for the Thrive Thursday round-up on 9/3.

Library friends, please comment away with the links to your school-aged programming and ideas.

If you have any trouble at all, just email your submissions to me: brytanifraser at gmail dot com.

If you’re just hearing about Thrive Thursday, let me just tell you, it’s amazing. Think a bunch of best friends, hanging out way past our bed times, possibly drinking but also possibly just laughing our heads off over chocolate and re-runs of Parks and Rec. Oh, that’s all in my head? Fine, fine. Every month library people share ideas for school-aged programs and/or issues relating to serving this age group. Go here for some details: http://thrivethursday.wordpress.com/

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Golf the Library!

This has to be my favorite program so far this year!

Here’s what I used:

My husband as a volunteer to help me set-up. I really do think you need two people. With both of us working on it, it took 3 hours.

35 6 ft. sections of pipe insulation, which cost $1 each.

Painter’s tape to hold it down.

7 Little buckets from the dollar store.

6 kickboards, also from the dollar store.

6 book ends to hold up the foam.

A knife to cut through foam.

Pictures of heroes and villains.

Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth

wonderwoman

Hulk Smash

hulk

Batman Villains

batman

Stark Tower (my fav!)

starktower

Green Arrow

greenarrow

Superman

superman

Spiderman

spiderman

Did this post help you? It took around 2 hours of my personal time to share with you. If you would like to send me a dollar for my time, I would not be opposed.