Guest Post: Readers’ Choice Award Program

Hey remember when I put a call out for guest posts? Well I am delighted that some of you have taken me up on my offer! I’m here today to feature another wonderful guest post by Anne Pott.  Anne is a Library Assistant II in the Youth Services Department at Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan.  She’s written about her Readers’ Choice Award Program. If you’re interested in knowing more about this program or would like her to share files, feel free to email her at  She’s also sporadically found on twitter at @LadybugsLilAnne.  Take it away Anne!


As professionals in the library world, I think most of us enjoy speculating over, discussing, and celebrating literary awards. The reality for most people, however, is that we don’t have any say in which books receive these awards. In fall of 2016, I decided to try a new program giving our young patrons the chance to make their voices heard. Thus, the Herrick District Library Readers’ Choice Award was born. I have to give credit where credit is due, however. This whole program was inspired by Orion Township Public Library’s Dragon Award. I loved the idea of giving kids a little extra ownership of the library. I also think it highlights the importance of participating in the democratic process and what a privilege it is to have the right to vote.

I’d originally intended to pilot the program with kids in 3rd-5th grades with the hope of expanding once we’d worked any bugs out. However, as things sometimes do, the idea caught fire and spiraled until suddenly, we were planning for participation for everyone from kids in Kindergarten all the way through adults!

Artwork by HJM Rantz

How it worked:

Last year, we took nominations from patrons for “candidates”. Kind of like primary elections. In retrospect, we felt that this wound up dragging the program out too long and that it lost momentum. This year, we’re planning to announce candidates based off of last year’s circulation stats.

Kids and teens had five candidates in each of the following categories: K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade. Adults had four candidates in each of the following genres: non-fiction, fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, and graphic novels.

We had paper ballots in the various departments in the library as well as online voting through our website. In the kid’s department, we have an area that usually has some sort of passive program going on, so we set up voting booths for the kids. It was pretty adorable. One of the things I loved the most, though, was the number of conversations I overheard with caregivers explaining to kids that “this is kind of what it looks when I go and vote for the president”, etc. It was great to see that engagement! We also let kids take “I Voted” stickers. Because stickers. Amiright?

How it went:

We had our candidates, our ballots, and our voting booths. We hung up posters at the library, and emailed local schools hoping they would encourage their students to make their voices heard. Then we crossed our fingers. I was absolutely blown away…we wound up with nearly 1,100 votes! Were some of them duplicates? Probably. However, we decided that our main goal was community engagement. We weren’t going to try to monitor for voter fraud. It really was just for fun.

The recipients of the first-ever HDL Readers’ Choice Award were as follows:

Grades K-2: Magic Tree House: Tonight on the Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne
Grades 3-5: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
Grades 6-8: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Grades 9-12: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Adult Nonfiction: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
Adult Fiction: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Adult Mystery: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy: A Game of Thones by George R.R. Martin
Adult Graphic Novels: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North

After we announced the winners on our website and social media platforms, we made seals using a custom embosser with our library’s logo and award title on it. We stickered the books, purchased additional copies where needed, and released them into the wild where they’ve been happily circulating since! Our Collection and Digital Resources team was even good enough to alter the records in our catalog so the winners will be searchable.

We also decided to donate copies of the winning books to each of our local schools. Thanks in large part to Scholastic’s pricing, we found it was within our budget to do this. To help save on cost, we didn’t donate all 4 to all of the schools, but just the books that were most applicable to the ages of the students each school serves. They were VERY excited to receive them! We put the award seals on them, of course, and our Community Relations Department made up “Donated by Herrick District Library” labels for us to put inside each of the books. And we know they’re getting love because one of our staff members recently let us know that her son had checked out a book from school with a Readers’ Choice Award seal on it!

As you can tell, this really became a library-wide affair. Nearly every department helped out in some way to make this happen. We’re certainly making some tweaks, but over all felt that it was a successful enough program to plan to continue with it indefinitely. I’m particularly interested in continuing a voting program because I feel that especially now, it’s more important than ever to engage kids in understanding the democratic process.

