Winter 2019 OYAN Review and More SEL!


The Winter 2019 OYAN Review is now available! It includes great program ideas, the 2019 Mock Printz results, professional learning about leadership, behavior management, and more. Two articles offer good examples of social emotional learning (SEL).

SEL includes establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and feeling empathy for others. Putting devices away, looking into the faces of other people, and trying to read their feelings are important for this aspect of social emotional learning. Read “Teen Poker Games” by Marian Rose, Seaside Public Library, to learn about a program that provides teens this SEL opportunity.

SEL also includes understanding and managing one’s own emotions and making responsible decisions. Providing teens and staff a forum to share their feelings about past conflicts, think about the needs of other kinds of patrons, and brainstorm ideas of what behavior looks like in the library if everyone’s needs are met helps teens develop these SEL skills. Read “Restorative Practices at Hillsboro Public Library” by Emily Smith to learn more about how to turn behavior management into an SEL opportunity—that effectively improves behavior too!

Hunger Games for the First Time

By Elvira Sanchez Kisser, Woodburn Public Library

Hunger Games for the First Time

HGGeneral2Everyone has a first time for everything and for the Woodburn Public Library the Hunger Games Party was their first book-themed party for teens. I had brought up the idea a few times with teens and interest was mild, but this time due to the Mockingjay movie coming up, we hoped it would help in selling the idea. My first response was to do a search to see what activities everyone else had done for their parties through the OYAN blog and Teen librarian Toolbox ( At this time we do not have a Teen Council, so I roped all our teen volunteers together and presented the ideas I found for the party. Many of them said they wanted to structure it more like a game with challenges. We ended up designing a game where teens were sorted into teams and presented with five challenges.  The team with the highest score was declared the winner and got to divvy up a bag of chocolates between them.
ScheduleWhen the teens arrived, they were randomly assigned a district number using a bingo spinner. They then were given a Hunger Games name tag where they wrote their name and district number.

While all the teens were arriving we set up the room with different practice stations:

  • Wild Food Survival Station: Detailed which foods are poisonous and safe
  • Knot Tying Station-  Instructed how to create 6 different knots
  • Make Over Station- Temporary tattoos, face paint, and hair chalk
  • Weapon Making Station – Create their own indoor sling shoot (
  • Shooting Range Station – Practice shooting at Capital and Rebel hanging signs.

To top it off there was pizza and drinks and Catching Fire playing on a large TV.HGGeneral1

After everyone had arrived and had a bit of food, we separated the group into even teams. Each team was handed a schedule card and they had to come up with a team name. (The schedule cards had a list of the challenges randomly mixed for each card in order to have multiple challenges going at once in the hopes of a big crowd and a place for their score). Then we began the challenges.

Challenge 1: Cornucopia Trivia: Groups battled for cheat devices to help with the upcoming challenges by answering trivia questions.

Cheats included: bags of marshmallows, flashlights, Avox card, “2 at a time”card; and a spile card.

Challenge 2: Rebel Attack: Each team had one minute to shoot as many Capital signs hidden in the library stacks without hitting any rebel signs. Teens could only shoot from the edges of the stacks and could not retrieve shot marshmallows.

Scoring: Capital sign +5 pts, Rebel sign -5 pts, and bonus President Snow sign (white Capital sign)+10 pts.HGTarget-2

Cheats: Bags of marshmallows

The teens liked this challenge so much we gave each team two tries. I will say that the indoor sling shot is not easy to control, so an easier challenge would be to create a grid of the signs and place them on a wall and have teens try and hit as many signs from a certain distance.

Challenge 3: Knot Tying: Teams had to see how many knots they could tie in one minute. Only one team member could try at a time, but other team members could tag them out. The knot instructions were taped on a table with six lines of yarn for knot tying.

Cheats:  “2 at a time” card: teams with this card could have two members try at a time.

Scoring: 5 pts per knot tied

This challenge was harder for the groups. Many got frustrated with following the cards, while other teams learned to switch out more often when they got frustrated.

Challenge 4: Food Scavenging: Located in the Children’s Area we scattered bottles of water and standing images of different wild foods. Teams were IMG_3343challenged to find and gather enough safe food for their group within one minute and return to the front of the room. Each member needed to gather at least +20 pts of food and water.

Cheats: Spile card: give all team members 1 water.

Scoring: Safe foods +5 pts; unsafe food -5pts; water +10pts/ -10pts no water.

This was more of a let’s run around the library time and teen had fun trying to find as many food images as possible not really caring about if they were poisonous or not.

HGMazeChallenge 5: Tunnel Escape:  Each team chose a Mentor to guide them through the tunnels using voice commands only in a dark room with a maze taped on the floor. The Mentor can only stand on the edges of the maze during the challenge. All other team members must wear blind folds. The goal is to lead your team through the maze in the shortest possible time.

Cheats: Flashlight card: the Mentor may use a flashlight to see.

Avox card: Teams chose a person to be an Avox, one who can guide without a blindfold but cannot talk.

Scoring: fastest time +10 pts

Next time, I would make a harder maze the, but overall the teens had fun doing this challenge. They also found out that if the Mentor gave bad commands and the Avox didn’t understand them the team could easily be led astray.

Overall the teens attending had a great time. After the winners were announced and the last piece of pizza consumed, the teens helped clean up the remaining rooms. After each challenge I did have the teams reset the challenges for the next team and clean up any mess. The teens that attended had fun and were impressed how everything turned out. The teens that volunteered were inspired and asked when the next meeting was and started making suggestions for another party. I have been watching these teens slowly build a repertoire at each meeting with each other and hope they can eventually be turned into our first teen council.HGGeneral3

Filling the Gap: Downtown Bend Public Library’s new Teen Writing Group

by  April Witteveen, Deschutes Public Library

penandinkIn late spring 2014, Central Oregon heard the sad news that a beloved literature and writing non-profit, The Nature of Words (NOW), would be closing its doors.   NOW offered a variety of programming for all ages, including a teen writing group called the Storefront Project.  In the wake of NOW’s closure, word started to spread that Deschutes Public Library would be working to address the new gap in creative programming for our area.  The past several months have seen DPL staff brainstorming ways to bring more literary and creative writing options to our customers and greater community.  I started a new year with my teen advisory board in the fall, and much to my happiness one of the main things they wanted to see at the library was a teen writing group—hooray for the fortuitousness!

We worked together to plan our first event; I would be the program facilitator for now, with plans to reach out to the local institutes of higher education, local authors, and previous Storefront Project adult volunteers to bring in new faces.  We talked about what would make our writing group attractive to teens, given a few limitations to our library space and furnishings (I will be putting in a budget proposal for multiple bean bag chairs!)   On December 12 we had our initial meeting, complete with snacks and a nice classical soundtrack for background ambiance.  We primarily worked with writing prompts and kicked off our session with some six word memoirs (   We had modest attendance with 7 teens, but the size felt appropriate to allow everyone time to share.  My hope is to grow the group to at least 12 regular attendees.  A student who attended my group had been a regular with the Storefront Project, and he recommended the size—anything approaching 20 or more teens felt a little too big, he said.

Nature of Words also held writing competitions and produced anthologies; I hope to work these aspects of creative writing programming into our own plan over the next couple of years.  Prior to NOW’s closure, DPL hadn’t done much with this type of programming, but now we are eagerly looking for other ways to fill the gap and keep these experiences accessible to area teens