Preparing for the 2020 Census

By Allison Riggs

The 2020 Census is almost here! Why should libraries care? To put it simply, the 2020 population numbers gathered from the Census will shape how political power and federal tax dollars are shared in the U.S over the next 10 years. We want to help make sure the communities we serve are getting accurately counted so they get the appropriate funding and representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Libraries across the country are preparing to help make sure everyone gets counted in this year’s Census, and the library where I work, the Schaumburg Township District Library, is no exception.

How is the Schaumburg Library preparing for the Census?

An Interactive Display: We will have a Census 101 display along with a true or false lift the flap interactive component to help clear up common misconceptions about the census. The display will also include a sticker-by-number mosaic for patrons to complete that will reveal a “Be Counted” message.

Library Swag: We’ve created bookmarks that will be available at all locations, and we’ll have buttons for staff to wear to promote the census.

Print and Social Media: The Library sent press releases to local media and will discuss the census during one of our monthly columns in the Daily Herald. We will also be using our social media pages to encourage our patrons to complete the census using eye-catching graphics.

Discussions During Regular Programming: We will be highlighting the census during our regular programming. Our librarians have already begun familiarizing patrons during our ESL Conversation Clubs about what the census is, why we do it, and what to expect throughout the process. They showed them copies of the online census invite and the paper form, so they know what to expect when they receive it.

Designated Computer: Since the census can be completed online, we will have a designated computer in Youth Services that will give parents the opportunity to fill out the census while they are at the library with their children.

Library Website: We have a dedicated page about the 2020 Census that is highlighted on our homepage for ease of access.  

Informational Drop-In Sessions: These two-hour long staff-led sessions will be held at three different times every Wednesday during the month of March, once at our central location and once at each of our branches.

Staff Awareness: The Library has been preparing staff for the upcoming census since November by providing us with a PDF that explains why we should care, how the census will work, what questions will be asked, what won’t be asked, and more. This guidance has helped us to feel confident in answering patrons’ questions.  

Working with the Community: We have three staff members that are on the various Complete Count Committees in our service area. The Schaumburg Library is also co-sponsoring a movie night with the Hoffman Estates Village Hall and Hoffman Estates Complete Count Committees, hosting recruitment events with local field offices as they look to hire census workers, and will have an informational program titled Census 2020: Be Counted! that is sponsored by Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

2020 Census Resources

ILA’s Census 2020 Resources Page

RAILS Census Toolkit for Libraries

ALA’s Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census

United States Census Bureau Website


Go Where The People Are

By Patrick Maloney

Before I transitioned into full time library mode, I played bass in a punk band that frequently toured the country, and often received a lot of really bad advice on how to “make it big” from hordes of people who thought they had it all figured out. Out of the never ending stream of industry insiders and fellow musicians spouting nonsense at me, it was an old biker guy at a dingy dive bar in Nebraska who finally told me what I needed to hear.

“Go where the people are.”

On the surface, it sounds nonsensically simple. If anything, he was pointing out that maybe the middle of a cornfield wasn’t the best place to be if we were actually trying to make any money. He was also very drunk. But in that moment, something inside me clicked. I knew he was onto something, and while my music career has long been over, I still go back to those words on a regular basis. If your end goal is to create unique and engaging programming at your library, the answer IS nonsensically simple. Go where the people are.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me ask you this. What exactly is the purpose of library programming? I find myself asking the same question nearly every programming cycle, and the two answers I tend to land on are generally what I will eventually sculpt my programs around. One of the answers coincides with what I believe to be a core tenet of librarianship, and that is service to one’s community. There are a myriad of ways in which your local library serves its community, and I could write a blog post on every one of them, but programming is unique in that the returns on investment are usually immediate. Whether its device help for the technologically impaired, storytimes that kick start a child’s love of reading, or the ever looming tax prep help some libraries are currently offering, you can literally watch a patron leave the library quantifiably better off than when they entered. Personally, that is one of my favorite parts of what I do.