Does your library provide voting programs for your young patrons? Do you have patrons’ choice awards of some sort? If so, I’d love to hear about them!

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Introducing the Library Services for Children Journal Club!

Oh, friends. Have I got something exciting to tell you!  For the past few months I have been hard at work on a special project that is finally ready to launch. I would like to introduce you all to the Library Services for Children Journal Club.

This project is the brainchild of myself and my friend and colleague Christie Menzo. I had been throwing around the idea of hosting something similar on Jbrary as a way to facilitate professional development reading amongst library staff serving children. Christie had been learning about journal clubs in the medical field through her husband who is a doctor. When we got together and started chatting, voila! The Library Services for Journal Club was born.

So what is the LSC Journal Club?

The Library Services for Children Journal Club is way for children’s library staff to engage in professional dialogue or critical appraisal of research publications and other professional literature related to children’s library services. Our goal is to help children’s library staff keep up to date and engaged with published research and new developments in the field of children’s library services, and to think critically about the quality of the research that informs our decision making.

How does it work?

Once every two months Christie and I will be selecting one or two articles for us all to discuss. The articles will fall into one of six themes.  We’ll be hosting a local Vancouver meet-up and we highly encourage you to set up meetings wherever you are! This could be an informal gathering at someone’s house or it could be more formal like at a library staff meeting. We’ll also be sharing out thoughts on social media using the hashtag #lscjournalclub.

When does it start?

Now! We’ve posted information about the first discussion which will take place in November. You can read the two articles we selected which are all about executive function. Start gathering your group together! I’ll be posting my thoughts on each article here on Jbrary and I encourage any other bloggers to do the same.

Please feel free to leave me any questions or comments you have about the LSC Journal Club. I hope my fellow research nerds will rally behind this project that holds a special place in my heart.


Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Guest Post: All About Process Art

Remember when we put out a call for guest posts? It’s still open if anyone is interested in contributing! Today we are excited to share a guest post from Katie O’Brian. A native of the Chicago suburbs, Katie works as a Librarian at the Sam Gary Branch of the Denver Public Library.  She has worked with children and families since 2012 and loves providing storytime and programs for children of all ages. In her free time, Katie reads, knits, and watches The Great British Bake Off.

Read on to find out what process art is, why it’s great for kids, and ideas for trying it out at your library.  Thank you, Katie, for this amazing post!


I used to think that every craft program I ran had to have a specific product the kids could take home at the end of the day. I gathered all the right supplies, tried to guess the right numbers, and made sure directions were clear. While this kind of craft has its place, it’s certainly not the only option! You or volunteers could spend hours cutting out tiny pieces to make a very specific product. Alternatively, you could put out a variety of supplies and watch what happens. This is called process art, and it’s a magical thing.

In process art, the emphasis is on exploration. Participants explore a material, a technique, a color, etc. at length. There is no sample to follow. The activity is child focused and directed. The goal might be to explore painting, for example, by using a water bottle as a kind of stamp. Do we roll it? Stamp with the bottom? The top? Inevitably, someone will decide they want to discard the water bottle and spread the paint with their hands or a brush. That’s great! They’re seeing what happens when all the colors are combined. They’re getting messy. They’re having fun!

The developmental benefits of process art are numerous. Because every child explores differently, process art allows each child to engage in self-directed learning. They have the control. When we ask a child, “What would happen if…” we’re asking them to answer an open-ended question. This is a powerful learning opportunity.

These are some of the many reasons I love process art:

  • It gives children autonomy
  • It takes away the stress of trying to get something exactly right (for them and for us!)
  • Children learn about cooperation, decision making, and sharing
  • It allows kids to have fun while creating something completely unique to them
  • Many programs use materials parents have at home, meaning they can easily translate craft ideas to at-home art making
  • It gives kids a chance to be messy!

Multiple parents have told me that they would never let their kids paint at home because of the mess. They appreciate the chance to let their kids explore the art of mess making in an environment where they’re not responsible for cleanup.

