Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Fortnite Party, by Cindy Shutts


Like most teen librarians, my teens are obsessed with Fortnite. This popular video game downloads for free and is playable in different seasons, where they will play through different storylines and new player skins become available. One of the most popular parts of Fortnite is the dancing that different skins do. I have tweens and teens dancing around all day. I thought this could be a successful program for teens and tweens. I have done different fandom parties in the past for Divergent, Hunger Games, and British royals so I knew I could do this successfully.


Trivia: The first part was I made a Jeopardy style PowerPoint using a format another librarian had already made.  My categories were modes, dances, character/skin, game development and seasons. In this part, I made a couple mistakes. I used information I got from an article that was incorrect for the season questions. My tweens gently corrected me. I listened to them because I know they are usually right if they correct me. If you want to use trivia, double-check your answers!

Jeopardy Power Point Template

Dance off: The dance off was super fun. I played the music from the Fortnite dances and the teen who got all the dances right won a small gift card from GameStop.

Craft/snack:  We had blue Gatorade as the drink, because in the game they drink a slurp juice. I also had a food craft where they cover up Rice Crispy treats with a red fruit roll up and put a cross with white frosting to be medic bandages.


DIY Fortnite Crafts & Party Ideas – Red Ted Art’s Blog


The Game: Here is where things got rough. We have a PlayStation 4 and I have downloaded Fortnite on it.  I had planned to play a mini tournament. I turned on the PlayStation 4 and it needed an update and it would not let me update. Even my tech savvy teens could not figure out what was wrong. I looked at the teens and said move the tables and shut the door. You get to play live action Fortnite. I told them no running so they would not get hurt. They got it right away. They used their creativity to make what could have been a failure into a success.

Result: I am so proud of my teens they made this event work even though I had some difficulties. We had such happy kids. We even had kids ask if we can do this again. I will be happy to do it again, but plan to make sure that PlayStation 4 is really working. Or even just prepare to play a live action version with one of the teens ahead of time. The teens made this program special!

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.

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Can You Copyright a Dance Move? A discussion of Fortnite

thingsineverlearnedinlibraryschoolAs someone who works with teens, Fortnite has been on my radar for a while. Last week, Thing 2, who is almost 10, started trying to teach me all of the Fortnite dances so we looked up some YouTube videos for the first time to really look at them. The YouTube video I found showed each Fortnite dance and where in popular culture the dance came from. Epic Games has created a game that includes dance moves that you can trace back to particular people, TV shows, or moments in popular culture. One of the most popular parts of this game was not created by them, but is really just an archive of fun and popular dance moves. Which begs the question: what type of responsibility do the creators of Fortnite have to give proper credit and monetary compensation to the creators of those dances?

fortniteEvery Fortnite Dance and Where it Comes from

It was interesting to me that just a few days later, an article appeared on Forbes asking whether or not you can copyright a dance and if Fortnite should credit the creators of the dances. As a librarian, it was a question I had asked myself while watching the YouTube video. It is a question that a lot of people are asking, and as a librarian, I think it’s an important question for us to pay attention to.

Fortnite Profiting Off Dance Moves: Is It Legal? – Forbes

Fortnite’s use of viral hip-hop dance moves has some artists grumbling

And yet I know that we frequently do dances or the names of dances appear in songs with no such attribution. You can do the mashed potato, you can do the twist . . . but do you know where those dances came from? Who started them? What about twerking? I am a librarian, but I am not a copyright librarian or lawyer, and the discussion of copyrighting dance moves is a new and interesting concept to me.

Who Owns a Dance? The Complexities of Copyrighting Choreography

The world of dance is a world that has always fascinated me personally. I took dance lessons up until the time I graduated high school and I continue to love and support dance. I have seen every season of So You Think You Can Dance (Darius was robbed this past season) and I am also really enjoying the new World of Dance (have you seen Michael Dameski?). And yet, I have never thought about or seen the idea of copyrighting dance moves or choreography discussed. But it does make sense. Every year So You Think You Can Dance talks about their Emmy winning dance routines from previous seasons. And yet every dance contains a variety of moves that are just the basic moves of dance, whether it be a pirouette or the robot. New choreography always contains some of the very basics of dance combines with some new ideas. It’s how you put those traditional moves together in new and exciting ways that matter.

To make the Fortnite situation even more complicated, the discussion is also a discussion about cultural appropriation. You see, most of the dances that appear in Fortnite can be traced back to a variety of black artists or characters, like rappers Snoop Dogg and 2 Milly and characters from shows like Scrubs and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Chance the Rapper in particular has spoken out about Fortnite and the issue of cultural appropriation.

Is ‘Fortnite’ Appropriating Black Culture? – LADbible

‘Fortnite’s’ continued appropriation of culture and lack of diversity

A huge part of teen librarianship is simply talking to teens about the things that they like, and Fortnite is definitely one of those current things. I’m glad that I have this information so I can help prompt my teens to think about the issues of copyright and cultural appropriation. I don’t have answers, but I can help lead my teens into think about the things they love in new and complex ways.