Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Beneath the Surface" Scary Movie Marathon

Are your teens fans of scary movies? Mine are. And what could be more "beneath the surface" than the things that scare us in horror movies?

One of the programs you could do to incorporate this with the "Beneath the Surface" theme for summer is running a horror movie marathon. But rather than show off the latest and greatest, why not show some of the classic and/or campy horror movies out there? These are the kinds of things that aren't lame to teens. You could do a marathon in a day, showing 2 or 3 films at once, or you could make it a program that happens once a week on the same day and at the same time.

A challenge with scary movies is, of course, ratings. Which is why going back to the classic and campy horror is perfect. Many of the good ones are rated PG or PG-13. Here's a short list to get your mind cranking:

And two of my teens' favorites which are also in the appropriate rating category:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Passive programming ideas for "Beneath the Surface"

Passive programming is something I think a lot about. I've talked about it before at ALA, which included a lengthy list of ideas for passive programming. It's something I want to continue thinking about and implementing because the more opportunities you provide passive programming for your teens, the more they will engage in and with it.

While thinking about what programs I want to offer this summer to my teens, I've also kept a separate list of passive programs I want to implement. There are the obvious passive reader's advisory ideas, including book displays on mermaid books, on other worlds, on zombies, and on intergenerational stories (because our personal histories lie beneath our surfaces). Then there are a few others on my mind.

If you're looking for some easy passive programs to implement this summer, here are some of the ones I'm considering:

  • Scratch art. Make up a bunch of homemade scratch boards, leave them out in your teen area, and ask the teens to make their own art. Yes, this will require some cleanup, but leave garbage cans in the area for the teens to do some of the cleanup themselves. Then display the art in the teen area. If you want to, you could employ some of your teens to make publicity out of their scratch art for other programs. 
  • Black out poetry. But rather than use newspapers or magazines (which you can), why not rip apart some of those ARCs gathering dust on your shelves? Then if they happen to wander off, no one loses anything here. Leave out (or have a sign for where teens can ask for) markers, colored pencils, and crayons. Then display the art. Again, maybe some of your crafty teens can help you make some publicity for other programs through their own black out poetry. 
  • You know the incredibly popular "Blind Date with a Book" display going around the internet right now? Take a spin on it. Cover your books with paper bags or construction paper, and in addition to the short description you might include to entice readers to check out the book, ask them to design a brand new cover for the book ON the blank paper. Display those covers. Put them on your social media, and hang them in your teen area. You could make an entire gallery of new covers for older books. This is the perfect way to also move some of those books that are still great but have dated covers. It's sort of like peer reviews, but instead of writing reviews, the teens are offering peer cover designs. 
  • Something else that is "beneath the surface" is personality. How many of your teens know their Myers Briggs type? Pull together a bunch of personality tests in print or digitally and let the teens go to town. Let them share what their type is. Of course, provide information about what that means. There are great infographics floating around you could display in the teen area or share via your social media. 
  • Origami. Do I need to elaborate? Leave instructions for how to make anything that might be "beneath the surface." Put out paper. Let them go to town.
  • Trivia challenges. Let the teens answer a series of questions (and let them cheat, if they want to). Have them submit the answers and pick a winner or two every couple of weeks. Prizes could range from ARCs to earning extra points toward whatever the summer reading goals are or the chance to create a display of their favorite books or it could be just the sweet feeling of being victorious. 
  • Haiku contests. Pick a topic. Tell the teens they have x-amount of time (a week, two weeks) to submit their best haiku on the subject. Display the best. Or, display them all and let the teens vote on the best ones. Good topics for haiku trivia this summer include the outdoors, zombies, anything under the ocean, and so forth.
  • Post Secret. I introduced this to some of my teens a couple years ago and they loved it. They each made their own secrets using old magazines and pre-cut post card sized cardstock. Either let the teens do their own Post Secrets or give them a topic they have to do it on (you're a mermaid -- what's your biggest secret). 

This is a very small sampling of ideas. I plan on spending some time reading Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist and Phil Hansen's Tattoo a Banana to mine new ideas or flesh out some thoughts I've had which haven't come to fruition just yet. 

Do you have other suggestions for passive programs to try this summer that go along with the theme? Or which don't go along with it at all? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Program success: Mardi Gras Party

I am very anti Anti-Valentine's Day parties. It's not that I'm against what the programs are, but I'm very against the terminology. Alternative Valentine's Day or other such titles? They're great. But anti makes Valentine's Day something to be against. Which is silly.

Rather than doing a party in that style this year, though, I decided to offer the teens a Mardi Gras party instead. It was a hit!

