What is Creswell Library doing for teens? By Nick Caum

CreswellLibrary

Two Fridays a month teens gather in our little library to play Dungeons and Dragons. We call our program Teen Tabletop. While this may seem like a complete waste of time to many, the program is actually wonderful at developing four key skills identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Those skills are collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, also referred to as the 4CS. Perhaps the biggest gain for me is the face to face interaction that the game requires.

Teens have responded by spending a ton of time in the library. Seriously, they are here using our books and chatting about their D&D grams. We’ve also had a lot of new teens join the library community using the D&D program as their gateway which is reflected across the board in teen programming attendance. The program has also facilitated the development of lasting relationships between library staff running the program and the teens participating. The popularity of the program has increased dramatically, when we first started we had six teens attending, we now consistently have 20+ teens at each event.

5 tips and lessons learned:

  1. Know what you are doing. Don’t try to fake it, play the game first or find someone in your community who will help facilitate the program. There may even be a teen or two who can help out!
  2. Make the teens stick to the rule book. At least while they learn to play, then let them do whatever they want.
  3. Play with the teens. This is a wonderful way to develop lasting relationships.
  4. Pencils. Get those things on Subscribe and Save because they are going to disappear like ice on a hot day. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it just happens.
  5. Let them be silly. This is a great chance for teens to be silly and creative and themselves. This is the chance they have to do all the things that race through their minds through the school week that they know they shouldn’t do.

Written by Nick Caum

 

Creswell Library’s (Lane Library District) 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Lane
  • Population: 8,434
  • Registered borrowers: 2,781
  • Total library visits: 84,601
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 45
  • Total paid staff: 3.70

Learn more about Creswell Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

What I learned at ALA: Part 3 – Passive Programming That’s Anything But: Reaching Young Adults Subversively

Taught by Jackie Parker and Kelly Jensen, this workshop offered ideas for low cost programs that require little staff time or supervision.  Here’s the link to their Program Prezi.  The basic idea is that you leave things out or post online and let teens do it on their own time.  This involves things like contests, promotions, surveys, art projects, and etc.  Great for introverted, self-sufficient kids that don’t feel comfortable joining in the group stuff.

Steps

Plan – They suggest you put in some upfront time to generate ideas and a schedule for the mini-programs.  Maybe use your teen council to help with this?

Incentives – If you want, they can be low cost things like tickets & coupons, or free books, free printing, fine reductions, extra computer time, etc.

Publicize it – promote it with flyers in the library, facebook, twitter, outreach visits, etc.  Emphasize that teens can participate at any time.  Ask your teen council for advice.

Tip: “Allow yourself to fail.”  Good thing, ’cause I had NO teen involvement for the Shelftalking idea.  Shelftalks are brief reviews attached to the book shelf.  You see ’em all the time at Powell’s.  I set out bookmarks that teens could write on and put in books.  Didn’t work for me, but then I don’t have a lot of teens that just hang out at the library.  Might work well in a larger, busier library.

Program ideas

In the library

  • Spine poetry
  • Games & puzzles
  • Photography
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Cover re-designs
  • magnetic poetry
  • origami
  • secret cards
  • “Guerilla Positivity” – leave out supplies for making pocket poems or heart cards that teens can leave around town for people to find.
  • Creative displays
  • Shelftalkers/tags

Using Technology

  • QR code treasure hunts
  • Book trailers
  • Book playlists
  • App reviews
  • Facebook contests
  • “Guess the book” contests – post the first line of a book or show a cover minus the title.
  • 5 word book recommendations

Create kits or programs in a box they can check out

  • shrinky dink bracelets
  • window painting
  • DIY scratch off cards (example on Pinterest)

Things to watch out for

  • Make sure staff know what’s going on!
  • Don’t put out anything you’ll miss if it gets taken.
  • Offer both low and high tech activities.

That’s it!  Have fun!

Teens Make Their Own Ugly Dolls

Aimee has offered the Ugly Dolls class not once, not twice, but THREE times in one calendar year!
 
Why? This class seems to have struck a nerve with the teens of Tualatin. LeBrie Rich, a Portland area Felt artist, has been teaching different craft classes for Tualatin Library for over a year now. Last year she came up with the idea of teaching teens how to make their own softies. I changed the name to Make Your Own Ugly Doll and we have hit a gold mine! She first taught the class over spring break in March and had 17 teens in attendance. I had an additional 12 who wanted to get in so I decided to start off our summer reading program with this class again. Again the class size was limited to 15 and we had 32 sign-up! We allowed 18 in that time since some were returnees finishing their dolls from the first class. LeBrie has agreed to teach the class again in October for the teens who haven’t been able to get in. I’m not even advertising the class. I’m calling the teens who have been waiting to get in and inviting them first!
 
The class is 3 ½ hours with a break for snacks and drinks. It begins with teens drawing their Ugly Dolls. They then create large sized graph paper and scale their creation up for the pattern. They add a seam allowance, cut the pattern and then pin it to the fabric. They cut the fabric, hand sew the dolls, stuff, and decorate. It is an amazingly fun and educational class that keeps the teens coming through the door! I hope all of you consider offering a class like this in the near future for your community of teens!

LeBrie Rich has been a great resource for teen programs, and she used to be one of Aimee’s teens in Eugene. Want to hire her for your library? Check out her website:
http://penfelt.com/

Join the Read-in

From Aimee Meuchel, Tualatin PL

Jennifer Wolf, one of our amazing Teen Room Assistants at the Tualatin Public Library, came to me with an amazing program idea that every library in this state can do easily and cheaply! It’s a Read-In! Here’s the description going out for our teens:

1st Annual Teen Read-In!

Thursday, July 29th

All Day

Teen Room

Escape the heat with a good book at the library. The first annual Teen Read-In will include cool treats, hot reads, and prizes galore. Come for an hour, the afternoon, or the whole day! Best beach outfit will win a special prize.

I think it would be amazing if as many libraries as possible also held a Read-In on July 29th at their libraries. We could unify the state and encourage even more reading by teens! Why July 29th? We were looking for a hot day in the summer and the weather gurus said that is historically a hot date! If you really want to challenge yourselves, you could partner with a non-profit and have teens get sponsors for reading, with the money donated to the charity. You could give out special prizes to all participants. This could be huge! Join us in making this a new annual, state-wide event!