Passive Program in a Post: Learn Basic Braille

A new after-school feature at my library is our maker-cart which has fun and engaging activities that rotate every week. This has been an experimental project and some activities are a hit, while others are a miss. The Braille maker cart was definitely a hit! Supplies: A large poster with the letters of the alphabet in Braille Small stickers Colored bookmarks that kids can decorate with their names in Braille Informational Books about Louis Braille and Braille Braille books or other texts Instructions: We advertised this as an educational way to learn about Braille and how to create a bookmark with their own name in Braille. Kids used the giant Braille alphabet as a guide to the letters of the alphabet. They then would place stickers on the bookmark to outline their own names. It was helpful to have six empty dots as a template when kids were creating their…

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…

Passive programming and early literacy: designing creative spaces for young learners

Here at our branch library in Denver, Colorado, we’re always looking for ways to support the new families with very young children who move into the neighborhood. We offer four literacy-based storytimes each week, as well as plenty of programs for children of all ages during  the summer months. Although we offer a nice range of activities for children and their caregivers, we felt that something was missing…and that we could do something more to round out our early literacy efforts. A nearby branch offered a drop-in playtime for children, and we thought this was a great way to make use of our space and to complement our storytimes. The catch? We wanted to try something that would involve a bit less formal oversight, since we juggle many other tasks throughout the day, such as staffing a busy circulation desk, overseeing volunteers, and staying current on Reader’s Advisory trends. Passive…

Passive Programs for School Age Kids

Passive programs are a great way to engage kids, whether they’re hanging out after school, coming in on a school-free day, or are just looking for something to do! They often require minimal effort to prepare and get off the ground, but are then good for hours of fun and engagement. If you’re looking to add school age passive programs to your library’s offerings, want to freshen things up, or just try something new, take a look at some of these great options! Make copies of a book cover, laminate, cut into puzzle pieces, and set them out (above)! Put “postcards” out on a table and encourage kids to write a postcard to their favorite author or book character, like in The Show Me Librarian’s blog post. Bonus fun if you can find a place to display them in the library! Take a look at this collection of passive program ideas from Jbrary….

Passive Programming in Practice

Earlier this year my colleagues and I decided to boldly step into the world of passive programming in order to serve our busy patrons. Passive programming encompasses a variety of types of programs that allow patrons to participate with minimal to no staff direction. Often they allow for varying amounts of patron involvement and/or time commitment. On the spectrum of passive programming you can have something as simple as a jigsaw left out on a table for communal puzzling or as complex as a forensic science program with clues, activity stations, and prizes for participants who figure out the culprit. We’ve found that passive programming not only increases participation, but also caregiver-child interaction and exploration. Thinking of trying passive programming? Here are some of the pros: Less staffing at the time of the program. Flexible length (a day/week/month) allows you to serve a large number of patrons Easy to save,…

Passive Programming in a School Library

  One of the things that I miss the most about working in the public library is the programming.  I know, I know…when I was in the public libraries, programming could be overwhelming as I worked in large branches with loads of kids.  I took to twitter to muse about missing crafting, and got some suggestions from my PLN that morphed into our “Maker Mondays”. For a variety of reasons, I decided to make this pretty much a passive program. Because of our active after school program, I decided to make it happen before school when there are usually quite a few kids hanging out.  Since I like crafting so much, that is the genesis of the idea of “making”. I have chosen basic crafts to start (thank you pinterest!).  Our first week, we simply cut out paper snowflakes and wrote some hopes and wishes for the New Year on them to…

Passive Programs for Tweens

The library I work in is on a very busy side of town. Our tweens tend to become very involved in after school activities and homework during the school year. While they still use the library, they tend to be here for tutoring, homework help, or just running in quickly to grab a book. Sometimes our programming for tweens can be hit or miss. But one thing that has become a popular hit with our school age group are passive programs. We put out passive programs several times a year and these are great for tweens on the go who only have a few minutes to spend with a program. A few of our recent ideas: I SPY HOUSE This has become a holiday tradition for both Halloween and Christmas. Many years ago the library received a Madeline dollhouse that my staff transform into a large I Spy House. The interior…