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