Saturday, September 17, 2016
Passive Program Power
Former YSS member and board member Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser is our special guest blogger today. Late of La Crosse Public Library, she began her new job as Youth Services Manager at the George Latimer Central Library in St. Paul, Minnesota. We're glad to welcome her back (if only in print!
Passive programs are a plus in any library, and in St. Paul we see lots of young friends that are visiting for the first time, as well as regulars. Having passive programs available for them to engage with our space has been a fantastic way to welcome newcomers and keep regulars coming back. Here are two ongoing passive programs that have worked great for us:
Scavenger Hunt: Each month we put out a new scavenger hunt. Eight pictures are hidden around the children’s room. At the children’s desk we have small pencils and checklists to help kids keep track of what they’ve found and what’s left. Once kids find all the pictures, they can come back to the desk for a sticker. We print our own stickers on peel-off label sheets, always using couple of the pictures from the hunt. We’ve gone through tons of themes, and this has been a great way to quickly jump on popular subjects. When Pokémon Go exploded, it was fast and easy to create Pokémon scavenger hunt, and people absolutely loved it.
Craft Cart: This is also a monthly activity, and very simple! All materials are included in the cart, so it’s a completely librarian-free activity. Instructions and an example go up on the whiteboard, and kids are free to create!
Everyone in the department takes responsibility for a few months out of the year, but these programs could easily be replicated in a library with fewer staff. Best of all, it gives kids and caregivers more opportunities to interact and have fun at the library.