A goal for this year at work is to incorporate more passive programming into teen services. I just finished reading Happier at Home which is making want to make goals and resolutions – things I at which I usually scoff derisively – but I do think that they help me get things done. Why passive programming? Because I like it and I think it gives a bit of an added value to teen services and teen spaces. This is something that my library’s Children’s Roome does very well. They always have a take home craft and multiple other activities in the stacks. Patrons seem to enjoy them, so I want to try them out with teens. Plus, there are some pretty cool things you can do with it.
So far through my research, i.e. Googling, I’ve found that the Programming Librarian has a lot of great ideas like putting out origami paper and instructions, asking “poll” type questions on paper or a chalkboard (or a cool chalkboard vinyl decal – more on that later!), window painting, art projects, etc. Other ideas they include are making programs in a box like a friendship bracelet kit or marble magnets that you could then circulate. I love that idea. Similar to this – and also sadly similar to the box of “rainy day” activities that they create in The Babysitters Club* books – I am thinking of creating a “Bored Box” that I can keep at the desk or set out in the teen area that has stuff in there for bored teens. I’m thinking art supplies, coloring books (coloring is an ageless pastime, I believe), duct tape for crafts with some instructions, decks of cards, and other games.
Other examples I’ve found are this color your own puzzle piece display (pinned from Pinterest without linking back to the originating website – my ultimate pet peeve!), this “guess what weird thing I am” quiz, and an idea from my mentor (hi!) about putting book series related objects (think tiny bows and arrows, a mockingjay pin, a mini plastic loaf of bread, etc, for a Hunger Games theme) in a jar of rice/sand/couscous and having the kids try and figure out all of the pieces! I would probably do this with rainbow-ized rice because it looks magical:
What else? I found these blue silicone sticky birds that look a lot like the twitter logo and stuck them on the wall. (I’ll try and take a picture of them this week as they are sort of hard to describe.) Then I created some fake Tweets from book characters on put them up. I’ve only done two so but it was fun. Hopefully, I can change them out every week or two and have the teens guess the books.
I’m not sure if teens will like, or even notice all of this, so if I find out they don’t then I will have to re-evaluate. But until then, I’m going to try it out. This month for my passive program, I just have a simple Young Adult Book Wordsearch out that I created using Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker. Then month, I’m going to set out origami paper and instructions. For March, I may do the “guess the objects in the jar” game, perhaps even with a prize!
Finally, this isn’t exactly passive programming, but it’s part of the reason why I want to do more passive programming: the revitalized teen area! Now that the space is slightly more inviting and more teens may be hanging out there, I wanted to make it even more exciting. Or try. I was going to write, “make it even more cool,” but sometimes I may be a bit fuzzy on what is actually “cool” this days. I do try, though. Take a peek:
The TAG (Teen Advisory Group) kids picked out the bean bags, the color scheme, and approved my love of the chalkboard vinyl and the “Keep Calm and Read On” sign. They are still working on some teen-made art for the space, and I’m hoping to find a better desk/table solution. I’m thinking TV trays that could hang from a hook on the wall or lap desks or both. I know some teens want to be able to do homework in this space and the tiny little tables we have just aren’t going to cut it.
I think it’s a big improvement but there is still room to get it even better. What do you think? Do you have any great passive programming ideas you want to share?
*I think my sister always skipped chapter 2, you know the one that starts with “It all started with Kristy’s great idea…” I honestly don’t think I realized all of the second chapters were basically the same until she pointed it out to me years later. Years later, like perhaps in college. Being a fast reader often makes me a bit of an oblivious reader.