For those of us who are responsible for the cleanup, I advise using dropcloths or some other kind of table cover. Limit the amount of supplies you put out at once. If using paint, I squirt a color or two onto a paper plate and refresh as needed. Inevitably, someone paints on the plate, but that’s part of the process, too! If we’re painting with watered down glue or liquid starch, I put a limited amount in a cup. I have been fortunate to have access to multi-purpose rooms with sinks, but if you don’t have access to a sink, try filling a basin with water and bringing it into the room. Wet wipes are also super helpful.

I’ve mostly done these programs with preschool aged children. Some examples of programs I’ve done for that age range are:

  • Bubble wrap art
  • Q-tip pointillism (painting with Q-tips)
  • Playdoh monsters
  • Coffee filters and watercolors
  • Paint and symmetry (what happens when we fold the paper while the paint is wet?)
  • Circle art (using different circle-shaped objects as stamps)
  • Bright colors on black paper
  • Water bottle stamps
  • Leaf art

If you’re hesitant to do an entire program around a process-based craft, it’s also quite easy to incorporate into something else. Planning a big event with several stations? Maybe put out a bunch of materials at one station and let kids go to town! Don’t really have a lot of time for a whole program? You can also incorporate process art into passive programs like make and take crafts.

Exploration and process-based learning are important for older kids, as well. I did a DIY Board Game program for families with kids of all ages. I was interested to see how the process might change as kids got older. I provided a list of questions to consider in case kids needed more guidance. Among other questions, it asked, “How many players?” “What is the goal?” “How do you win?” Some kids methodically answered every question. Others ignored it completely. Some had very involved sets of rules. Others focused on the design of their game board. It was really cool to see individual personalities come out in the process of board game design. One girl, with her arm in a cast, made a game called “Hospital” in which the goal was to get to the patient’s room first. Real life inspires art, perhaps?

Ideas for process art can be found all over the world wide web! Here are some of my favorite resources:

Do you have any favorite process-based crafts or programs you’ve done or recommend? I’d love to hear about them!

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

New Prop Songs and Rhymes

Well hello there, everyone! How is your summer going? If you’re like me then your eye is already on fall storytime planning. I thought I’d do a few posts highlighting the new videos we’ve released on YouTube over the past year.  Did you know we still upload new videos? We do! And now I will organize those videos into nice thematic posts for your storytime planning.

This week I’m sharing songs and rhymes you can use with props such as shakers, rhythm sticks, scarves, parachutes, etc.  These are some of our most requested videos.  Here are my new favourites with information on how I use each.

Shout out to anyone who has a super large storytime and can never use props because you don’t have enough of each for every kid! I got you. This song is perfect because you can pass out ALL the props you have and sing a verse for each type. Plus the tune is familiar and families join along pretty quickly. Just rotate the name of the prop for each verse.


Old Macdonald had a band, E I E I O
And in this band he had some shakers, E I E I O
With a shake, shake here and a shake, shake there
Here a shake, there a shake, everywhere a shake, shake
Old MacDonald had a band, E I E I O


A bonus two songs in one video!  Here are some options for how to pass out and collect props. With bigger groups, I just keep singing it over and over again until we’ve got them all. It can really help the little ones give back the prop. If you’ve got a kid who really doesn’t want to part with their prop, I avoid the drama and just get it from them after storytime.


It’s time to take a scarf
It’s time to take a scarf
It’s time to take a scarf today
It’s time to take a scarf

It’s time to put the scarves away,
scarves away, scarves away
It’s time to put the scarves away
Put them away for another day.


I love using this one with preschool and school-age kids. It’s challenging for them to tap at the right moment and when they do it’s rewarding. Tapping the sticks adds an extra awareness of rhythm.  A great way to add a twist to a classic tune.


