Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPIB: Pageturners! Save my spot!

True confessions of a bad librarian: I never have a bookmark handy.  That’s right, I am one of those people who puts a book down on the stand open to the page I left at.  Apparently that is hard on the spine.  Um, at least I don’t do the dog ear thing . . . right?  But there are a lot of great ways you can make bookmarks and it would make a great tween/teen program.  Do this as a stand alone program with a lot of bookmark options or as part of a book discussion group.  This will help protect those book discussion group books from people like me!
Book Thongs 

Using a variety of beads and thin hemp cord, you can can create book thongs.  Simply put beads on each end of the cord.  Tie off each end so the beads don’t slide off or up and down the length of the cord.  You can watch the YouTube video for directions.  Or here are written instructions.

This is a great craft to do as a bookmark program or as part of a beading program.  Flat ribbon or skinny waxed cord works best.

Monster Bookmark Corners

These are super cute.  And a great way to hold your page.  You could do a bunch of variations on this, too:  Zombify them.  Make robots.

This is a great way to use leftover paper from the craft closet.  I would offer a variety of scrapbooking papers in a wide variety of designs and colors.  Also, buy a couple of different size circle punches to make the eyes and a triangle paper punch for the teeth.  Instructions
Paint Strip Bookmarks 
Ask your local department store for paint example strips.  The genius of the paint strip is that they are already pre-cut to the perfect size and shape.  No cutting paper for you – yeah! You can do a variety of things with these. You can stamp on them (as seen to the right).  But you don’t have to stop there: you can decoupage them, cover them with words or word stickers, and so much more.  Then, punch a hole, add a grommet and some string.  Easy yet a way to promote creativity and self expression.

Paper Clip Bookmarks 

Buy large size
paperclips and a wide variety of foam shapes and stickers.  You can also use a variety of scrapbooking supplies for this project.  You want to use something strong and sturdy for the top so regular paper won’t do.  At a minimum, you can put stickers or decorations on thin pieces of cardboard and glue.  This is a great way to re-use old cereal boxes and turn it into a recycled craft.  You could also have teens make Fimo beads using clay to put at the top.  Or decoupage old Scrabble tiles and glue them on.  Again, the creativity is limitless on this.
Let Teens be the Stars – and the Designers 
Using a digital camera, some software editing tools and a printer – teens can be the star of their own bookmarks.

You can give teens free reign or fun challenges:
All your pictures have to involve nature;
Can you spell out the word READ?;
Highlight your favorite genre or title;
Involve 3 of your friends
You can do this as a series of programs or a one-time event.  Be sure to schedule enough time to take pictures, work with the photo editing software and print.  Or you could do it as an online contest.  Either way, make sure you get digital copies of the bookmarks to save for future use and to share electronically.
Be sure and print the actual bookmarks on a thicker card stock.  Once you print the final bookmarks you will have to cut them to size.  You can leave them as is or again make grommet holes and add string.  Laminate if you have the tools and the desire.  This is also a great way to get bookmarks to share in your library at a less expensive cost.  And teens love to see the stuff they create around the library.
These bookmarks were made using an iPhone and the apps: Hipstamatic, Wordfoto, and Photoshake.  Be sure to check out my previous post on iPhone apps for some great ways to make these bookmarks.
Photo Booth Bookmarks
Also, you can take a series of quick photos and make photo booth looking bookmarks.  Just upload the pictures and place them in your photo editing software and create a border.  There is, of course, a great iPhone app that will do this automatically: Mobile Photo Booth.  This would be a great drop in activity in your teen area.  Designate a time for teens to come in and visit your “photo booth”.  If you can, have some fun paper sheet contests and a prize drawing box set up in the teen area at the same time.  Have teens do their 4 poses in your “photo booth” alone or with friends.  You can print them there or have teens come in at a later time to pick them up.  For Halloween you can have teens come in their costumes or have a variety of thrift store items available and challenge them to come up with a creative costume on the spot for the pictures.  Take pictures of them holding their favorite book!  Don’t limit yourself, this is a great opportunity for creativity.
And just a few more bookmark ideas . . .


  1. Love these ideas! Especially the photobooth bookmarks!

  2. I have a date open early January and I need a program to fill it. I think it'll be this one.

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