Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Passive Programming Builds Community

Winter and spring breaks are coming up, which means our libraries might be more crowded than usual! This is a great time to engage library users, but can also be a bit stressful when trying to manage many age groups simultaneously. Your regularly scheduled toddler storytime now might include older siblings attending, and your children’s section might be filled much earlier than usual. So, how do you balance all of your patrons’ needs simultaneously? Passive programming! But, passive programming is so much more than a tool to help you multitask; it helps build community.


Including the Shy Ones: Passive Programming & Interactive Displays

One of the biggest challenges that youth library staff faces is providing programming that reaches the widest array of children possible. We cast huge programming nets in hopes of filling our programs with happy smiling faces that are raring and ready for some fun… but what about the shy kids? What about the children that aren’t super excited about being “trapped” in a room with thirty other kids? How can we engage these children without forcing them into our programs? The answer lies in passive programming. This generally underutilized programming option can be the bridge that connects your more shy patrons with library resources and materials. The trick is to portray the passive program as something else entirely, such as a game or fun activity. From my experience, the best method is to create a program that requires no staff supervision, can be completed with very little instructions, and most…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Library Town

I knew my library was going to be very busy over Spring Break so I wanted to create a passive program to engage our patrons but that wouldn’t require a lot of staff time. We have our early literacy centers, but those are geared more towards toddlers and preschoolers and I knew we’d get a larger amount of school age kids in during break. When I thought about how much the kids love imaginative play in storytime, the idea for Library Town was born. Spreading out throughout our story hour room, Library Town included a restaurant, grocery store, doctor’s office, train, telephone booth, and of course a library. We also re-used some of our homemade building blocks that we created for the summer reading program to look like buildings for kids to create their own mini town and added our community helper dolls to the mix. The set up was…