The second conclusion that I always seem to come to…and the one we will be focusing on today…is that programming serves to generate interest in the library itself. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? People need to already have an interest in the library to have an interest in the programming it offers, but in order to garner interest in the library, we need a strong number of engaging programs that get people excited enough to take the plunge and sign up for a library card. Luckily, ALL of the aforementioned services the library offers are working towards this goal as well, so you can usually be sure you’ll have at least some sort of built in audience, but a great program can accomplish these goals like no other. The Joliet Public Library’s (where I am currently employed) annual blockbuster event Star Wars Day has consistently drawn nearly ten thousand people for the past several years. An event like this certainly serves the community with a free and family friendly source of entertainment on the first Saturday in June, but the exposure the library receives each year simply cannot be overstated. Every single year our circs spike up around this time, library card signups increase, and there’s just generally a whole lot of momentum heading into summer reading, our busiest time of the year. I have personally overheard children begging their parents to bring them back to the library after discovering it for the first time at Star Wars Day, and that is the type of reaction we should all be striving for with our programming.

Of course, bringing in ten thousand people, a good portion of which are not regular library goers, on any given weekend isn’t usually feasible by any stretch of the imagination. Luckily, there are still quite a few other ways to use your programming to get new people into your library, my favorite of them being off-site programming. Aside from being an easy way to circumvent the headache of getting whatever license you may need to serve food or alcohol, most of the time you are working with a business that likes making money, and therefore has a vested interest in making your event a success, so you’ve already got some built in promotion. This is an integral part of why off-site programming works so well, because with enough promotion from the venue, there’s no limit to how many fresh eyes will be on your program that wouldn’t otherwise be. Add in some current library patrons who would have come regardless of the location, as well as attendees who are interested in the subject matter but for whatever reason have no desire to actually step foot into a library, and you’ve got all the makings of a successful off-site program. Be sure to dole out as many program guides, fliers for specific and targeted upcoming programs, and general information and pamphlets about what services your library offers as you can physically carry to the location, along with a boatload of free swag. You only get one chance to make an impression on the newcomers, so you’re going to want to get it right. No pressure or anything.

That being said, not all off-site programs are created equal. You’re still going to need to put on a great program that people are going to be interested in. I’ve certainly found success by tapping into some more niche markets…both an open mic night and a poetry reading that took place at a local record store as well as a collaboration with a local comic shop on Free Comic Book Day were huge hits…but sometimes just a fun change of atmosphere will bring out the masses in droves. One of our biggest

events was a trivia night at a local brewery, so much so that we decided to do three more, all of them just as successful as the last. People are going to drink beer and play trivia on their own time anyway, why not introduce them to the wonders of the library while they’re at it?

At the end of the day, this isn’t rocket science. No one is asking you to reinvent the wheel or even do anything particularly groundbreaking. Your community is filled with people who could benefit from using your library and they don’t even know it yet. There’s only one thing you have to do to find them:

Go where the people are.

Teaching How to Climb Your Family Tree

By Donna Forbis

I have always been interested in genealogy, an interest I inherited from my grandparents.  I also inherited all their family research, which amounts to more than a two-foot by three-foot, four-foot-tall bookcase cabinet can hold!  But I love the hunt – searching for that piece of the puzzle that anchors an ancestor in time and place in history.  It is because of my interest in genealogy that I was able to fulfill a life-long dream of joining the Daughters of the American Revolution, something I know my grandmother would have loved, but she was unable to find the documentation necessary.

When I was hired for my current position, my love of genealogy was one of the strengths I brought to the job.  There is no one else on the staff with the research experience or the knowledge of the inner workings of Ancestry that I have, and my boss has encouraged me to pursue my love of family history through new programming.  This led me to standing nervously in front of a small group gathered on a Tuesday morning in January.  My biggest fear was that the information I had to impart would not be new, and that the people who were there would leave the library feeling regret that they had wasted an hour they would never get back.

I was not nervous about presenting, in and of itself.  I have years of public speaking and performance experience under my belt, and presenting to a crowd, large or small, is something I can do in my sleep.  My anxiety was stemming from the idea that, by virtue of leading this series, I am purporting to be an “expert” – someone that others may learn from – but I don’t feel like an expert.  I have gotten to this place in my family history journey through benefit of others’ work.  If I was starting from scratch, I don’t know that I would know where to begin.  My grandparents had laid out a road map when I was very young, and I had simply followed the path they had marked out.

