November is Dinovember and dinosaurs have invaded the children’s department! Inspired by Refe and Susan Tuma’s What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night and librarians everywhere, Dinovember is a special month where dinosaurs come out to play. In 2019, our children’s department staff helped me celebrate our first Dinovember with programming, displays, and crafts.
First, I decorated our monthly bulletin board with the prompt “If I were a dinosaur, I would be…” The board was divided into four options: a carnivore (eats meat), an herbivore (eats plants), an omnivore (eats both), or an om-nom-nom-nivore (eats everything!). We encouraged the kids to choose a dinosaur cutout and write the foods they would eat if they were dinosaurs. Some of my favorite responses were: unicorn poop, slime pizza, pork chops, and more. As you can probably guess, the silly om-nom-nom-nivore was an immensely popular choice. Due to covid-19 cleaning and social-distancing standards, this year I would suggest a prompt that kids can interact with by pointing at and/or talking about with library staff and their families to avoid touching shared markers and paper.
A few awesome coworkers also created a book display highlighting great dinosaur books, and an art room project using torn paper to form prehistoric landscapes for dinosaur silhouettes. The creativity these kids show with our monthly art projects always astound me! To avoid sharing art supplies and promote social-distancing in the library, this is a great opportunity for a take-home art project.
My final display was directly inspired by Refe and Susan Tuma, who started it all with their dino-tastic idea to show their kids all the shenanigans their dinosaur toys get into while the family is asleep. Using borrowed dinosaurs from a coworker’s generous kiddos, every day I captured photos of the dinosaurs having fun around the children’s department and displayed them on a blank wall as a way to catch the kids’ attention and encourage them to keep looking all month long. My goal was to highlight all the fun things we have to offer, including many services some families might not be aware of. Passive displays like this are perfect for social-distancing! You might even turn it into a scavenger hunt by hiding the dinosaurs or displaying the photos around the department for a little extra fun.
At the end of the month, all of these fun activities culminated in a dinosaur party inspired by this ALSC Dinovember post from 2017 and this one from 2014, as well as many other librarian blogs. We had several stations for crafts, games, and other fun activities. At the craft tables we made dinosaur party hats and dinosaur scratch art. We played games like Don’t Feed the T-Rex beanbag toss; Triceratoss ring toss; and Dinosaur Tail Knockdown. These were big hits! Other stations included an archaeological dig with dinosaur skeleton toys hidden in sand, sorting and memory games, and a photo station with props. The day of the party, I also provided an all-day scavenger hunt throughout the department.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the future is still unknown and things are changing constantly, especially in-person programming. For future Dinovembers, I had planned an even bigger month-long celebration with one program each week in November, once again ending with a big dinosaur party. One week would have a special dinosaur storytime, another week might feature a dinosaur STEM program, and another might include a dinosaur art program. Programming and interactive displays look a little different in 2020, but librarians are nothing if not creative and adaptable.
We’ve got this!
Our guest blogger today is Kelsey Shanabarger. Kelsey is a former Children’s Librarian and current Cataloger of children’s materials at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills