Program – Mosman Public Library,Aust.

I know I usually do American or Canadian library programs, but that doesn’t mean other countries are not coming up with fun and innovative programming.

I stumbled across the following program from Mosman Public Library in Australia because of an assignment I had to do and I thought it was so much fun I had to post it. It’s a beautiful marriage of books and art (my two favourite things) and one of the more creative programs I’ve seen in a while.

Caution: for some, this program might be considered sacrilege – and yes, books were destroyed in the process.

 On April 13 the Mosman Public Library in Australia held an event called Altered Books, free for ages 12 and up.

 “Mosman Library will be running an Altered Books workshop to show you how old books can be creatively recycled into new sculptures, photoframes or anything else the imagination fancies!”

 This kind of thing makes me giddy!

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Program – Sault. St. Marie Public Library

Last month I did an assignment on designing library spaces for teens and it has haunted me ever since. I’m constantly thinking about the space the library provides and the value it can have for teens, especially those with nowhere else to go. So when I came across Sault St. Marie’s library movie nights I was really excited.

A lot of libraries host movie nights as a library program for teens, especially when big blockbusters like Twilight come out. Why not? They are easy and you will almost always get participants. But what if you took it further? What if you showed movies more frequently, even if they weren’t new, just so that teens had a place to be in the evenings? Often there are not a lot of places in a community for teens. Wouldn’t it be great if our libraries became those places? I know regular movie nights are a simple program, but if you committed the space regularly for something like movie nights, they have the potential of being something amazing.

Last month, teens in Sault St. Marie watched Ice Princess, Cool Runnings and 50 Dead Men Walking. Seems like fun to me.

Program – Highlighting Arlington Texas

This is my monthly program feature that will look at programs for YA being held in Canadian and American libraries.

For the most part, when I search for innovated and fun YA programs I come up empty. Most libraries are doing the same things – Wii night, learn to draw animee, etc. Not that these are horrible ideas, but it’s not very inspiring, and it seems too standardized to actually represent teen interests in the community.  The ones that get me very excited are when I see libraries encouraging teens to make and contribute their own content.

Arlington Public Library in Texas has two regular teen programs that encourage teens to participate and create.

1)      Write a Review, Get a Free Book : Write a 1-3 paragraph review of your favourite book and send it to the Ninja!  If your review is used in the blog we will give you a free book!  Go to the teen’s  Library Ninja Blog and click on the ‘Email Us’ link at the top to email your review.  Anyone in grades 7-12 is eligible. Limited to one free book per month, per teen.

2)      Online Teen Zine: Teens submit your original art, photographs, movies, music, writings, and more to the Library’s online Teen Zine – The Gallery.  This is a great opportunity to display your talent!  Visit The Gallery online to read submission rules and remember to take advantage of all the professional software the Studio has to offer! 

I think these are great ideas! It gets teens thinking critically about what they are reading, creating community discussion, and encouraging teens to write and create their own materials and validating that they have something worth saying and expressing.

Monthly Program – Highlighting Central Rappahannock

This is my monthly program feature that will look at programs for YA being held in Canadian and American libraries.

Central Rappahannock is partnering with local schools for what I think is a very cool book club for middle school students.  From the website:

“About Café Book”

Teens at area schools eat lunch in the school library and talk about the latest and hottest books published for teenagers. After reading their choices from selected titles, the teens share their thoughts with each other. The ultimate goal is to produce a booklist of each school’s Top Picks.”

I think this is a great partnership! I know not every teen would be interested in doing this, but I’m sure this is an awesome idea for some. I know as a socially inept student in middle school (although we did not really have middle school, my high school started in grade 8 ) I would have really appreciated having something like this that I could go to. It might have made me feel like I had a place where I belonged and could be free to read and be around people like me. I’m glad the library is providing these students this opportunity.

For more information on this program check out the website here:

Wichita Public Library

Wichita public library had three really awesome events in October.

Quinceanera Fashion Show – A fashion show put on by teens in the community to teach others about the Latin American tradition of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday. Presenters provided commentary during the fashion show describing the clothing, how it was chosen and the significance of the clothing. What a great way to celebrate the culture in your community and get teens involved at the same time.

They must have had some sort of Edgar Allan Poe month because the next two events focus on Mr. Poe.

Make your Own Poe Video – teens were invited to film themselves doing their own version of any of Poe’s poems.  The teens were given the equipment at the library to film the videos and they were posted to YouTube and the top three won a prize. We talked about using YouTube in library programming a few weeks ago in class. I’m very much in favour of programs that allow teens to express themselves in creative and relevant ways, and I think YouTube videos are a great medium to do that.

Masquerade Party – Gothic inspired masquerade Party called “The Masque of Red Death” was held on October 24th. Teens came in Poe-esque costumes. Besides just a fun party, the teens helped solve a mystery and watched the submitted Poe videos. I think this is awesome, and I would totally have gone. Having a party at the library where kids get to dress up and have a great time is an awesome and fun non academic way to get teens into the library space and make them feel like it really is a place that is for them and represents their tastes and wants. It also tied back to the collection. Having a fun costume party based on literature – genius! Libraries should do this for the release of the new Alice in Wonderland movie.

Program – building a bridge

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The YALSA blog had a great program idea about a month ago  involving teens working with seniors. The teens were recruited from a high school volunteer fair to sign up to help tutor seniors on how to use the computer in the library. Apparently it was a great success!

I think this is one of my favourite ideas for how libraries can reach two really important patron groups. There is usually such a big gap between the two groups that it is great to be able to put them together to erase stereotypes and build friendships.

My high school did similar things with seniors in my home town. My high school was part of a community centre in a small town so it had the public library, seniors day program, nursery school and arena all built into one building which gave students a great opportunity to be involved within the community. The school had a memoir group where students from the creative writing class would meet weekly with seniors and write their memoirs for them. It was a great creative exercise for us students. We met some amazing seniors and I know it meant the world to the seniors to have their story written and read aloud to a group.

All in all, I think seniors and teens are great together!

Program: Podcasts to the President

071005_ObamaYouth_vl-verticalThe Harold Washington Library Centre in Chicago is helping students with a podcast to the President. The students will be invited to express via the podcast what they believe has changed or still needs to change in America. They will be using the thisibelieve.com website to post their podcast.

I think this is a very innovative program. While perhaps not everyone would find this appealing, it does give socially aware teens the opportunity to speak their mind and express their concerns. Giving a voice to youth is so incredibly important and I tip my hat to the Chicago library for initiating this.

For more information about this program click here

For more information about This I Believe click here

Photo by Steve Pope