It was this sentiment that helped me focus the subject matter for my first “Digging Deeper into Your Roots” session – “Genealogy 101: Learning How to Climb Your Family Tree.”  I realized that I needed to lay out the same road map for those patrons that were coming because they didn’t know where to start.  Once I knew where the starting line was, I knew how to explain the journey.

If you watch genealogy TV (and there is a lot of if, from Finding Your Roots to Who Do You Think You Are? to A New Leaf and more), they always start with filling in what you know – your name, date of birth, spouse, marriage date, etc. – then add in all the information you have for your parents and grandparents.  An Ancestral Chart is great for doing this.  (See photo) It helps focus attention on what information you know and where there are gaps or holes.  A basic Ancestral Chart will go back three generations from the starting person, to the starting person’s great-grandparents.

With this information, you are ready to progress to the computer.  Websites like,, or offer online family trees that are stored in the cloud.  Ancestry and MyHeritage require subscriptions, which can be costly.  FamilySearch is free, as long as you don’t mind sharing the information you upload with all other users.  There are many different genealogy software programs available, as well.  These allow users to build a digital family tree, while keeping any or all the information they gather on their home computer.  As with the other options, there are pros and cons with this.  Should your computer crash or malfunction, all research may be lost, unless it is backed up in another location.  Conversely, doing the research yourself minimizes the crowd-sourced information available from online sources.

Crowd-sourced information can be both a blessing and a curse.  Amateur genealogists fall into one of two categories – those who are diligent about doing their research and plodding on methodically until they have the information they are looking for, and those that are simply trying to fill in any holes they may have on their family tree by “cutting and pasting” information from wherever they find it.  It is this latter group that can be the source of numerous headaches for those just starting out.  If one person has incorrect information on their tree AND they share their tree with others, then that incorrect information can spread like wildfire.  I have seen “hints” come up with a name misspelled, or a wrong date, or some other piece of misinformation, and then have that same error multiplied across multiple family trees.  In the genealogy world, it doesn’t count if you don’t have the documentation to back it up.

I had planned on presenting for about 30-40 minutes, then using the rest of the hour for questions.  I took 45 minutes.  Our little band continued with questions and discussion for almost as long as I had initially spoken, and as we were closing in on the 90-minute mark, I knew we needed to wrap up.  Those in attendance were thrilled that the power point had given them a broad base of information, enough for them to get started.  I was thrilled that I hadn’t made a complete fool out of myself. 

As I write this, I am working on my program for February – “Tombstone Tourism” – on doing cemetery research, and again, I am grateful for the work of other experts from which to draw information.  I still don’t feel like an expert, but I know that part of the reason genealogy has become so popular of late is that it is a collaborative effort.  In an age of digital isolation – communication with others through social media, texting, and email – working together for a common goal is a novel experience.  We are reaching into the past to connect with ancestors we never knew before, and, in doing so, we are reaching one another and making new connections that we would otherwise never have. 

Bloomington Reads: Annual Community Reading

By Olivia Buck

At Bloomington Public Library, we put together an annual community reading event in which we select a spotlight title and create a programming series based upon the themes within the book. The series culminates in an author visit taking place during National Library Week. We have done this annually for several years and past authors include Jamie Ford and Erik Larson.

I personally have had the privilege of working on the committee that plans our Bloomington Reads programming series both this year and last year. Selecting an author can be quite a process. First our committee discusses the budget for that year’s series and possible themes that we would like the spotlight title to incorporate. Once we know the kinds of titles we are looking for, we brainstorm potential titles and authors. Then, we send out speaking engagement inquiries to the authors or their agents. Sending inquiries felt awkward to me at first. You simultaneously have to ask about the availability of the author and their speaking fee, express your excitement about their work, and not make any promises until you have the information and the vote from the committee.

Once the book is selected, the committee moves on to planning a series of programs based on themes found within the book. For example, last year’s title Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires. For this spotlight title, we hosted the following series of programs:

Letter Writing
In one of the short stories in the Heads of the Colored People collection, the story was
written in the form of letter correspondence between to parents of school-age students. In order to reflect the format of this story, we held a letter writing workshop in which participants learned about the art, gathered tips, and were encouraged to continue the craft. The workshop was lead by Michael Theune, an Illinois Wesleyan University professor and a co-editor of the Keats Letters Project.