There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o
B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O,
And Bingo was name-o
(replace letters with taps)


This is a simplified version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. It works best with school-age kids, though you could totally get preschoolers on board if you repeated it every week for an entire storytime session.  Sing it really slowly to start.  It’s great for kids to hear the same story in different formats. Pair this with a felt version or book version to reinforce the story elements.


Trip, trap, trip, trap – across the bridge they come
Trip, trap, trip, trap – crossing one by one

Trip, trap, trip, trap – baby takes a stroll
Trip, trap, trip, trap – over the sleeping troll

Trip, trap, trip, trap – louder taps I hear
Trip, trap, trip, trap – middle goat is near

Trip, trap, trip, trap – stomps the biggest goat
Trip, trap, trip, trap – troll goes in the moat!


My absolute new favourite rhythm sticks song! It’s fun, imaginative, and easy to learn. Perfect for even toddlers. If you only try one song on this list, make it this one.

Tick tock, tick tock goes the clock
Waiting for someone to knock, knock, knock
My oh my
It’s a cat! (hold sticks to face like whiskers)
Verses: bunny, duck, walrus, alien


We have some talented friends, ya’ll. This one was written by Brytani Fraser and then remixed by Emily Lloyd. We love them so much! Here’s us doing our version. Great for shakers and scarves.

Oh, the walrus washes his winter coat
down by the wavy ocean.
He adds some water and he adds some soap
and he waits…and he waits…and he waits.

Then the laundry shakes, shakes, shakes
The laundry shakes and shakes and shakes
The laundry shakes, shakes, shakes until it’s clean.
The laundry shakes, shakes, shakes
The laundry shakes and shakes and shakes
The laundry shakes, shakes, shakes
until it’s clean.

Verses: The laundry spins, spins, spins


This song wins the award for most versatile. You can do it with scarves or shakers – try throwing the scarves in the air and asking the kids what colour popcorn they made. You could also do it as a lap bounce for babies and end with a lift. Or you could do it with the parachute! Crumple up some paper and throw it on top to make “popcorn.”

Pop, pop, pop
Put the corn in the pot
Pop, pop, pop
Shake it ’til it’s hot
Pop, pop, pop
Lift the lid and what have you got?

That’s what I’ve been digging lately. How about you?  Let me know your recent favourite songs and rhymes to use with props in the comments.

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

We’ll Link to That: Summer 2017

Guess what’s here? It’s the Summer 2017 issue of the YAACS newsletter! YAACS is the Young Adult and Children’s Services arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  Each quarter we write about something different in our column We’ll Link to That! Catch up on old posts by browsing our Professional Development page. This quarter we decided to share some new-to-us youth services blogs you should add to your RSS immediately.  Read on!


It’s been two years since we shared some new and new-to-us blogs focused on youth services. We’re always on the lookout for fresh content we can add to our blogroll and share with others. Here are some of our favourite new blog finds that we highly recommend adding to your RSS feeds!

  1. Everyday Diversity:  This blog, written by Anna from Future Librarian Superhero, has storytime picture book reviews featuring racially diverse characters in modern, every day situations. It’s a great way to learn about new books to feature in storytime – she even includes theme ideas!

  2. Storytime Station: If you do toddler storytimes, this is a can’t miss! Find toddler storytime plans and be amazed at the way the extension activities bring the stories to life. We especially loved the Kid-Friendly Storytime Car Wash.

  3. Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime: Mr. Keith shares his brilliant and intricate Kawaii style felt stories. He also shares early literacy display ideas and songs that are sure to get a chuckle from the caregivers.

  4. Tales for the Tiny: Julie did an amazing Flannel Friday guest post on our blog, so we were thrilled when she decided to start a blog of her own! Her innovative and creative ideas have given us so much inspiration. Check out her Mini Masters of Library Science Program and Hula Hoop for babytime to get started.

  5. RadicaLibrarian: Katelyn digs through all the news, research, and updates so you don’t have to! She has a monthly round-up of articles related to children’s librarianship called Youth News that is a goldmine of information.

