Hunger Games Party

This is my first Summer Reading Program (or as we call it, Summer Library Club) at my new library. The former Teen Services Librarian had transferred to a new position last summer, so the program was very bare bones. Because of that, I may be overcompensating this summer. I have 18 programs planned for over the course of 7 weeks.

We are using the CSLP teen theme, Get in the Game: Read. When I think of teens and games, I think The Hunger Games. So, for our kick-off I threw the teens a Hunger Games Party. Excuse me, a Panem Party (I wasn’t allowed to call it a Hunger Games Party). We made mini bows and arrows, had themed snacks, did a trivia challenge, and had a reaping drawing. There wasn’t a large turn-out, but the attendees had a ton fun.

Here are the PDF files for the food and drink labels:

Feel free to use and share!

Stuffed Toy Taxidermy

Tonight has probably been the best Teen Crafternoon I’ve hosted so far! We made stuffed toy taxidermy. I got the idea from the Dollar Store Crafts Blog. It’s one of those projects that looks really difficult, but is actually insanely simple. My teens had a blast, fur was flying everywhere! They really seemed to enjoy creating some stuffed animal carnage.

Supply Costs:

Plywood circles – 99 cents each at Michael’s (I spent approximately $10)
Paint and paintbrushes – free, we already had some at the library
Glue guns and glue sticks – free, we already had some at the library
Old stuffed animals – free, the teens brought their own
Total – Approximately $10

Active Time: 22 minutes

So, if you’re look for a cheap, quick, and easy craft to do with your teens – I highly recommend this one. Here are the instructions.

Teen Read Week – Seek the Unknown

Teen Read Week is coming up quick. I’ve been batting ideas around with our branches’ teen programmers because we kind of wanted to do a couple things system-wide. Here are some ideas I put out:

Edible Book Craft (from the TRW website): Tiny, edible books made from fruit leather and fun-size chocolate bars. I am definitely planning on doing this at the main library.

Spooky Story Contest (also from the TRW website): This one would be a system-wide program, with one winner from each branch. Teens would be encouraged to send in short, spooky stories from October 1st- October 15th. We would judge them and announce the winners on the last day of TRW. Not sure what we would do for prizes, though.

Reviews for Fines: I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that the branch managers agree to this one, if not we’ll still implement it at the main library. Basically for every review teens  bring in, they get one fine waived. We will share the reviews online.

Alien/ Cryptozoology Investigation Program: I’m really excited about this one! I’ve contacted the WV chapter of MUFON and they are going to do a presentation on alien investigation and UFOS for us. While chatting with the chapter head, he mentioned that he also teaches a class on cryptozoology and agreed to expand the presentation to include some info on that, too. I had a paranormal society give a presentation during summer reading and it was one of my more successful programs, so I have high hopes for this one. Also, my teens love cryptids.

This is my first Teen Read Week, so I hope it goes well.

Begging For Likes

PictureWe’ve all seen those posts on Facebook of a kid holding a sign that says “If I get 1,000 likes, my dad will take me to Disneyland!” or something along those lines. These type of posts almost always reach the number of likes requested. Well, I wanted to see if we could make this kind of post work for libraries.

I grabbed a couple of coworkers, we made a sign, took the above photo, and then posted it via the library’s Facebook page. It has been our most successful post to date (we’ve been on Facebook for 3 years and I’ve been page admin for about a year). While we didn’t reach our goal of 1,000 likes, we did come close and over 7,000 people saw our post. That’s a lot of free publicity for our library!

Overall, this experiment reinforced a belief that I already held – that people are visual. If I had posted “Can we get 1000 likes for libraries?” as a text status, it would not have garnered the same amount of attention. Combining a visual post with text seems to work best for us and our patrons engage more with these kinds of posts.

Right now, I’m considering expanding on this idea. I really like what OverDrive is doing on their Facebook page. They are posting pictures of their staff holding signs with questions like, “What is the first book you remember reading?” and “Who is your favorite literary villain?“. This seems like a great way to showcase library employees’ personalities while establishing a rapport with patrons.

What are some interesting ways your library is using Facebook?

Summer Reading


Beneath the Surface Display

This year, I’m planning my first-ever Summer Reading Program. Since taking over teen programming at my library, I’ve been able to host several successful programs. Our Circulation Manager reports that patrons have shown a lot of interest in the program, so I have high hopes. The program will run June 15-August 10 and the theme is Beneath the Surface. Teens will be given BINGO cards to complete – each completed BINGO card equals entry into our weekly and grand prize drawings. Weekly prizes range from pool passes to iTunes gift cards. The grand prize is a Samsung Galaxy Tab!

We kick-off next weekend with a zombie-themed party. There will be food, of course! We’ll play what I’m calling “Corpse Cornhole” – a cornhole game painted to look like a zombie. There’s also going to be a make-up station and photo area where teens can zombify themselves. We have a lot of great programs in the works: a visit from the state paranormal society, a crime scene presentation from a detective, a MuVChat screening, and lots of crafts. Our teens go crazy for crafts.

A local home for teen boys is going to participate and I’m very excited. When I drove the bookmobile, it was one of my favorite stops. The guys were so eager and excited to have access to library materials. I’m really looking forward to working with them again. I tailored a special BINGO card for them because they have limited internet access and would not be able to complete certain tasks on the regular BINGO cards.

I’ve attached the BINGO card below.

Summer Reading BINGO

Pinterest Tools for Librarians

2496232I manage our library system’s Pinterest account and it can be very tricky at times. Days when I’m out of the office, instances when I want to fill a new board without inundating our followers’ dashboards with pins, or times when I want to pin an image from a website like Facebook: these situations can be problematic. So, I’ve been using two FREE tools that help solve these issues: Reachli and PinGraphy.

Reachli: This website allows you to create campaigns and then track their success. Install the bookmarklet and you’re ready to go. Reachli’s best feature is that it allows you to pin from Facebook (something that you can’t do with your Pinterest account alone). This is great for sharing Facebook events with your followers. Reachli also lets you change the source url while you’re pinning with their bookmarklet. For me, this is particularly handy because I have to open images in our catalog in order to pin them and then edit the pin to change the source url to the actual catalog entry. It can be a looooong process. With Reachli, I can just change it as I’m pinning. Bada bing, bada boom, I’m done! It is a super time-saver!

You can also pay to promote your pins, but I’m too cheap for that.

PinGraphy: This website is AWESOME because it lets you schedule pins! It makes me so happy. You can schedule pins for days when you’re on vacation, for certain times of day to maximize visibility, or pin a bunch of stuff and stretch out the time between pins. It is really annoying when I login to Pinterest and see a ton of pins from one user, like they just took a giant pin dump on my dash. Don’t be that person, use PinGraphy to schedule time inbetween those pins!

Pingraphy also syncs to your Pinterest account so you can view stats and analyze the success of your pins and boards. Love it!

ps. Pinstamatic is great, too! It lets you add a lot of great stuff: text, website snapshots, music, and more. Definitely worth giving a shot.

Update: 6/7/2013 – PinGraphy is no longer a free tool. At the moment, Reachli is working on a pin scheduling feature.

Update: 9/13/2013 – Reachli now has a scheduling feature. It is sweet.