The Hate U Give
We offered a showing of the movie The Hate U Give based on the book of the same title
by Angie Thomas.

● Book Discussions
Of course we also held book discussions for readers to participate in. We hosted two
separate groups, one at the library and the other as a part of our “Books on Tap” group
which meets at a local restaurant.

● Creating a Vision Board
A vision board is a guide to help attain a goal or set a life path to follow. Participants got
to learn about these boards and how to create one of their own. Supplies were provided
and attendees left with their own boards to take home.

● Next to Normal Story Slam
During the programming series, we wanted to reflect the prevalent theme of identity
found within the book. One of the ways we thought to do this was by partnering with a
local storytelling group. During Next to Normal Story Slams, people share with an audience personal stories that revolve around a chosen theme. Participants joined us to hear stories answering the question: “The Real You: Who Does the World See and Who is the Real You?”

● Self-Portrait Collages
Mixed-media artist Trish Williams shared and discussed her work before leading a
workshop in which each person created a self-portrait collage using various textiles. From Williams’ website: “I bring together the rhythm of hand dyed, painted, and commercially made fabrics with the syncopated lines of my quilting to tell stories about the African Diaspora and my community.”

● Graphic Novel Design
Within one of the short stories in the collection, one of the main characters was a graphic novel artist. As a result, we had local graphic novelist Anthony Feinman come in to lead a class about writing and designing graphic novels. Participants had a chance to look at his work and try out using WACOM tablets and various techniques discussed throughout.

● Social Justice and Racial Identity
Nathan Stephens, Director of the Nesbitt African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana offered a thought-provoking presentation regarding social justice, racial identity, racial stress, trauma, and Nesbitt African American Cultural Center.

● Portrait Drawing
Doug Johnson, Director of the McLean County Arts Center lead a skills class on sketching portraits.

● Short Story Writing
Since the selected book was a short story collection, we wanted to offer a short story writing workshop. Illinois Wesleyan University Prof. Brandi Reissenweber came to teach the art of writing short stories. Participants learned about the components of a great story and how to write one.

● Author Presentation by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Every year, the Bloomington Reads programming series finale is an author visit. During
the 2019 programming series, author Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Ph.D., came from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to share her experiences writing the stories in the book, her inspiration for the book, and her writing process. Following her presentation, the library hosted a Q&A session and book signing. The library invited Barnes & Noble to sell Thompson-Spires’ book as well as other related titles.

During our Bloomington Reads programming series we have great turnouts and participation in our programs. We also buy 50 or so extra copies of the title to ensure that we have enough. During last year’s programming series, even with over 50 copies of the book, a couple copies of the audiobook, as well as having the title available on Libby and Hoopla, the books were flying off the shelf and had several hold requests.

2019 Program Rewind

By Olivia Buck

One of my favorite things about working at a public library is that we do so much more than just books; we also offer so many amazing programs to our patrons! I love hearing about the creative ways that libraries are engaging with our communities. Reading about the cool programs that my other library friends are working on at their own libraries always brings a smile to my face. As 2019 draws to an end, I thought it might be a good chance to list some of the exciting programs that Bloomington Public Library has offered this year.

● Tales for Tails

Trained and certified therapy dogs are paired with children grades K-5 who want to practice reading aloud. The dogs are accompanied by their handlers at all times while enjoying the attention and listening to kids read to them.

Tales for Tails

● Booo-kmobile and Halloween Parade

Kids of all ages braved the cold and snow this Halloween during our annual Halloween Parade and Story Time. The parade took kids around the library and ended with a special Halloween Story Time in our Community Room. Crafts were available for kids to make in the Children’s Department. Kids journeyed outside and onto our Bookmobile which was decorated for Halloween including spooky music, spiders, bats, and cobwebs. On the Booo-kmobile kids met library staff (myself included) dressed up as the Three Little Pigs and played games like pin the tail on the Big Bad Wolf and a Halloween-themed I Spy.

● Beginner Spanish Language Classes

Patrons age 7 and up that were interested in learning Spanish joined us for free introductory Spanish classes taught by the Modern Language Culture Institute. Each class covered two topics and included hands-on activities. Topics included: Greetings, the alphabet/months/days, family members, and body parts.

● Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is a nationwide, nonprofit organization which aims to increase the number of women in computer science related fields. The organization promotes safe, fun environments to build computer programming skills and confidence. In a series of nine sessions, teens learned fundamental concepts of loops, variables, conditionals, and functions that form the basics of all computer programming languages. Participants grades 6 – 12 learned to work as a team.

Girls Who Code

● Spy vs. Spy

Bloomington Public Library and Normal Public Library teamed up to bring a fun program to teens in our area. Teens learned the basics of cryptography and code breaking while working with team members and competing against other teams to find clues, defeat a laser maze, and win prizes.

● Sparkling Grape Juice and a Masterpiece (for Teens)

In this highly popular program, teens attended a two-hour paint class in which an instructor creates a painting while the participants follow along to create similar paintings. As they painted, teens enjoyed light refreshments. All participants walked away with their own unique masterpiece.

Sparkling Grape Juice and a Masterpiece

● Dance the Nights Away

In this series of four events, dance instructors from a local studio offered free dance lessons in four different styles. Patrons have enjoyed dancing the waltz and salsa as well as learning the fox trot and how to swing dance.

Dance the Nights Away

● Bloomington Reads

In an annual programming series starting in March and ending during National Library Week, Bloomington Public Library held a community reading event for the spotlight title Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires. Events included a short story writing workshop, a self portrait collage program led by a mixed-media artist, and an introduction to graphic novel design. As a part of this series, we partnered with Next to Normal Story Slam on a program where local storytellers shared their personal stories around the theme “The Real You: Who Does the World See and Who is the Real You?” The programming series ended with an author visit. Thompson-Spires, a professor at the University of Illinois, visited Bloomington Public Library to share about her short story collection, including a Q & A session and book signing.

Bloomington Reads

● How-To Festival

At this event, patrons had the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and crafts by stopping at stations set up throughout the library. A mixture of volunteers and library staff provided a range of topics for all ages. A firefighter taught hands-only CPR, the Music Shoppe taught how to play classical guitar and the ukulele, a volunteer taught kitchen knife skills, the Ecology Action Center taught how to recycle and compost, and I personally taught attendees how to create black out poetry and how to write short stories.

● Murder Mystery Party

In celebration of Halloween, registered participants gathered together in our Community Room in order to figure out who committed murder! When registering, patrons answered a questionnaire that asked questions like which gender (if any) character they would be interested in playing, as well as questions to help match them up with a role they would be interested in. An email with each participant’s role was sent out about two weeks ahead of time to give people time to think about their role and get excited about the program. Participants were encouraged to wear costumes to inspire them for their role throughout the party.

Murder Mystery Party

● Local Author Fair

Over twenty authors from McLean County were stationed throughout the library in celebration of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Patrons could stop by to speak with them about their books and the craft of writing. Authors presented various genres of books at the fair and were able to provide tips about the publishing process.

¿Hablas español?: Serving Spanish-Speaking Patrons at Bloomington Public Library

By Olivia Buck

It can be difficult for libraries to reach out to the members of our communities who speak a language other than English. Not all staff members can communicate with patrons who speak other languages, the patrons may not understand the speakers at our programs, documents can’t be translated into every language we may need, etc. As someone who minored in Spanish in school (and someone who is passionate about languages in general), I have spent time trying to think of new ways to reach out to those who primarily speak Spanish (or other languages). I am always excited to hear about the ways that we can serve these members of our community.

I talked to several staff members at my library to create a list of all the various ways we reach out to non-English speaking members of our community. Below you will find a list of the various methods our library has used in order to try to engage with the non-English speakers in our area.

  • Self-Checkouts have a Spanish language option available.

Patrons can tap a button that allows them to use the self-checkout in Spanish. This way they can easily checkout, view their accounts, and renew their items.

  • Spanish Checkout Guides and Marketing

At BPL, we have had a Spanish Checkout Guide for many years. The guide introduces new patrons to our services and library card policies. When signing up new cardholders, I have used this to help me explain the card in a way that will make the most sense to Spanish-speaking patrons. We have also translated some of our Summer Reading Program documents into Spanish.

