Friday, July 14, 2006

Summer Reading Programming #1

Monday, July 10, 2006

me and my monster pillow

We made monster pillows. I was a little nervous going in to the event. I had never run a YA program before. I had never run a craft before. Heck, I'd never made this craft before in my life (yes, I'm sure you're surprised to learn that I am not into crafts).

I bought material that I thought would be sufficient for 15 people. Why 15? That seemed like the most I would get at a craft event. I've been running Summer Reading by the seat of my pants for weeks now; just finishing stuff the moment it's needed, changing plans mid-stream, you know, all sorts of a mess. So, there was not a lot of time to advertise for this program, and I had a conflict and needed to move it to another room (we really only have one room for programming right now, anyway).

So, I scrambled around all day getting ready for the craft, not sure what I was going to do and how it would turn out. We used to have a middle school across the street from the library (they built a new high school and the middle schoolers moved into the old high school) so we had a lot of young YA people in the library every day. We don't now. The books circulate a lot, so I know that we have people coming in, but I don't sit near the YA section so I don't see who's coming in.

Seven o'clock arrived and I was sitting along with all my crafts. In some part of my mind I felt like no one was going to show up. I prepared for 15 at most, but realistically I felt like it would be zero.

Then about five minutes after seven, ten teenage girls walked in and we got started. I didn't introduce myself, I didn't ask for volunteers, I didn't mention that I want to start a Teen Advisory Group, nothing. I just started the craft and off we went.

The young ladies had a lot of fun. Several of them made two pillows. They asked about upcoming programming, and we even rescheduled an event due to the teens availability. (I figured it wouldn't hurt to cater to the people who were actually going to be showing up)

I had fun, too. I'm looking forward to our remaining crafts and non-craft programs. I don't expect to have a big turn-out (at least not until the pizza party at the end of the summer) but as long as anyone shows up, it'll be good.

I figured I needed to add some more to this blog to talk about what I've been doing. Lots of information on here about what I think about what others are saying, but I need more here about what I'm doing and what I think about that. I don't have a library background, so things that may seem obvious to some of you, are not clear to me.

And often I'll try something without the mindset of 'that'll never work here, we've tried it before' and it works. Or it doesn't. I don't mind. You learn from mistakes. And you can't (particularly when working with YA, since you always have new faces) just try something once, you need to try it again and again. Just because it didn't work with the current group of kids doesn't mean it won't work with next year's kids.



Keri said...

That looks really cool! How did you make it? I'm not crafty either, but I'm going to try to do duct tape wallets and roses next month. I inherited a successful summer reading program from the previous librarian so I have a guaranteed audience, but my school year programs are pretty dead, so I appreciate your insight into how to attract teens to programming.

The Editor said...

It's really easy.

You cut 18" squares from sections of fleece/felt (most fabric is 54" wide, so you get material for 3 pillows from 1 yard of 54" wide fabric).

Then you cut a 4" x 4" square of each corner of the 18" square (this makes a large plus-sign looking thing).

The next thing to do is to cut the plus-sign ends into one-inch wide fringes (you should get about ten on each side).

Putting two pieces of fabric together (they can be the same color or different), you then tie the pieces of fabric together on three-and-a-half sides.

Stuff the pillow as firmly as you like and then tie the remaining fringes together and decorate.

You can also get instructions from here:

To be honest, I took over this position at the end of April, so I'm learning on the job, too. My wife is a high-school English teacher, so I am comfortable around teens and that helps. I have yet to do any programming during the school year; I've been told that it's dead during the school year. I'm hoping to start a TAB, but we'll see how that goes.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Janie L. Hermann said...

Really cool craft John! The programming stuff will get easier as you go along. I have done lots of crafts and activities with 7th and 8th graders from my 5 years as a middle school teacher -- drop me an email if you ever want ideas. Nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants, keeps life exciting.