Here's what I did:

I set up the program station-style, offering the teens a few options for activities. I had a station for cupcake decorating. My co-worker ordered 3 dozen unfrosted cupcakes from a local bakery, then she purchased green, gold, and purple frosting (the squeeze kind for maximum decoration ability), gold spray frosting, and sprinkles. I provided napkins and plates.

One station was my bead station. I went to Mardi Gras a few years ago and had about 15 pounds of real deal beads. I let the kids have at them. I thought they'd want to take a lot more than they did, but the kids were conservative in their taking. Even if you had to buy the beads, they are quite cheap to acquire.

I also had a mask making station. Do not underestimate how much teenagers love unrestricted access to glitter, gems, and feathers. I provided card stock, colored paper, and markers, crayons, and pencils, as well as scissors, glue and popsicle sticks. The mask above is the one I made, but the teens were super creative. I printed out about 6 different templates in the event the teens wanted them. A few did, but not all. Some went to town on their own.

To show off the face masks, my coworker brought in an old frame and I took digital photos of the teens posing behind it (faces obscured for obvious reasons, but you can see the tips of their masks):

The teens loved this, and I think there could be an entire fun program in doing photos using various frames, costumes, and teen-designed creations. The opportunities then to play with those images digitally, too, could offer even more.

The final event I did for the teens was a scavenger hunt so I could name a King and Queen of Mardi Gras. I did it early in the program and wish I'd waited because it was such a hit. I hid 45 chocolate coins in the programming room, and I told the teens the person who found the most would be King and the second most would be Queen. When one of the girls had the most chocolate, I told her she could pick to be King OR Queen and she wanted to be Queen. So I let her.

I wanted to give the winners a baby (since that's what's traditionally hidden in King Cake) but we couldn't locate any babies. So instead, I gave the winners my big Troth Parade pendants. They totally loved it (the kid in the photo about on the left has one of them).

Of course, in the background of the event, I was playing some Preservation Hall Jazz Band. I asked if they wanted the music louder than it was, and did they ever.

I had the program at 4 pm, which was an ideal time to do this. The teen area was PACKED with kids at 4, so I wandered over there, told them there was a program with food, and they came. And they didn't just come for the cupcakes -- they stayed. We even had a visit from the local paper who took photos. I'm eager to see how those turn out.

The total cost of this program was minimal: cupcakes and decorations, as well as whatever supplies you may need for mask making. The music came from our collection, the frame from a coworker, and that is all. This was such a great opportunity for me to get to know our teens (since this was my first program at my new job) and I got to pick their brains for ideas for future programs. I talked to them about the books, movies, tv, and music they liked and didn't like. Not only did I get to pick their brains, I loved spending time talking with them while they were making masks and finding out what it is they love doing. The girl above? Duct tape fiend. Her brother ended up showing me one of her creations which was so impressive, I made him email me the photo so I could post it on the library's Facebook to her credit.

I would do this program again in a heartbeat. I might add another station or two, but really, the kids came to hang out and eat. I can't complain about that.

Next up for us? We're doing a Fan Art Night as part of Teen Tech Week. I already heard some of the kids talking about how excited they were to do it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Program Idea: Rock Out

This year's summer reading theme for the CSLP teen program is "Beneath the Surface." It can be interpreted so many different ways which is kind of nice but it also lends itself to some, well, really lame sounding programs. But in the midst of thinking about how some of the program ideas I've seen popping up sound like the kind of things teens might never be interested in, I had an idea.

A "rock out" party.

I've seen a million program ideas for decorating rocks. You could use colored pencils on pebbles and protect the designs with sealant of some sort. You could also provide sharpies, white out pens, and other tools to make rocks that look like this.

Teenagers want more than a pet rock, I think. So take this a step further and play off the "Beneath the Surface" idea of doing rock art take the notion of "rock" a little further.

How about rock music playing in the background when you're making your rocks? Or maybe have a game of "Rock Star" or "Guitar Hero" for the kids and the rock decorating is part of the waiting time activity?

And of course...

You'd serve your teens pop rocks during the program.

This could be a cheap program -- the cost of pop rocks, as well as the cost of whatever supplies you provide for the decoration. The rocks are free. So is the music, if it's just pulled from the stacks. Since most libraries have gaming systems or access to them, that's also no cost.

I'm positive there are other ways to spin the idea of a "rock out" party. Rather than just make cool looking rocks, make it even more worth your attendees' while with other activities to do.

Keep your eye here. I plan on offering up some more program ideas for summer reading as the planning time gears up.