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 03, 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).


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shark Week: I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916!

When my dad got his BA back in the 70s,
he was probably imagining that one day
he'd have a daughter who'd have to
free-hand a large shark.
This Spring, Sara at YA Librarian Tales and me both had the same idea for a summer program: playing into the wild success of the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis at our libraries! We had a discussion on Twitter about it that many librarians joined, including the kid-culture-programming maven Angie at Fat Girl Reading. The conundrum: Which book could I feature that meets this criteria: 1) is exciting, and  2) will not bum out everyone attending, especially the adults.

The three that were definitely out for me right away were The Attacks on September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, and The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863. After a pretty rousing discussion on Twitter, Sarah and I came to the same decision: to tackle The Shark Attacks of 1916. If anything, my decision was dependent on 2 factors here: 1) sharks are cool, and it is super-interesting that they were once thought to be as docile as a bunny rabbit; and 2) the death count was relatively low, so the chances that someone in attendance would say that a family member died in these incidents was slim, nationally.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

P.U.F.F.IN Library Lab: Light Painting!


The first PUFFIN Library Lab in July was the brainchild of my LPL colleague Lindsay. It was a cross-department program, and she rocked it!

You know what? I'll just let her tell it. I'll even let her call me by my legal name because what type of jerk changes their first name when they get married for Internet purposes and doesn't tell anyone IRL about it. I mean, honestly. I'm the worst. --Bryce

Hi, everybody! Lindsay the Technology Librarian, here. Last month, Sara and I ran a super fun light painting program for elementary school aged kids. I first learned about light painting at an ILEAD conference last year, where I saw a couple of librarians testing it out. The idea percolated in the back of my head until Sara invited me to join the Fizz Boom Read fun this summer. As a kid, what could be more fun than standing around in a dark room waving flashlights around while your picture is taken? Sara agreed, and the fun began.

This might be a good time to point out that I've really mostly worked with adults over the past 7 years. I teach adult computer classes and do adult Reference. Suffice it to say, I was pretty nervous about this program. Does anybody else out there get the jitters when challenged to work with an age group outside of your comfort zone? Here’s what worked for me: rehearsing the general flow of what I wanted to say, being prepared for different levels of learning, and just owning what makes me, me. (A potential fourth: making sure any tech equipment works!) The first two can take some time and thought. The 3rd one has taken me years and is still a work in progress. So what if I stumble over words sometimes or crack lame jokes about cats during classes? That’s me. I’m human. Adults seem to take it in stride, so I told myself kids would too. And if all else fails? I pretend I’m super-outgoing Lindsay and not binge-watch-Star-Trek-on-Friday-nights Lindsay. What do you all do to ease your nerves?

I shouldn’t have worried so much; the program was a blast! 

Monday, August 04, 2014

PUFFIN Library Lab: Sasquatch Escape!

Basically one of my favorite movies of all time.
This summer, we decided to work WITH at least one of the many groups that visit our library each week to help make the experience more positive and delay/prevent teacher burn-out. One local group was known for coming into the library for one hour, then bringing in a second group for another hour, sometimes with the same teachers. Needless to say, eventually during the summer the kids would run out of favorite books to read, and teachers would get sick of helping their students make good choices.

To fill a pretty big need the size of everyone's sanity, P.U.F.F.IN Library Lab (Pop Up Free Fun IN the Library) was born. One program done twice every Tuesday (one for each group that visited), the topic of which announced to the public day-of over Facebook. And damn, did it work out well!

Marge held two PUFFIN labs in June, while I took July. My first program was inspired by Ariel's Monster Party. My rendition of a monster party was based on the book Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors.

As you might remember, I'm kinda into cryptozoology, so I'll basically talk about it whenever I get a chance.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thrive Thursday July Round Up!

I'm happy to say that I'm hosting the Thrive Thursday School Age Round-up for July. Want to know more about Thrive Thursday created by Lisa Shaia? Check out past round ups at Thrive After Three. Make sure you don't miss a thing by following the Pinterest Board and Facebook group!

There are so many great things to share this week, so let's get started.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thrive Thursday School Age Blog Hop Placeholder for 7/3/14

I'm happy to say that I'm hosting the Thrive Thursday School Age Round-up for July. Want to know more about Thrive Thursday created by Lisa Shaia? Check out past round ups at Thrive After Three. Make sure you don't miss a thing by following the Pinterest Board and Facebook group!


Thrive Thursday is all about school age programming! I know you all are doing great stuff for summer time. Link to programs in the comments and I'll round them up!

Interested in doing a guest post? My blog is always open. Email me at brycedontplay at gmail dot com and I'll set you up!

The deadline for entries is July 3rd.  That gives you 2 whole weeks to come up with something--anything!-- you're doing. Remember, link to programs in the comments here and I'll make a round up.

(Also, since it's my round up, I'm also looking for your favorite GIFs to help us through Summer Reading.)