  • World Language Collections

Our World Language Collections include a variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Hindi, Tagalog, and several others. We have materials for patrons of all ages which include books, movies, music, and audiobooks. We also have e-books and e-audiobooks available in Spanish for our patrons to check out online.

  • Language Learning Resources

Our library has a variety of language learning resources available to our patrons. In addition to books, movies, and audio CDs, we have online resources available as well. These include: Duolingo, Mango Languages, Sign Language 101, and Transparent Language Online.

  • Programming

Our library has hosted various programs that may appeal to those of other cultures and backgrounds. Examples include the following: Celebration of India, Día de los niños, and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

Our library’s Outreach Library Associate also attends various community events that reach out to groups of people the library may not have contact with otherwise. She has attended meetings with a group called Conexiones Latinas de McLean County and signed up library cards for ESL students at the nearby community college.

  • Spanish Book Club

In February 2019, Bloomington Public Library started a Spanish Book Club (club de lectura en español). As the name suggests, the selected book is written in Spanish and the book discussion is largely in Spanish as well. Discussed titles have included Mi negro pasado, Más allá del invierno, and others. The club is facilitated by a Spanish Literature professor from a nearby university. The Spanish Book Clubs have been well attended, by both native speakers as well as a few attendees who were learning Spanish. The participants come from all different backgrounds including patrons originally from Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries. Attendees have expressed excitement about the book club. In fact, they have organized their own meetings outside of the library and have put together a Facebook group to keep up with members of the book club. At the first meeting of the book club, approximately 50% of attendees had never had a library card before, and signed up for a card that day.

  • Foreign Language Contacts

On our staff webpage, we have compiled a list of staff members who speak other languages. The staff members volunteered to be a point of contact for patrons who speak various languages. Currently these languages include Spanish, Italian, and German. It has been a helpful resource. As a Spanish language contact, I have been called upon to help Spanish speakers sign up for library cards, inquire about lost or damaged items on their accounts, assist with computers and printing, and a variety of other topics.

Recent Teen Programming Successes

By Allison Riggs

How do I define a successful program?

This could be a whole post on its own, so I am just going to give a very short summary of how I define a successful program. Although still helpful and important, it’s not all about the numbers. I believe that what the patrons get out of the program is the most important thing, even if only three patrons show up. Did they have fun? Did they learn something new? Did they make a new friend? Did they learn an important life skill? If you can answer positively to any of these questions, you had a successful program. On the other hand, if you do similar programs over and over again with really low attendance, it may be time to try something new or try new ways to reach patrons. It is okay to admit when something isn’t working. We’ve all been there.

In today’s post, I want to share two successful teen programs I held over the summer. One of the things I truly value in our community is how wonderful librarians are at sharing their ideas, and I hope you can now add these to your own programming idea list. If you have any further questions about either of these programs please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask!

Nailed It – Summer Edition

Inspiration: Nailed It / Failed It: Holiday Snacks Edition By Kris Cram, Young Adult Specialist, Omaha (Neb.) Public Library

Quick Overview: Teens were tasked with recreating popular marshmallow pops I found on Pinterest just like the contestants on the popular Netflix show Nailed It. The new season aired in May 2019 and I held the program in June. The teens were given very minimal instructions and therefore had to get creative and problem solve on their own to try and recreate the summer themed marshmallow pops. I chose the Goldfish, Shark, and S’more marshmallow pops. They had one hour to create two of each pop. We had two microwaves so they could melt their chocolates; this step took the most amount of time. Not many teens finished all six pops, so one of each kind would have been enough. I had 15 teens attend this program. Some saved their creations to show their family and some ate them right away.

Sand Art Terrariums

Inspiration: Average But Inspired Blog

Quick Overview: Using Dollar Tree vases, colorful sand, plastic dinosaurs, paper straws, rocks, washi tape, and faux succulent plants, one can make a fun and affordable teen program. I gave the teens a few tips on how to keep their sand from mixing into a sad color along with different ways to make the sand designs. From there on out they needed very little help from me. I also always throw on some fun instrumental music of popular songs for background noise and some of the teens like to try and guess which song is playing. I had 17 teens attend this program, and they all said they had lots of fun! Here are a few terrariums the teens made. Each one was unique and used a variety of the supplies I gave  them.

Sand Art Terrarium – Allison Riggs