Beyond Duct Tape: Teen Programming

My colleagues were asking for my notes from the recent Michigan Library Association conference, so here’s my notes from an inspiring program on teen programming from one of our former interns and, you know, some other teen librarian she’s good friends with.  This was the last session of the day and ran way over because people couldn’t stop asking questions.

Beyond Duct Tape
Teen Programming with Kricket Hoekstra and Sarah Jones
MLA 2012

Sarah – $6500/yr budget; Kricket $1000/yr

Kricket says make friends with Gordon Food Services! There are kids who don’t get enough to eat at home even in wealthy communities.

For K. teen is 13-18; for Sarah 6-12th grades.

K. says college kids can come if they help

Both say no parents or adults

Get ideas from teens, your own interests and steal, steal, steal!

  • Give full-sized candy bars for good, legit program ideas

Get used to failure

Sarah’s successful programs channeling her interests:

  • cat toys
  • circus training
  • cupcake decorating

Best programs

      Hunger games summer reading finale – 216 teens

      • Cornucopia game
      • Tracker jacker shake-off
      • Popsicle stick, rubber band & Q-tip bow & arrows
      • Laser tag
      • Mellark’s cupcake decorating
      • $1600 price tag

Anime club & Graphic novel book club – 2x per month and annual prom

      • “bad” teen interested in manga reformed as club leader
      • “Comicon” every other newsletter cycle
        • 80-100 teens
        • Costume contest early in the event
      • Include wacky prizes so low-cost costumes have a chance
      • Video game music
      • Candy sushi-making station
      • Manga drawing
      • Origami station


      • 2 groups, 1-2 times per week, splitting to 3 groups soon
      • College kids as DMs
      • Munchkin an easier alternative

Pizza and Paperbacks (with Wal-Mart grants)

      • Show Nerdfighter videos
      • Pick books the leader likes, not just off lists

Writer’s Workshop

      • Now 10-15 kids coming
      • Book spine poetry
      • Exercises from teen writing books
      • NaNoWriMo meetings, including adults

After hours parties

      • Hide and seek and sardines over capture the flag

Teen bands – Noise@ the Library

      • Remind performers to come early for set-up
      • Keep stage moms low-key


      • Craft club
      • Movie night
      • Lego club
      • Teen-created zin
      • Martial arts demo
      • Shadow puppet workshop

Keep VOYA envy in check!

Be there after school every day!


      • Newsletter
      • Facebook – both teen & adult pages
      • Posters/chalkboard in teen zone
      • In-library TVs


      • Teens want candy & money
      • Have teens help with shopping


    • Keep them short and simple:
      • Don’t bother others
      • Language
      • Leave things the way you found them

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
This entry was posted in Conference Notes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s