Library Rocks Yo!

Recently I set up what might be the easiest anti-program of all- a large sheet of blank paper with the word Doodle written across it in a bouncy, bubbly script. It was doodled upon for days and as I went over to clean it up when it was full I found this scrolled across one area. It’s great to see a simple program work but even better to find validation literally written across it at its conclusion. Yay!

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Create Your Own Divergent Release Party: Part 3

Well, the week is finally upon us!  This Friday thousands of teens (and non-teen fans of YA) will flock in costume (and not) to their local theater to catch a glimpse of Divergent come to life.

I will be celebrating in my usual way for this kind of thing- in a panic that no one will come to the huge event I have planned and then rapidly winding my way through all the crazy activities I’ve planned when a ton of kids do show up.

Here’s where my party stands at this point:

Building Leap Photo Booth - Green screen photos will make it appear teens are leaping off of a building

Fear Maze  - Teens drink a blue drink, enter a sensory maze with 5 potential channels which will “sort” them into their factions.  It will be constructed from large cardboard boxes, black garbage bags and box fans which will fill everything with air.  There will be various sensory challenges like crawling through stringy things, over wet things, over crunchy things, etc.  Anyone who can’t finish they will be Factionless.  Upon emerging teens  will be given a faction button (made on our button maker!) to wear proudly.  They will then report to their faction to do their duty. (tee-hee!)
Amity Faction Duty - Make popcorn, hand popcorn out to teen participants, train your next faction member in how to make popcorn and hand it out
Abnegation Faction Duty - Use Metal Stamping equipment to teach teen participants how to make watch sized piece of washer bling and train your next Abnegation member how to do this.  Also, for the daring I’ll have a no mirror makeup challenge set up!
Candor Faction Duty - Lead teen participants through a positive honesty exercise I saw here.
Divergent  Faction Duty - Tattoo (temporarily) teen participants and the next Dauntless member, teach the next Dauntless Member how to tattoo.  These tattoos will be created using our vinyl cutter so they’re totally unique and like nothing else out there!
Erudite Faction Duty - Explain to the next Erudite Teen that you are actually in charge of the Fear Maze Entrance. Once you have debriefed the next member on how it works, go lead teen participants through the maze.
Movie Previews - Blasting on one huge white wall will be the official trailers and teasers from the Divergent Website!
Volunteers- So far I have 15-20 volunteers who will  run all the stations.  The are enough volunteers that they can each work for half the party then play the rest of the time!
Prizes: We got 5 movie tickets donated and bought three paperbacks to give away.  Also, a local makeup artist agreed to volunteer at the event so we’ll be giving away 15-minute on the spot makeovers!
Decorations- I’ve found some great faction specific images I have cached on Pinterest for each alcove/faction activity.  I’ll give away the posters at the end of the night (inadvertent help breaking down!) to kids who didn’t win our other prizes.
I’ll be cutting, stretching & hanging black garbage bags to help create a Dystopian , garbage strewn vibe.  (That’s what the picture is of but there will be more pictures to follow, I promise!)
The popcorn bags all have little Amity Trees glued to them to make it look as if it’s a government issued snack.
Oh!  And volunteers will be cosplaying their favorite factions!  That oughta’ add to the vibe!
Now to find some dubstep to blast in that fear maze, excuse me…

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What I’m Programming – Throwback Thursdays (January)

So I thought I’d start some ongoing lists and descriptions of the crazy stuff I’m able to program since it’s been so fun to put together.  I’m starting it off with Throwback Thursdays, an idea I had to mix retro stuff (Technology! Games! Crafts!) with modern twists or counterparts.  They take place (of course) on Thursday afternoons and last 1 hour each.

Last night @justinthelibrarian and I hosted our very first one and it was incredible fun.  We taught kids about how records work, how record players are different than turntables and then had kids choose records.  From those records we taught them how to record a clip, edit it, loop it, and mix it with other clips other kids wanted to use.  The result was total magic, listen to it here. I live tweeted it on my twitter account and plan to do so with all the others.  If you’re interested in that kind of thing you can check it out here.

Other upcoming TBT programs will be:

1/16 – Sweet Bracelets (Making Candy Wrapper Bracelets and Rainbow Bracelets)

1/23 – Gaming Gone Retro (Will you have more fun playing on one of DS systems or playing a board game as as group!?!?)

1/30 – Pixel Art (Let’s take giant post-it notes and decorate our windows in Pixel Art!

I’ll try to be good about posting photos of what we get up to and instructions.

