Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Serving Tweens--some resources

At our Summer Library Program workshop, one of the groups that librarians felt they had a hard time reaching is tweens (3rd-7th graders or so).  I found  a few good resources for people who are feeling like this is a gap for them:

What Do Tweens Want (2015 SLJ Article)

Also:  remember the amazing kits that both WVLS and IFLS have collected that are available to you, ranging from low tech (woodworking, jewelry-making, needle-felting, calligraphy, knitting) to higher tech (Makey Makey, Sphero, Little Bits).  Many of these kits are perfect for this age group--it's a golden age of MAKING.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Escape Rooms!

Thanks to Sam Carpenter at LEPMPL for this guest post!

Those of you who came to the Sure-fire Teen Programs presentation at the SLP workshop in November might remember Ashley Bieber, the teen coordinator at LEPMPL, talking about an upcoming Escape the Room program. Many libraries have created their own escape rooms/programs for all ages with great success . . . 

. . . and we wanted to try it as well. We felt sure it would appeal to teens, but we also felt sure it would be a great deal of work and that we would have to experience an escape room ourselves before creating one at the library.

Luckily for us, the moment I called Escape EC and explained what I had in mind, owner Jack Trautlein offered to help. He and co-owner Jessica Stickler hosted six employees from LEPMPL at Escape EC, donated a portion of our entrance fee to charity, and gave us just enough hints to help us escape the room “The Professor” with a few minutes to spare. We had so much fun and were so wowed by the props in the room, we ended up booking Escape EC for an afternoon the week of Christmas break for our teen program. It is the first off-site teen program I have ever been a part of, and not having to create our own room at the library was a real sanity-saver at a very busy time of year.

We did the scheduling at the library and ended up meeting thirty-one teens at Escape EC. We had 6 groups of anywhere from 5 to 8 teens scheduled to escape the room every 30 minutes between 1 and 4 p.m. The kids were really excited and appreciative of this free program. We played fast dice games with them while they waited for their turn in the room and provided some simple refreshments. We chatted with parents, played cards with younger siblings, and got to know even library regulars a whole lot better.

If you are thinking about planning a similar program, I would not hesitate to call Escape EC for advice. Jack and Jessica are smart and fun and care a whole lot about kids and their community. It’s also a great place to have a laugh with coworkers and engage in some fun teambuilding. Check it out:

Happy New Year!