Teen Librarian Toolbox
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TPiB: Self Directed and Free Range Program Ideas

Not all teen programming has to be a come to the library at this time and place and do this activity type of an event. Sometimes, we can put together programming where teens participate in their own time. Many libraries call this “passive programming”, but thanks to the brilliance of someone at a webinar I once attended (and I’m sorry I don’t know who you are), I have transitioned from calling them passive programs to “self-directed programs.” And my co-author and co-blogger Heather Booth refers to them at times as Free Range Programs. (See The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services pages 84-85). The benefit is that these types of programs can last for a longer period of time, and without the strict time constraints you can sometimes get not only more, but different participation because it makes it easier for your over-scheduled teens to participate since they can do so in a bigger time window.

So here are some Self Directed and Free Range Program Ideas

1. #3wordbooktalk

The #3wordbooktalk is easy, fun, and it allows you to tap into social media. I came up with this idea at a teen book festival after Victoria Scott described her books using only 3 words. It’s such a challenge, but a fun one. You can find out more about this here and here. We’re actually getting ready to do this as our Teen Read Week activity and I’m super excited.

2. 6 Second Booktalk

A Vine video is exactly 6 seconds. Can you record a 6 second booktalk? As an example, here’s Megan Bannen sharing a 6 second booktalk for We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (be warned, there be spoilers!) : http://elockhartbooks.tumblr.com/post/93306712319/6-second-book-talk-for-we-were-liars-by-e

Using Vine to do a 6 second booktalk gets teens thinking creativity, using tech, and, again, it taps into current social media trends.

3. Scratch Off Tickets

My co-worker found this fun idea and we are using it to hand out prizes for Teen Read Week. It’s like creating a lottery ticket, but instead of money we are taking an inventory of all our left over prizes from previous events and teens will get what they get in this really fun way.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0xDwDYC4Hw]

4. Book Jar

Don’t know what book to read next? Stick your hand in the book jar and see what title is recommended by the luck of the draw. Heather has mentioned this one before, but it’s a fun one. Rincey Reads has a DIY tutorial on YouTube.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9aoWP9hcxo]

5. Book Speed Dating

Way back in 2012 Stephanie Wilkes shared her book speed dating program with us. You can revisit it here. And here’s a look at the form she put together that you can use as a model to make your own. Have fun with it!

And now it’s your turn! Share your favorite self-directed and free range programming ideas in the comments. I’m looking for my next fun program.


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