I, like every other children’s librarian in North America, have been insanely busy, and for me, I’ve been crazy busy even by usual summer standards. This was the summer I decided we really need to offer a ton of programs, and since all my staff feel programmed out when they do more then 4 or 5 per month, that left me. Friends, I did 29 programs in two months, not including an awful lot of outreach. So yes, I’m very tired, but it was definitely worthwhile!
Here are a few of my favourite things from this summer:
This program, which is making kaleidoscopes, and is really cool. It takes a lot more prep work than I would usually do for this kind of program, but is well worth it. Even the parents were really impressed by how well the kaleidoscopes worked. A note for those in Canada: the mirror board is available at Michaels (in the one-sheet-at-a-time scrapbook paper section), but in Canadian dollars it costs almost $4 per piece with tax, and I could not figure out how to get more than 7 scopes per piece, even with making some of the 3-sided pieces in 2, 3, or even 4 pieces, taped together. So it’s a pricey program compared to my usual free one-time programs, which usually just use whatever we have in the cupboards.
Wonderworks again, for the second summer in a row. This summer I did it as a straight drop in, and it was crazy popular, attracting anywhere from 20-50 people per week, which for an August program here, where almost everyone goes on vacation in August, is incredible. We did this one, Does It Absorb, and it was literally one of the best programs I’ve ever done. Everyone got damp but mostly not soaking, and cleanup was relatively easy (we have a hard floor and lots of plastic), and everyone had such a blast! Do a water program at your library next summer if you can, it’s fabulous!
We’ve also started having colouring pages and pencil crayons available at the Children’s Information Desk, and it’s really been awesome. Sometimes kids give us their art, and we hang it on our ugly and dull concrete pillars, which helps make the place look more child friendly, which we have a problem with. Our little kid room is nice and kid-friendly, but the rest is not, and we’re always having people forget that the whole floor is for children and teens, so a little messy colouring is really helpful!
I also realized something I’ve been inching towards, which is that while I love teaching technology to kids (3D printing, coding, Raspberry Pi, etc.), our normal program sizes are just too big. This summer I had two Robot Petting programs, where kids could play with Dot and Dash and Cubelets and Blue Bot, the first of which was 16 kids (which drove me insane, even with someone helping me), and the second of which was 7 kids (which was fantastic and fun). So I’ve decided never to run another technology program for more than 10 kids.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about this blog, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time I varied things a bit, so I’m going to start posting more often, but also more randomly, just about whatever I’m reading, or making, or enjoying, whatever it may be. Plus, I can have more photos if it’s my stuff (our program photos are mostly not shareable for me), which is more fun. So look out for hopefully weekly posts about more things!