This January at ALA Midwinter my colleague and I attended the Maker Monday sessions to gather inspiration and ideas to implement into our current program offerings. Our library had already introduced a Digital Media Lab to patrons, but not many kids were using the space. The teen librarian, Erica Gauquier and I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to join forces. We had been looking for ways to collaborate, and bringing tweens and younger teens together for a set of Maker programs sounded like the first step.
Many of the kids in our community are enrolled in camps during the summer months and parents are always asking if the library plans to host camps. We have held a mini-Lego camp for the past few years in August, so that seemed a perfect time to try another series of programs. The week’s worth of events would include one program per day for kids ages 10 to 14. The time of year was perfect for utilizing the library’s courtyard with some of the projects, and the kids were thrilled to work in the sunshine.
Each day consisted of a different STEM focused project and some of the ready-to-go kits were purchased through Maker Shed. We did have to budget for the week, but all the kits can be used more than once! The breakdown of activities included:
To assist in documenting the week Erica and I created a hashtag #tweenmakeweek, and also posted mini-videos on Vine. In addition to saving images for our records, many of the parents enjoyed seeing their children in Maker mode.
The week was an enormous success in terms of getting our feet wet with hosting Maker programs for both kids and teens. It was also an opportunity to bring departments within the organization together for collaboration and wider appeal.
For more program ideas for school-aged kids, visit the Kickstart List on the ALSC website.
Claire Moore is the Assistant Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library in Darien, CT. For further questions, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.