Our library pulled a lot of our fun toys and manipulatives from our children’s section with the advent of the pandemic. Of course, books and our outdoor programs are still a major draw for families to come to our library, but we’ve been trying to come up with other ways to engage families while they visit the library. Our staff has come up with some terrific innovations!
Behold the I spy tank! We have these at several of our branches. Staff fill the tanks seasonally, and post a sheet of items to find next to it. They also have made a sweet eye spy bulletin board. This is an easy, inexpensive and engaging activity for parents coming to the branches.
One of our branches has started having daily After School Fun passive programs. This branch gets a lot of drop in traffic from a nearby elementary school, and kids look forward to novel, simple activities to do each day. These programs are relatively easy to set up at a table close to the children’s reference desk, so there’s not too much additional staff time required. Activities include games, simple crafts, and writing prompts. One particularly fun After School activity that has been popular with families is the Library Scavenger Hunt. Families regularly check out all of the books that they find on the list!
Another innovation that staff has developed since the pandemic is the use of QR codes for storytime. Our storytimes are still outside so that we don’t have to worry as much about Covid, so there’s not really anyplace to post a storytime agenda. Staff wanted families to be able to follow along with songs and stretchers, and bring those activities home with them, and a QR code was a perfect vehicle for doing so. Guardians simply scan the QR code that is provided to them when the enter the storytime space, and they are directed to a colorful document that was created on Canva.com.
What innovations have you brought to the children’s library lately?