Spring Break & Passive Programming

As Easter approaches, many school are on their spring break. Suddenly, your department is full of kids. What do you do?  

I recently asked myself this question. My answer was programming. 

Since spring break  is so busy, I decided to do a low prep program. That was the easy part. Deciding on what to do was another thing. 

After much contemplation, I decided to do a Lego program. 

All I did for this program was:  I placed out Legos for the kids to play with and I put in The Lego Movie. Easy enough, right?  I thought I was in for quiet evening with low attendance. 

 As I open my door to let the kids into the program, I quickly realize I had made a terrible mistake. Not only was their a pack of children waiting to get into my program, but there was a reporter who was at the very back asking to interview me. 

Reporter man, say what? I was so caught off guard. (Plus it had to be the day I had no make up on and my hair was a mess! Do they have a super power to find you on those days?) 

I quickly got my kids going on the movie and the Legos. I slowly went back to address the reporter. 

 It was late. My manager wasn't there, and I didn't know what to do. After the person in charge said it was okay to do the interview, I was on my own. 

As an aspiring librarian, I am learning that you really have to expect the unexpected. 

This was not the first time I had a reporter show up to my program, but last time my manager was there to do the interview for me. Last time when she did the interview for me, she gave me some tips. (Ms. S. is just that cool). 

When doing a TV interview she told me: 

1. When asked a question, rephrase the question 
2. Speak loudly, clearly, and slowly
3. Remember who you are representing. Since it is the library, always connect the questions to library & its values. 

When the camera and the lights turned on me, did I remember this? No.... 

Although it did not go the best, it was a learning experience. The reporter was there to cover on activities that kids could do over spring break. It was a lovely way to spotlight the library and my program. 

I was happy with how well I did in the few minutes notice I had. The only downer part of the interview was how quiet I was on camera.

I just have a quiet princess voice. I guess that is the story with most librarians, right? Maybe I will do a better job next time.  My inner princess of information voice shall conquer! 

After the reporter left, I got the opportunity to sit with kids that participated in the program, play with Legos, and watched The Lego Movie. It was sweet to watch the kids pretend to be Emmett and create all different kinds of incredible things. 

After the program, my Lego book displayed was completely cleaned out and I was showered with thank yous from parents. They really appreciated that the library offered free programs and activities for the kids to do over spring break. 

Even though it was not the quiet night I was expecting, it did go well. It reminds me that we need to make an extra effort to provide things for kids to do over breaks.

It also reminded me that the programming we do doesn't have to be extravagant. Sometimes we just need to provide a place for people to go. 

 If you do not have time to do a program for tweens, you may try to put out some passive programs. Sometimes the most successful programming can be passive programming. 

Some ideas maybe: 

1. Origami- place out some paper and some how to origami books 

2. Create a scavenger hunt for your library for your kids to complete throughout the week. 

3. Trivia- print out some trivia questions and see if the kids can answer them. I like to use pop culture, but you can do whatever is best for your patron base. 

4. Set out some board games, and let the kids play. We have a checker game that we have set out in our children's department, and it get used quit a bit. I enjoy watching families play, and I especially like to see the different rules the kids make up to play it. 

5. Set out coloring sheets. If your library doesn't aprove of coloring sheets, you may 
have them create their own bookmark instead. You can create a simple blank box on the computer, print it out on card stock, set out crayons, and enjoy seeing the bookmarks that kids create. 

6. Play a seek and find game- place a character like "Where is Waldo" in the library and have your kids try and find it. 

When your library is full of kids, I hope these passive program ideas will come in handy for you. More importantly, I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe week. I am happy that we officially made it to spring! 

For the next blog, I am working on more reviews for middle grade books. For my Missourians, I will also start to post discussion questions and program ideas for our Mark Twain state award nominees. Be on the lookout for that. 

Until next time, 


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