  6. Storytime Ukulele: We have the unique pleasure of working with April, the blogger and uke-enthusiast behind Storytime Ukulele and now you do too! Her blog fills a major gap for all those uke-strumming library folks out there and we love how she arranges songs by tune and often includes her own beautiful felts.

  7. Ontarian Librarian: Where to begin with this blog? Karissa is a fellow Canadian and shares programs for kids, teens and new adults. Her posts are full of gorgeous pictures, robust resources, and instructions. She’s committed to sharing ideas, has a maple leaf in her header image, and loves E.E.Cummings. Where shall we address the fanmail, Karissa?!

  8. Lightsome Librarian: Allison transitioned from a storytime librarian into school-age librarian and couldn’t help but notice the blogosphere for school aged programs and services is not as developed as it is for the younger crowd. She has set out to change this! Check out her awesome list of resources, themed school-age programs and special events.

  9. K Librarian: Kathia or the K Librarian has created a site rich with resources which would be helpful for new library staff or for seasoned practitioners looking for a new craft or book to share. Bonus: she has several videos of songs and rhymes in Spanish!

  10. Lady Librarian’s Literacy, Lifestyle and Lookbook Log: We love alliteration and this blog certainly delivers! Heather is a new children’s librarian and she’s got lots of great themed storytime ideas, with several books to choose from. Also, her felts are to die for! We love her version of Little Mouse, which you can find here.

Have you discovered any blogs or websites that are particularly helpful to children and teen librarians? Shoot us an email at and let us know!

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Guest Post: Celebrating Día with Puppet Theatre

Remember when I put a call out for guest posts? Well, I’m so excited to share the first one we received! This post is all about how one library makes a special effort to celebrate Día. The post is written by Kelly Doolittle. Kelly is a Library Assistant in the Youth Services department at the Tompkins County Library. She started out working as a page in 2001, graduated to a circulation clerk, and then technical services, and when the job post for Library Assistant in Youth Services opened up, she went for it! Thankfully, she also got hired! She’s been working with children and their families since 2009 and loving it.

Take it away, Kelly!


For the past few years I have been participating in the celebration of Día during our special end of session library storytimes. We’ve received so many heartfelt thanks and positive reviews from patrons that I thought it might be fun to share some ideas and outlines with other storytimers! They are interesting to put together, and collaborating with colleagues and volunteers in the community is such a wonderful aspect of doing Día storytimes as well!

While we try to incorporate multiculturalism into our regular storytimes as much as we can, there’s something so special and fun about creating storytimes that are all about celebrating diversity through books with children! When you throw in songs, movements, (and especially puppets!) these storytimes really come alive.  Many years ago, we bought a mobile puppet theater. It was one of the best purchases we could have made! The first puppet show we ever did was staged in honor of the donor. It was called The Barking Mouse, which is a fabulous option for Día as it is based on an old Cuban folktale.

I use very few scripts. I usually find books that can be easily transformed into puppet shows. When we’ve purchased puppets through Folkmanis, they often come with a brief folktale attached, and I have used those as starting points
successfully, as well. Often times, I will narrate the story myself, freeing the puppeteers up for focusing on their hands, but there are stories that beg for the puppets to speak (or bark or baa or cockadoodledoo….) such as Everywhere the
Cow Says “Moo!” by Ellen Weinstein.  Here is my list of favorite book-to-puppet theater books.

Here is an example of my latest favorite book-to-puppet theater book:  Catch that Goat! By Polly Alakija

Hornbook Guide Review:  “Ayoka chases her runaway goat through a crowded, colorful African marketplace.
She questions many merchants; none has seen the pesky fugitive, but it has stolen something from each one. Readers
can count down the pilfered items from ten to one as they follow the goat’s trail. Like the text, the illustrations encourage page-turning; the goat can often be spotted disappearing off the right-hand page.”

