Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: 5 Virtual Programs You Can Do Right Now, by Cindy Shutts

In the midst of this pandemic, a majority of our public libraries are closed to help flatten the curve and keep our patrons and our staff safe. A lot of libraries now find themselves trying to figure out how to provide teen programming when our buildings are closed and being in groups is unsafe. That means a lot of libraries are pivoting to online and virtual programming. Today, librarian Cindy Shutts rounds up 5 virtual programming ideas that you can do right now.

Virtual Escape Rooms

Virtual Escape Rooms are super popular with libraries right now. You can take the idea of an Escape Room and create an online version that lets your teens figure out if they would survive – or escape – at home, on their own time and at their own pace.

Here are links to a few of my favorites:

The Minotaur’s Labyrinth Escape Room by Karen Liu (Salt Lake County), a Teen Librarian at The County Library’s Riverton Branch.


Hogwarts Digital Escape Room created by Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA.


The Morristown and Morris Township Library made an awesome digital escape room about The Six of Crows.


Digital Art Show

The Plainfield Public  Library is running a digital art show on their instagram and it’s super cool. You can check out their instagram https://www.instagram.com/plainfieldteens/.

This is a great opportunity to share those digital media tips, tricks, app reviews and more with your teens.

Variouos TLT posts about digital media apps

Volunteering Online

Some teens are still required to do volunteer hours so we at the White Oak Library District,  have given them the option to write reviews for our library blog for hours or for them to create their recipes online via Students Rebuild: Hunger Challenge. We borrowed this from the Homer Township Library. Here is a link to their page https://homerlibrary.org/volunteer .

Eye Spy in windows and virtually

Homewood Public Library made a window eye spy so that if a patron is going for a walk past their building can look for the hidden items in the window. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=library%20eye%20spy&epa=SEARCH_BOX

This can be done virtually also but making your own eye spy in your house and taking a picture. I am planning to create an Eye Spy for my mom in one of our bookshelves at home.

Midlothian invites residents to play virtual Eye Spy

Virtual Booktalks

I am working on this right now at my library. My fellow teen librarians and I all picked books that were available for downloads on Libby. Anderson’s bookstore in Naperville  is doing this also.


Some librarians are still uncomfortable putting themselves out there on social media, and that’s okay. You can create booktalks using stop motion movies, for example. Not all virtual booktalking has to be you standing in front of a camera.

Have an idea to share? We’d love to hear what you’re doing in the comments.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS


Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.


  1. Thanks for the programming ideas!

  2. Sharing fun “Today in History” events and monthly and daily trivia, like “National Humor Month,” and “National Draw a Picture of a Bird Day,” is normal during library visits at my middle school. In trying to keep things normal and stay connected with the kids, I have posted daily videos sharing trivia and curated e-books and videos from our collection that celebrate the events. In each short video, I include a book talk, a book trailer, or a video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDFBGX0fBDg&t=24s

  3. I’ve been doing pre recorded videos for online booktalks. Here’s one: https://www.facebook.com/127004343976899/posts/3419572754720025/?vh=e&d=n

  4. Michelle Ehrich says

    Our teens took advantage of the fact that pets always find their way into Zoom sessions. We scheduled a time for “Cat Chat (Not exclusive to cats!)” event on Zoom. Teens were encouraged to introduce their pets, tell stories about them, and show any tricks they could do. Teens without pets were invited to participate in an allergy-free pet interaction. This type of event couldn’t be done in person, and it allowed the teens to have a peek into another part of each other’s lives.

Speak Your Mind