Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Buttons for Bibliophiles – Teens, TABs and Fundraising

Submitted by Emily Sanders, Teen Services Librarian, Barrett Memorial Library, Williams Bay

Examples of some of the Buttons for Bibliophiles - submitted
It is my goal every day to create an atmosphere in my library that is inviting and exciting for the teens in my area. Teens are interesting for a number of reasons, one being that they are in a very unique place in life…  Not quite adults, but certainly not children. They are constantly experiencing the world in new and exciting ways.  I love talking with teenagers, I love hearing their opinions, and I love watching them grow into themselves. I wanted to make sure when a teen walked through our doors they felt like they were welcome.  In many cases my teens had something to say about things they wanted to see happen in our Library. With that being said, it felt like the natural next step was to start a Teen Advisory Board.

Our teens have great ideas! Some of them are as simple as asking for a cork board to post ideas on, others are larger than life and require a much larger budget than I have… but I never want to flat out say no. This is where the idea of fundraising came from. We had invested in a button maker a few summers ago. We would bust it out for programming every once in a while but for the most part it lived in our craft closet. 

We started making buttons in February of 2016, around Valentine’s Day.  We had one T.A.B meeting devoted to button designs, and creations! They decided to call their fundraiser “Buttons for Bibliophiles.” The teens were coming in after school on non-meeting days because they had an idea for a button. Soon, we had teens who had never stepped through our door come to buy buttons.  We have a few teens who are photographers who now turn their art into buttons that we sell up at the front desk.  

We had a Teen Advisory Board lock-in last July where the teens met at the library after hours and made buttons. We blasted music, ate lots of junk food, and designed cool buttons. Some kids worked together, others wanted to work solo. We utilized every computer in the library, and by the end of the night we had a new batch of buttons. We plan on doing this every semester to keep our collections fresh. Making these buttons also offers me new insight into our teens, what they like, and who they are.

Not everyone is interested in buying buttons but most people ask what they are for. I love talking to our community about the work the teens do for our library. We have pizza at every meeting and because of the “Buttons for Bibliophiles” fundraiser the teens are able to supply it out of their budget.  
I believe in giving our teens some ownership over what happens in our library so at the beginning of each semester I ask the teens what project they want to lead, this year it’s a Harry Potter Party in the beginning of December. The teens are in charge of decorations, food, and activities. They are able to dip into their funds and can buy whatever they want for their event.

Buttons for Bibliophiles has been a great source of fun and creativity for our teens!

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