How to Start a Teen Anime Club (When You Know Nothing About Anime)

I recently presented at the West Virginia Library Association’s annual Spring Fling Conference. My session covered the basics of starting a teen anime club. A little over a year ago, my teens asked me to create one for them. I know nothing about anime, so I was intimidated. It turned out to be one of my most successful recurring programs! I figured there were other librarians out there in the same boat, so I would share what I learned.

Here are the slides from my session:

Click here to download the handout.

Preparing for May the Fourth

Confession: I hate Star Wars! I blame my hatred on a college ex-boyfriend, but we won’t get too far into it (that’s what I pay my therapist for). However, I recognize that the Star Wars fandom is massive and that I should at least host a program for them on their day – May the Fourth. Here’s a run-down of what I have planned:

DIY Glow Stick Lightsabers

DIY Glow Stick Star Wars Light Sabers for Kids

 

 

 

 

 

This tutorial is simple and requires only glow sticks, Sharpies, and duct tape.  I thought about doing the pool noodle light sabers, but if I learned anything from our Festivus Party – it’s that my teens can’t be trusted with anything that could possibly be used to hit someone with.

The Force Awakens BINGO

Star Wars Bingo

I’m planning to screen The Force Awakens, but I wanted to do something other than just showing the movie. To make it more interactive, I created a BINGO game to go along with it (with the help of this generator from Darths & Droids). Click here to download the set of 15 cards for your own Star Wars event.

Food

I am going to attempt to make Princess Leia cupcakes and Star Wars party mix.  For beverages we’re going to serve Yoda Soda & Vaderade.

Coloring Sheets

I’m going to leave coloring sheets out in the Teen Zone all day as a passive program.

That’s all I have planned for now. Not too shabby for a non-fan.

Squirt Gun Painting

My after-school crowd has been clamoring to do more art-related programs. I have many artist pals, but their talents have yet to rub off on me. As a result, art programs aren’t really my forte but I try to give the teens what they want (within reason). One of our branch locations hosted a squirt gun painting program, which sounded like a fun event that I could pull off without needing any amazing artistic abilities. It turned out awesome! One of the teens told me it was the best library activity ever and the paintings were gorgeous. Check them out in the slideshow below:

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Here’s what you’ll need if you want to host your own squirt gun painting event:

  • Squirt guns (the cheap ones worked okay, but a few did bust and leak)
  • Liquid watercolors (you could also mix tempera paint and water)
  • Canvases
  • Gloves
  • Smocks
  • An outdoor space to host the event

You will need to lay down the ground rules with the teens right away . For me, that was no squirting each other or pointing guns at each other. Our event went smoothly, but there’s always room for improvement. I didn’t think to label the paint colors on the squirt guns which would have been very helpful. I would also recommend planning an activity for the teens to do while they wait for their paintings to dry. Overall, this was an excellent event that gave our teens a unique creative outlet.

Teen Festivus Party

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I’m not really a holiday person. Due to my Grinchiness, I wanted to host an alternative Christmas party for our teen crowd. So, I channeled my inner Frank Costanza and decided a Festivus party would be awesome.

As expected, almost all of the teens were unfamiliar with Festivus. To educate them, we watched the episode of Seinfeld that introduces the story of Festivus. There were a variety of reactions to the episode. Some thought it was funny, some didn’t get it at all, and others thought it was sexist and made light of child abuse. Festivus dinner was served during the episode screening (not a traditional one, because I didn’t feel like making meatloaf).

unnamedOnce the episode finished, we moved on to the Airing of the Grievances and Feats of Strength. I gave teens slips of paper to write out their grievances and we placed them in a big box because I was concerned about letting a gaggle of teens hurl insults at each other. Most of the grievances turned out to be school-related, anyway.

In order to avoid jail time, the teens didn’t wrestle. Instead, we did a hula hoop contest and Festivus pole limbo as our Feats of Strength. Winners received mini-Festivus poles. To make our Festivus pole and the mini-Festivus poles, I just spray painted some PVC pipe silver. Not difficult at all.

Approximately 17-20 teens attended the Festivus party. We created a Facebook event for it which received a lot of attention, but mostly from adults. This could definitely be adapted as an adult event and it would probably draw in a good crowd.

Library PokeNight

Pokenight

Last night we held our first Library PokeNight and it turned out to be one of my most successful programs! 18 people showed up (22 if you count staff who stopped by), it was a good mix of teens and younger adults. The goal was to capitalize on the fact that we are a Pokemon Go PokeStop and it worked! So, what did Library PokeNight consist of?

  • A PokeWalk around the downtown area where our library is located. You can hit three stops from our library – so we started there (one of my coworkers also dropped lures on all three stops).  This went very well and we picked up some people along the route who just happened to be out and about catching Pokemon.
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Our PokeStop.

  • Pokemon button-making. We made team badges and I had a variety of Pokemon art to choose from.
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Team Mystic, FTW! 

  • Pokeball cookie decorating. This is a very easy edible craft. You just need sugar cookies, frosting, and mini-marshmallows. My coworker and I divided up all the frosting and supplies beforehand to save time and avoid a clogged line at the cookie table.
pokeballcookie

Gotta eat ’em all!

In addition to the Library PokeNight event, I’m doing a couple passive activities.

  • Draw your favorite Pokemon on the whiteboard.
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Pacmon is pretty sweet.

  • DIY Pikachu & Pokeball. I printed off the Cubeecraft templates and set them out in the Teen Zone with scissors and glue. It’s been pretty popular with patrons of all ages.
paperpikachu

Too cute!

 

What is your library doing to attract Pokemon Go players?

 

PokeBook Banner Printable

The Pokemon Go phenomenon has hit our library system hard. Our main library and a few of the branches are PokeStops. We’ve been sharing pics of Pokemon captured in the library on our social media pages in an effort to attract players into the library.

We are also brainstorming programming ideas (more to share on that later). In the meantime, I was inspired by a blog post to create a display. Mine is in the works but it will include a “PokeBook”.

pokebook

I made the PokeBook image above using some clipart and Publisher. I saved it as a PDF banner. Anyone is welcome to use it for their own library displays.

PokeBook Banner PDF

How is your library capitalizing on Pokemon Go? Let me know in the comments!

 

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!