Teen Librarian Toolbox
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In a galaxy not so far away: Star Wars Reads Day (TPIB: Space)

In a galaxy not so far away . . .

“The Force is strong with this one.” 
– Darth Vader, Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope

The Force is coming strongly to libraries across the country on October 6- StarWars Reads Day is being held nationwide in conjunction with Lucasfilms and its publishing partners (Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, DK Publishing, Random House Audio, Scholastic, Titan Magazines and Workman).  While registration is closed for libraries that want to be labeled an “official site,” you can still join in the celebration of all things Jedi and Sith.

Get practicing on your origami by creating Origami Yoda, Darth Paper, or the new Fortune Wookie from the books of Tom Angleberger.  Or simplify the designs by breaking them down to their basic shapes (triangles, rectangles, etc.) and pasting them onto popsicle sticks for book marks or puppets.
If you have good support from your patrons, ask them to bring in their paper towel rolls, and use them to create small light sabers from construction paper or colored copy paper.  If you have the money, you could even create light sabers from pool noodles, and then have a light saber battle afterwards!  If you have the budget for it, pool noodles would also make for some safe but fun “light saber” jousting.  My branch manager also assures me that you can make lightsabers out of long tubes of bubbles found at places like Wal-Mart.

You can create mini galaxies by upcycling (don’t you just love that word?) baby food jars.  All you need is an empty (and clean) baby food jar, water, glycerin, glitter and whatever other little doodads you want to place inside (like colored aquarium rocks).  You can get complete instructions at Inhabitots.  I have done this craft with teens and they loved it.

You can also use a variety of recycled cans, computer parts, etc. – whatever you can find – and have older participants make robots.

If you want to get really creative, have a collection of flat rocks, and have your participants paint their favorite characters.  Then, after they’re dry, have them judged by “experts” for small prizes.
Visit the Official Star Wars Reads Day FAQ for complete information
You can download the full color activity pack at the Star Wars Reads Day site
If you have a Lego club, or access to Legos, this is a perfect program to bring them out and let the creativity flow.  Print out pictures of the different ships throughout the series, and let them create off those images, or create new ships that would fit within the series.  Take pictures of their designs and post them online.
Track down one of the Star Wars themed board games and have a tournament.  There’s Monopoly, chess, Risk, Stragego, Guess Who?, and many others…
If you have the equipment, have a video game free play station.  Lego Star Wars is good for all ages and is available on Wii and PS2 (and compatible with PS3).  Star Wars:  The Clone Wars Lightsaber Duels has actual light saber duels.  And in Soul Caliber IV, for a small fee you can download Yoda, Darth Vader and Starkiller for both PS3 and Xbox 360 and have a Jedi/Sith tournament.
If you’re really adventurous, set up an indoor (or outdoor) obstacle course and hold your own Jedi training academy for new recruits.  End with a medaling graduation ceremony and play the music from the Throne Room scene.
No library programming is complete without books, and SWRD is no exception.  What books do you plan on sharing with your patrons on October 6?  Share in the comments!

Last Stop: The Cantina!
Don’t forget to bust out the techno music and have your teens do their favorite robot dancing.  Take a page out of the popular Comic Con and do some cosplay (costume play) and ask teens to come in their best Star Wars costume, with points for creativity.  You can even get some dry ice and have some amazing drinks to serve.

When thinking Star Wars, remember it doesn’t have to come directly off the silver screen.  Anything space, aliens, robots and technology would apply.  This is a great way to use popular culture to get teens thinking creatively, thinking tech, and turn your library into a place that is out of this world!

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