Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Star Wars Reads Day 2015 at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County


The Children’s Librarian and I do a little cosplay for our event.

Saturday October 10th was Star Wars Reads Day – one of my favorite holidays of the year! Why? Well for one, I got to dress up like Princess Leia. Of all the princesses I think she is my favorite because she saved Han Solo and Luke Skywalker just as much as they saved her. Never forget that one of her best quotes ever is this: Someone has to save our skins! She then proceeds to do exactly that.

Star Wars Reads Day is also one of my favorite days because it’s really easy to program for. We had a fantastic day at The Public Library of Mt. Vernon and Knox County with a variety of activities for our tweens and teens, many of which we found of course on the high holy programming deity: Pinterest.

We made light sabers out of pool noodles and duct tape. This turned out to be very easy and very popular.


A staff member painted a white trash can to look like R2D2 and we did a bean bag toss. It should be noted that the staff member in question is not me, I could not do this. Look at how fabulous this looks!


We of course made Fortune Cookie Wookiees because how could you not!


Because we have a large number of Legos available for our programming, I put together a variety of Lego challenges for our tweens and teens to do. They were supposed to do various activities in 5 minute challenges, but in the end it turned out they really just wanted to build and play so that’s what I let them do. I have learned over the years that it is important to listen to your audience and be adaptable. Even though they did a free build, many of the participants still ended up building space ships and incorporating Star Wars Lego Minifigures that we bought for our event.




I also created a station that involved using my new favorite thing: The Button Maker! We wanted to do Star Wars Thumb Print Doodles (there is a Klutz book), but I thought we would take it a step further and make buttons out of the doodles. This too proved to be a very popular activity.



I also downloaded some free Star Wars silhouettes from SilhouettesFree.com and combined it with my second new love, the Fused app, to create these cool Star Wars buttons.


The librarians were not the only ones to cosplay, we had several of our kids come in costume or bring fun props.



To be honest, the highlight of the day for the kids was probably when this young lady below walked in and I proclaimed, “Oh my gosh you have great buns!” I totally should have known better after working with tweens and teens for so many years, but I had some genuine bun envy because I don’t have enough hair to do legit Princess Leia buns. Needless to say, there was a lot of snickering.


And because it was Star Wars READS Day, we made sure and had plenty of new Star Wars books on hand for our tweens and teens to check out, and R2D2 was there to lead the way.


It was a great Star Wars Reads Day. Until net year, remember: Read More, You Must!

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!