For this book/play, I used our goat puppet and made/stole/commissioned all kinds of props from our play area, our Youth Services closet, and a coworker’s kids’ toy collection. I narrated and showed the book so they could see the
great illustrations of the Nigerian characters and the wonderful market place. As I was reading each two-page spread, behind the theater a colleague attached the missing market item/prop to the goat puppet being wielded by our awesome volunteer, which was then pranced across the stage and off again until the next two-page spread on which the next missing item was realized. By the end of the book, the goat was covered with all the missing items. Plus the audience got a tour of a Nigerian market place through Alakija’s colorful illustrations!

For Catch That Goat order of accessories click here.

My colleague and I had so much fun with this one!! That is half the fun, dreaming up props that will make these books work with puppets and our little theater.

One year for our Día storytime, after reading and singing Today is Monday in Louisiana by Johnette Downing, I decided to highlight some of our own local culture. Ithaca has a huge vegetarian contingency.  Ever read Today is Monday in Lousiana? It’s chock full of meat dishes! So I created a vegetarian menu which I put up on a white board and set right in front of the stage. As we were all singing the words, we had puppets holding up signs with
cartoons of the food types on them. It’s hard to describe here, but it was adorable & the locals LOVED it.

The basic, rough outline for these programs is as follows, taking about a half hour for completion of the stories/theater/movements & songs:

  • Traditional Storytime Opening Song
  • Book/Super simple puppet piece
  • Puppet Theater (shorter—like a folktale)
  • Book with audience participation
  • Magnet board/Felt board
  • Book w/Puppet Theater
  • Fingerplay/Song
  • Special book w/Puppet Theater
  • Closing Song
  • Craft and Snacks

Here is a sample outline from our last Día celebration storytime in April 2017.

I hope this post helps to generate some new and fun ideas for Día storytimes! I’d also love to read about your own Día celebrations! Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments. Here’s to celebrating Día together next year! For our latest Día storytimes, please check out our blog.

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Library Display Calendar

In January I started working at a new library.  One of the best things about this branch is the amount of display space I have for highlighting our children’s collection.  But this also means I’ve been spending a lot of time whipping up posters and scouring the internet for display ideas.  To get myself more organized I finally sat down and created a calendar filled with a year’s worth of display ideas.

This calendar reflects both my city (Vancouver) and my country (Canada), so not all the ideas will be applicable to everyone. With that said, sometimes I’m lenient on the “National” marker and included some U.S. special days.  I also only listed ideas if I think I have enough material in my collection to fill (and refill) a display that will last at least a week. So unfortunately things like National Donut Day didn’t make the cut.  Lastly, I didn’t include generic displays that can be put up anytime of the year.

I’d love to hear your display secrets!  Did I miss any ideas your community loves?  Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.


  • National Hobby Month
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • National Science Fiction Day (January 2)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday: social justice books (January 15)
  • Lunar New Year (end of January/early February)


  • Black History Month (U.S.)
  • Tu B’Shevat/Celebration of Trees (February 11)
  • Valentine’s Day/Blind Date with a Book (February 14)
  • Pink Shirt Day: anti-bullying and books with pink covers (February 22)
  • Freedom to Read Week (February 26)
  • Oscars: movies and actor biographies (end of February)


  • National Craft Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Monstrous March
  • March Madness (sports books)
  • Dr. Seuess’s Birthday (March 2)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • St. Patrick’s Day/Read Green (March 17)
  • Spring Reads/Spring into a Good Book (March 21)


  • National Poetry Month
  • National Humour Month (joke and riddle books)
  • Artsy April
  • Math Awareness Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Passover (varies)
  • Easter (varies)
  • Earth Day (April 22)


  • Asian Heritage Month
  • Middle Grade May
  • National Bike Month
  • May-nia (fill in with any alliterative title, such as Music May-nia)
  • Star Wars Day (May 4)
  • Mental Health Week (first week of May)
  • Vancouver Bird Week (2nd week of May)
  • Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May)
  • International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17)
  • Ramadan (varies)


  • Aboriginal History Month
  • Gay Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • National Garden Week (1st week of June)
  • Summer Reading Club Launch (mid-June)
  • World Refugee Day (June 20)
  • Father’s Day (3rd Sunday)
  • Summer Solstice (June 20)
  • National Aboriginal Day (June 21)


