Put on a Screen-Free Activity at Your Library

Just in case you’ve never heard of Screen-Free Week, May 5 — 11, here’s my favorite explanation of what it is:

Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is an annual celebration where children, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days: it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.

Sounds like where we live, huh? S-F Week offers many resources for parents and teachers eager to participate. For librarians? Not so much, and I don’t know why, because reading, daydreaming, and exploring are things we librarians love to incorporate in our programs.

The first difficulty we librarians face in considering Screen-Free Week is the obvious one that what we do at our libraries is to provide access to information resources for our patrons. It’s not for us to suddenly decide to turn off the screens. That’s a parental decision.

But we can act as a resource for parents looking for screen-free activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Remembering that Mother’s Day is that Sunday, I’ll organize some fun crafts that even boys would do if the result is a present for Mom. Or I’ll organize a tea party for kids and their moms. How about this for a fantastic idea: A book giveaway FOR MOMS!  I’ll cull the donated paperbacks and pick out a wide variety of nice looking copies and GIVE THEM TO THE MOMS while their kids make bookmarks.
  • Remembering that the school reading contest booklists will be released around that time, I’ll move heaven and earth to have a few copies of the most exciting titles as giveaways.
  • Remembering that the summer reading program will begin in the next month, I’ll start the sign ups, the e-mail collecting, and in general build up a little momentum.  I’ll give a taste of library fun with some great activity I’m eager to try that I couldn’t sandwich into my summer schedule.
  • Remembering those excellent words of Jana Fine, Florida Youth Services Consultant, I’ll recycle whatever program I’ve used in the past that was a hit.

I’m sure my fellow librarians will think up a lot of great stuff. Will I have difficulty observing Screen Free Week? You betcha. I’m addicted to Pinterest and Word Whomp.  But maybe it’s about time I took a walk on the beach.

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Our guest blogger today is Travis Sherman. Travis is the youth services librarian at Gulf Beaches Public Library in Madeira Beach, Florida.  As her niece once put it after watching her mouse storytime, “And they pay you to do that?”  It’s still hard for her to believe, the mix of books and people she gets to enjoy every day.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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