Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Star Wars @ your library

Last week was a big week for me. I glanced at my calendar back in May when we had everything planned out and counted I had 5 programs this week I was responsible for. It was the week that almost killed me because I was fighting off the dreaded summer cold only to have it come back at the end of the week with a vengeance!

My biggest program of the summer was our Star Wars program. This is my second time doing a large family event. I did a rehash of what I had the last time because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We also had two smaller programs for Star Wars Read Day in October but more on that later.

Our program considered of a welcome activity then breaking the group into three activities: scavenger hunt, crafts, games.

This time for a welcome activity I read an except of a book for a book talk. LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out. The kids laughed. The adults laughed more at the inside jokes and then we laughed that the kids didn't get the jokes. It's a fun read for Star Wars fans old and young.

We also had a March Madness style battle between characters. does one every March called This is Madness This was a great and simple activity to involve everyone. I printed out characters on 8x10 paper so everyone can see them and we clapped for out favorites. Our matches up  included....

Han Solo Vs. Boba Fett,
Darth Vader vs. Darth Maul,
Yoda vs. Obi Wan Kenobi,
Captain Rex vs General Grevious,
Luke Skywalker vs. Qui Gon Jinn,
Count Dooku vs Jabba the Hutt
Jar Jar Binks vs Ewoks
3CPO vs. Princess Leia

I was so very very happy that when it came to Jar Jar vs. The Ewoks our group almost unanimously favored the Ewoks. It was a pleasure to eliminate Jar Jar from the competition by crumbling up his paper in front of the group and tossing it in the trash. Our final match up came down to Princess Leia vs. Yoda with the short Jedi Master being crowed our library's champion. A book that tied into this activity is Star Wars: Head to Head

Our Craft activities were centered around the Origami Yoda series books by Tom Angelberger. We had a origami table for folding as well as a general art table for coloring and drawing. Even though I'm artistic and love to draw, I know that art and origami is not everyone's cup of tea. So we had two general crafts for kids including Paper Rockets and Balloon Aliens. For a group this big, I was surprised how little it cost for these crafts. For the Balloon Aliens, each kid go a balloon that they could draw a face on and then attach string, ribbons, streamers, folded paper and other scrap items to decorate it. I only had to purchase a bag of balloons and some straws, the rest of the supplies we had in house.

Scavenger Hunt
We had a simple scavenger hunt that involved hidden pictures and letters scattered throughout the kids section. Each character had a letter(s) that helped spell out a message. Oh my bad, I jinxed myself by saying simple! Within two minutes of handing out the sheets and letting the kids run off in the stack, they were returning after removing the characters off the walls and turning them in.

This was my station with the help of some volunteers. The kids had a great time playing the simple carnival games. We had a bean bag toss/knock em down game with the bad guys. A Don't Step on the Lave where the kids had to navigate the lava pit while keeping hold of their lightsaber. And one of my favorite things I've made at the the library, the Feed Jabba Game.


How to Run Your Own Star Wars Program at Your Library

Basically it seems just the mention of Star Wars is enough to get kids' attention and get the through the door. You obviously have a better understanding of what would work for your library based on your space, patron attendance and funding than I do. But here are a few of my tips.

1. Scavenger Hunt are great as an active or a passive program and they can be adaptive in so many ways. I had one were I hide paper light sabers in the stacks and the clues were Dewey Decimal based. We also done the hidden picture/secret message hunt twice before with Star Wars characters and vehicles.

2. Have plenty of books! Reserve all the Star Wars books you can! Ours are so popular that they are constantly checked out so it's a real thrill for young fans to see carts and carts available for them to check out.

3.Make it an event for the Whole Family- I'm amazed how so many little kids love Star Wars, even though they have never seen any of the movies (sacrilege!) But now they have LEGO and multiple cartoon series geared to kids as well as the books and films. Be sure to have books and activities that younger kids can do or can do with a little help from adults. Parents also love these programs especially if they are also life long fans.

4. Dress Up! One thing I've done before was to get volunteer costume characters for our events. Unfortunately I didn't have anyone able to make it to my program this time around but I have in the past. 501st Legion and Rebel Legion are the two main groups available for these types of events. 501st is bad guys, and Rebel Legion are the good guys (Clarification: The "bad guys" refers to the folks who dress up as Star Wars Villains not people who are bad at their jobs!) Actually several members have multiple costumes. When I first had them ,they actually brought a spare costume for me! I got to dress up as an X-Wing pilot and it was amazing!

Do keep in mind that all the great folks doing this are volunteers and do this for charity and fun. A library event is something they are more than happy to do. It doesn't cost a penny to request an appearance but you can make a donation to their charities if you feel compelled to do so. Put your request in early, as soon as you know the date for your event.

Even though I put my request in months in advance, I didn't have anyone available to show up. However I had a back up plan. We made a quick cheap Star Wars photo booth for kids to take pictures. And of course, costumes were encouraged!

For housekeeping sake, I made an announcement  that all lightsabers brought into the library must remained sheathed and that there would be no sword play in the library as our insurance policy did not cover severed limbs and would not pay for mechanical hands. I also made it clear that as we progressed through activities today, we should conduct ourselves as calm and patience Jedi, and not pushy stormtroppers. That why everyone can have fun!

Star Wars Read Day is coming up in October if you are looking for an opportunity to throw your own Star Wars bash!

Yours Truly- May the Force be with You!

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