Til Thursday, everyone!TBT Poster

Create Your Own Divergent Release Party – Phase 2

So I’ve had a couple months to get my ideas together and bounce them off my incredible staff members @justinthelibrarian and Lee Hope to find out what’s doable, what’s fun and what would drive them bonkers and needs to be dropped.  Here’s where things stand:

The Cardboard Fear Simulator:  They both loved this idea!  In fact, Justin went the following week to talk to a local manufacturing company about saving us as many large cardboard boxes as possible.  They said they do that all the time and they’d be happy to reserve their boxes for us until Spring for free.  In fact, they’ll even drop them off for us!  AMAZING!  I’ll be getting fun sensory materials to put inside, foam, ripped paper, bubble wrap, sponges, etc.  Depending on which path they take they’ll be sorted into different factions.  As they emerge they’ll receive a button stating which faction they now belong to.  If they get too scared and go back to the beginning they’ll be dubbed “Factionless” and receive that button!

Giant Foam Pit w/ Pictures:  I decided it was a bit unrealistic to start with a foam pit for my first project (someday, my pretty) but I did figure out how to get the whole jumping off a building shot thing.  We’ve recently installed a photo booth on the 2nd floor (Check it out here!) and in talking with our incredible Tech staff we’re going to do a green screen backdrop and have kids jump while we take their photos.  The buildings will be super imposed in the background and voila!  Base jumping shots from the comfort of your library that are instantly uploaded to our Phothobooth’s own Instagram Page.

Temporary Tattoo Station:  We got our Silhouette Cameo up and running and will be getting some tattoo paper to print the tattoos off with, this should be fairly straight forward and because we’re printing them ourselves we can make them nice and big!

Crazy Dystopian Hair Station/Hair Chalking:  I’m going to be reaching out to a local beauty school to see if their hair students would be willing to come for an hour and just give crazy hairstyles to the teens.  Luckily a staff member has a connection to one local school but there are many we could reach out to.  It could be a great chance for these students to add some more unique work to their portfolios!

We’ll be purchasing the hair chalk supplies this week and doing test runs with kids at our next Focus Group which should be a ton of fun!

Also, I’ve got some new ideas to add in:

Giveaways:  I want to give away a couple of the trilogies of the books that night as well as tickets for the movie since we’ll be hosting the event the Friday that the movie opens, March 21st.  Since we probably won’t have enough tickets and books for everyone, we’ll also have ARCs to giveaway and I’ll be 3D printing some kind of Ferris Wheel items for everyone to take home.

Trailer/Munchies: We’ll have the trailer/s looping on one of the walls with our popcorn machine out so kids can  watch it and munch away… I’m even going to try and make Amity Bags to hold the popcorn so our look is authentic.

I’m getting really excited, this plan is coming together nicely, I have a ton of support and I can’t wait to finally host my first big event here at CPL!  Feel free to share whatever you’re going to do in the comments, I’d love to talk to other people hosting something like this!

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Giving Teens Leadership Experience through Your Volunteer Program

My newest goal at the Chattanooga Public Library is to develop and new branch of our Teen Volunteer Program that’s all about leadership.  If you’ve ever met me or heard me speak in person about volunteer management you’ll know I’m very into creating empowering opportunities that translate well for teens onto college or job applications.  It’s that passion and the freedom of my new job which gave me a great brainstorm just before the holiday season:

I want to teach teens how to program for libraries.

I want them to choose whatever they’re passionate about, let me teach them how to run it as a program and then let them take the driver’s seat and actually run it.  I’ve figure out how to fit all of this into a two hour block of time so it’s easily adapted to school requirements and teenage lives.  Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Come and tell me what you’re interested in teaching.  I’ll give you a volunteer application to fill out and explain how this works.

Step 2- We schedule a time to get together and I’ll walk you through “How to Run a Program” in a half hour.  We’ll also set up the date and time of your program.

Step 3 – Today is your program!  Work your magic and I’ll act as your helper for the duration of the program.

Step 4 – After your program we’ll take ten minutes to discuss whether or not your enjoyed leading a program and if you’d like to do it again or remain a mysterious one hit wonder!

That’s it.  Super simple.  And when kids are done they’ll have programming experience at a very recognizable nonprofit and I’ll even provide them with a one-sheeter of the kind of work they’ve done translated into “employment ” and “academic” terms they can plug into those applications.

Update, 2/26/2014!:  I recently wrote a piece for The Chattanooga Public Library on a similar topic.