  • Summer Reads
  • Canada Day/Canadian Reads  (July 1)


  • Family Fun Month
  • Vancouver Pride Parade  (August 6)
  • International Cat Day (August 8)
  • Book Lovers’ Day (August 9)
  • Summer Olympics  (every 4 years)


  • Classical Music Month
  • SeptZenber: relaxing reads
  • Back to School (September 4)
  • International Literacy Day (September 8)
  • Grandparents Day (2nd Sunday)
  • Dot Day: books with dots/spots; art and drawing books (September 15)
  • Science Literacy Week  (September 19)
  • Fall into Reading (September 21)
  • Rosh Hashanah (varies)


  • Women’s History Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • Star Wars Reads
  • Thanksgiving (October 9)
  • Halloween (October 31)


  • Picture Book Month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Dino-vember
  • Remembrance Day (November 11)


  • Human Rights Month
  • Hanukkah (varies)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26)
Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

May the 4th Be With You 2017: Star Wars Library Program

Last year I wrote about the Star Wars Day program I held on May the 4th.  It’s been such a popular post that I thought I’d share some new activities I tried this year.   But first I’d like to give a shout out to the the youth services community on Twitter.  You all rock my world and give me so many ideas when my brain is tired and Google is either overwhelming or not cutting it.  This one’s for you.

My program last year was craft heavy.  This year I’m at a new branch with a big meeting room. Plenty of space to move around. So I incorporated some activities that make good use of the space.  Here’s what we got up to:

Star Wars Name Generator


I kept this activity from last year. This year though I did have name tags they could wear around too!

Fighter Pilot Training

My friend Kim who blogs at Literary Commentary shared this idea with me.  It was so easy and so fun! Get a hula hoop, cover it with silver wrapping, cut out a hole in the corner, then decorate it to look like the death star.  I used sharpies and paint. Hang the death star using a piece of string and have kids try to fly paper airplanes through the hole.  I put lines on the floor using tape with an easy, medium, and difficult distance away from the death star.

Star Wars Bookmarks

A Portuguese kid on YouTube taught me how to make these. I love the internet. You can watch his video here. In the description box below the video there is a link to the templates for each of these characters: Chewbacca, Yoda, Princess Leia, and Kylo Ren. You start with a super simple base.  The kids were able to pick this up quick. Then colour the other pieces and glue them on.  For this activity you will need the templates, scissors, coloured pencils, and glue sticks.  I also had some green paper for kids to make Origami Yodas.

Lightsaber Battle

Anyone else have to program on a tight budget?  I would have loved to send every kid home with their own pool noodle lightsaber, but I can’t with the money I’ve got. This idea came from the brilliant Karissa who blogs at Ontarian Librarian.  I bought two pool noodles, cut them in half and created four lightsabers using duct tape and black sharpies.  In the meeting room I made two large circles with masking tape. In one circle, two kids a time faced off to see how many bubbles they can pop using the lightsabers. You can have another kid blowing the bubbles or use a bubble machine if you already have one. Have a big group? Assign some kids to be bubble counters as the duelers pop them. In the other circle each kid picked a balloon. On the count of three I threw their balloons in the air and they had to try to knock their opponent’s balloon out of the circle using their lightsaber. You can do multiple rounds for this one.

Design a Jedi Ship

Put up a sign. Put out some LEGO. Have kids show off their creations at the end of the program. Easy peasy. Shout out to Kary who shared this idea with me!

Star Wars Scavenger Hunt

In the children’s area I also put out the scavenger hunt I used last year.  You can find the printable template in my other post. I kept this out all week next to our May the 4th Be With You book display to promote the program.

Other ideas I didn’t do but am saving for next year are a Stormtrooper egg relay race (just Google it), a Force experiment, and a Jedi Mind test (put a bunch of objects out, have kids try to memorize them, cover them up, and see which ones they remember).

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone!

Share: Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest