Bright Ideas | May 2014

Miniature Golf Program | Read 'n Recycle | Observe the Moon Night  

Putting through the Pages  

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie mini golf holeAt the downtown location of the Warren-Trumbull County (Ohio) Public Library, the Youth Services staff likes to offer programming that families can enjoy together over the schools’ winter break. After a couple of years of life-sized Candy Land, my children’s librarians decided an indoor miniature golf game would be their next winter project.
 
Dubbing the program “Putting through the Pages,” they designed each hole to represent a popular children’s book, and, since we wanted to attract children of all ages, they included picture books, beginning readers, and fiction for older children. 
 
My staff is adept at creating programs on a shoestring, but what we may lack in funds, we make up for with creativity, talent, and enthusiasm! Discarded cardboard boxes were transformed into Flat Stanley’s mailbox, Pigeon’s bus, and Hogwarts. Each hole was laid out using foam pool “noodles” cut in half. Putters were constructed out of dowel rods with Styrofoam™ heads covered in duct tape. The most popular design was the Captain Underpants hole that featured toilet paper obstacles and a ramp to land the ball into an open toilet seat (purchased new for the occasion)! Other books featured on the course were Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom; Trashy Town; If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; Charlotte’s Web; Fly Guy; and Skulduggery Pleasant
 
Captain Underpants mini golf holeOver one hundred people enjoyed playing our ten-hole course (not regulation—we know!), and there are plans to expand and enhance the course for next year. For one thing, the Charlotte’s Web hole really needs a web that says, “Fore!” --Lori Faust, youth services manager, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

Read-n-Recycle  

The Gloucester County (Va.) Public Library’s Read-n-Recycle program is all about sharing books, recycling, and spending “money!”
 
The program is held over a period of two months; we usually shoot for January and February. In the first month, children bring in their gently-used books and exchange them for “book bucks.” Each book is worth one “book buck.” We created our bucks using a dollar bill template found online and adding our library name to it.
 
Month two is all about spending those bucks. After collecting the books during the first month, we set up our store—a canopy with tables beneath. Books are organized by age groups. Children bring in their “book bucks” to browse and shop for recycled treasures. Each book costs one “book buck.” The store usually remains up and running for the entire second month.
 
When the program began, it was geared to children up to grade five. Since then, we’ve expanded it to include older kids and the program now welcomes recyclers and shoppers from one- to 18-years-old. Rather than “book bucks,” our teens receive a paper “credit card,” which notes the number of books they brought in to recycle.
 
The first time we offered the program, we noticed that we realized some of the children saw that some of their books were the only books to choose from. To remedy that, we now make sure to have extra gently-used books on hand, received through regular book donations, to ensure we have a wide variety of books for sale. The program is held at both of our library branches, so we also can swap books between the two to mix things up.
 
Over the past four years Read-n-Recycle has steadily caught on and the number of recycled books has grown. Last year, we had more than a thousand books brought in during the first month.  Books left over after the sale are donated to our Friends of the Library bookstore.
 
Happy Recycling!—Michelle Edwards, Children's Coordinator, Gloucester County (Va.) Public Library 
 

Celebrate the Moon on September 6 -- Have Your Library Join the Party  

International Observe the Moon Night logoInternational Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is coming this September 6! InOMN is an annual event that is dedicated to encouraging people to "look up" and take notice of our nearest neighbor, the moon. Check out this site for materials and resources, and add your own event to the world map. When you're not looking at the moon, try these hands-on activities:
 
 
In the 30-45-minute Crater Creations activity, teams of children ages 8 to13 drop small objects ("asteroids" and "comets") into layers of sand, flour, and cocoa powder. The impacts create "craters" - just like those seen on the moon! Children observe images of lunar craters and explore how the mass, shape, velocity, and angle of impactors affect the size and shape of the crater.
 
 
Children ages 10 and up use images and information collected from NASA robotic spacecraft to determine the site for a future lunar outpost. Working in teams, they consider environmental conditions, available resources, and scientific importance of different locations on the moon. The teams debate about which site is best and work together to determine which single site to recommend to NASA. This 1 -1 1/2-hour activity can be divided into parts.
 
New to hosting a moon-viewing event, or looking for new tips?  Download a tip sheet.

 

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