Guest Blogger

Making Ukuleles at Guernsey Memorial Library

When I read the ALSC Blog post titled Tiny Triumphs: Using Ukuleles with Success in the Library, I was really excited to learn that ukuleles are popular with other libraries. I wanted to share a two day course we recently completed in which we assembled ukuleles from kits. We decorated the ukuleles and then were taught how to tune them and play basic cords.

Our instructors were Marie and Greg Eden. Marie Eden lived in Oahu, Hawaii from the second grade until the seventh grade.  During the seventh grade at King Intermediate School in Kaneohe, Hawaii, part of the curriculum was learning to play the ukulele. After her class performed Christmas songs at a local mall, she enjoyed it so much that when she was gifted her first ukulele that Christmas she joined a youth band at her church called, “The God Squad.”  After she got married she taught her husband Greg how to play the ukulele and currently they both enjoy collecting and playing their ukuleles and guitars.

Greg thought that it would be fun to get a ukulele kit and build and decorate his own. Pleased with the results he decided that he would like to show other people how to build ukuleles from kits at our library and with – the assistance of Marie – also taught people how to tune the instrument and play basic cords. Both Greg and Marie are experienced teachers, who not only demonstrated how to assemble and play the ukulele but also taught a brief history of the instrument in a fun and entertaining way.

Pictures of ukulele pieces in kit
This is how the Ukulele kits looked before being assembled

Considering the degree of difficulty, our instructors recommend that children be at least ten years old for this project. There are many ukulele kits to choose from online with varying prices; we ordered this 21 inch Soprano Ukulele kit.  This product is recommended for children and all parts are listed as non-toxic.

I hope that you consider this project for your library. I believe that building and personalizing a ukulele makes the instrument extra special and will encourage young musicians to practice often and possibly lead to a lifelong interest in music.

Head shot of Leah MealingOur guest blogger today is Leah Mealing. Leah is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Guernsey Memorial Library in Norwich, New York.  Leah is a visual artist and avid crafter who sometimes teaches crafts at the library; the crafts she teaches are usually the messy ones involving glue or paint or a combination of both.  She also loves to participate in other library activities as well. For more information about the ukulele program, contact the Guernsey Memorial Library at

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


  1. Jen McKinney

    I am all for the inclusion of ukes in borrowing collections. Seeing that people aged 10 and older might even be able to make their own is a real programming boon!

    I’m a newbie player myself, and even though I don’t know too many chords, the storytime kids are always ALWAYS elated when the uke comes out. 😀 I think music can be a key factor in social emotional learning, and am thrilled to see the many ways music intersects with library programming. Bravo, Guernsey Memorial Library!

    1. Leah Mealing

      Thank you for the “Bravo!” This was a very fun project and interesting to see the different designs that every one came up with. I recommend you give it a try.

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