Category Archives: Programs & Performers

Toto the Tornado Kitten!


This little girl read the book beforehand and was SO excited to meet Toto! She brought him some food to donate to the local pet shelter.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Toto was found in a tree as a newborn kitten after surviving a tornado that swept through Western MA about 2 years ago. A paramedic and his wife found the kitten and saved him. They wrote a book and do story time programs around MA to raise money for local pet shelters. All proceeds from book sales are donated.


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April 17, 2013 · 9:36 pm

LEGO Club!


There are many libraries that now host a Lego Club for kids and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon! I had a conversation with a patron who was talking about her son and how he wasn’t really into sports and was very quiet. I told her I was thinking about starting a Lego club at the library and she loved the idea because her son loves Legos. I advertised for donations and a few trickled in. The Friends of the Library bought a few larger boxes and some green base plates. Everyone wanted to know when the first meeting would be and I said I didn’t know because we didn’t have enough Legos to start! Finally I just decided to set a date and see what happened.


I sent out a plea for advice on how to structure the club. What ages? How long? Can they bring their own Legos? Should each meeting have a theme? Etc. I received so many emails from other Children’s Librarians in the state about how they run their programs – it was great. They had some great advice, tips and they told me what HAD NOT worked. The best tip I received was from a wonderful Children’s Librarian in the North Shore: a king-sized sheet to spread under the Legos to make cleanup easier. This probably saved me 20 minutes of cleanup time, no joke. I would have been crawling around on my hands and knees for a long, long time. Thank you!!


I decided to have the club for ages 6 & older, but younger kids could come with an adult. There would be a “Lego Challenge” written on the board but would not be required, just a guideline for kids who might want to do it. I bought a few Lego books to put out and I subscribed to the Lego Magazine – they send a bunch to teachers and librarians for free – so everyone who came to the meeting would get a copy to keep. I bought a sheet to spread out on the rug. I would explain to the kids that they could dump out the Legos onto the sheet and ask that they try to keep most of the Legos on the sheet. I also would put out small bins on the floor for kids who wanted to fill them up with Legos and build at the tables. I also had a survey for parents with ages of interested kids and which days & times worked best. I now have Lego Club twice a month, on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday from 4-5 pm. It seems confusing, but this seemed to be the only way for everyone to get to at least one meeting a month.


The first meeting was during April vacation week. I figured this way kids would be looking for something to do and might come. I ended up with about 35 people! A few parents, about 3 girls and the rest ALL BOYS. It was amazing. Plus, once I set a date, I received TONS of Lego donations. And they were all extremely well-behaved. I was walking around the room and wondering what was going on – why were almost 30 boys (ranging in ages 4-12) being so quiet? They were completely concentrating on building. Legos may actually have magic powers. The “Lego Challenge” was to build a robot and some did, but most did whatever they wanted. I explained to them that they could not bring home what they made, but that I would display their creations in the Children’s Room with their name. (Only a couple younger kids had some trouble with this.) Also, the older kids did not seem to have any problem building next to younger ones. And clean-up was VERY EASY with a couple helpers and the sheet!



Basically, this is an easy program once you have your donations and figure out how it will work. The kids have been great so far. The second program I had around 44 people and my most recent one was about 25. And the parents are very supportive too. The creations are displayed for about a week and a half, which also advertises for the club, and then my staff breaks them apart to be used for the next meeting.

If you have any questions, just ask!


Filed under Children's, Lego Club, Library, Programs & Performers

Hunger Games Trivia Night!

Before I write about my Trivia Night, I just want to say thanks to the librarians in Massachusetts who are so awesome about sharing info and ideas about programs. One of the best resources I found was through our youth services listserv and I don’t think I would have found this info without it.

As one of my colleagues put it – “Why reinvent the wheel?” And why should we? All we want is good programs that we don’t have kill ourselves planning. Because we have about a million other things to do. (You know, like read all day at the desk, for instance…..)  ha. Which is also why I write about my programs – to give back.

Anyways, I “borrowed” my Hunger Games Trivia Night from Amity Middle School – Bethany Book Blog. They posted all their trivia questions and a great idea for a Cornucopia Race. Thank you!

I think though, I may have been overly-confident about my preparedness. I had my staff type out the questions and answers and put them on index cards. I probably should have read them over and weeded out ones that I didn’t think would work or that were actually wrong (whether because of typos or what) so that I wasn’t weeding as I read them aloud. Yeah. Also, I should have borrowed some kind of buzzer system. Because we ended up with lots more teens the day of, so I wasn’t really prepared for the 17-or-so kids that came. I looked around for whistles or bells. Nothing. We ended up with 2 teams – boys against girls – yeah, sexist but whatever – and using toy instruments from my baby story time. This worked for all of 10 minutes and then there was slamming tables, arguments over who slammed first, etc. Then I ended up going back and forth with the questions. If a team got one wrong, the other team could steal. This sort of worked. I think if I do it again, I should do a Jeopardy board. Someone remind me of this.

The second was better – the Cornucopia Race! This was really fun. Again, though, I probably should have read through the whole thing. Maybe I could have adapted it ……. or shortened it. But it was still really fun. The general idea is to collect a bunch of items that would have been in the Cornucopia – a tarp, bow & arrows, knife, food, sleeping bag, matches, shoes, blanket, etc. I had everything on the list: some items I had at the library or at home and some I made. I only purchased a couple of items. We kept the same teams for this. When I said “GO”, one person on each team ran to the “Cornucopia” and grabbed one item. They ran back and tagged another member who ran to get another item. Just like the players in The Hunger Games, no one knew what they would need. When everything was gone, I read a little story. In the story, different things happened to the players where they required certain items to survive. If a team happened to have those items, they would get 5 points. The team with the most points at the end of the story wins. Very good idea!


This was tough because while I had a good amount of prizes (Mockingjay Pins, books, posters, etc.) I didn’t have something for everyone. I made it so that the team that one a round of trivia got to put their name in the bucket more times than the other team, or if they won the Cornucopia Race, etc. It actually ended up being pretty even. So, just like the reaping, I pulled names and as I called them, they could come up and pick a prize. They seemed pretty happy with it. I made up certificates for a free k-cup coffee from our cafe for those who didn’t get a real prize.

Final Thoughts:

Fun night, overall. I could have been more prepared, but lesson learned. The kids – even number of boys and girls – were totally into the book and psyched about the movie, which was coming out that night at midnight. Most were there just to win a Mockingjay pin, but they were THERE. So I win 🙂

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my husband and I have a date to see it on Friday!



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Filed under Library, Programs & Performers, Teen, YA Books

Mockingjay Pin!

I am SOOOO excited because I now have my very own Mockingjay Pin!! I cleaned out my local Hot Topic ($12.50 each) and 2 Walmarts ($7.00) and ended up with 7 pins total. They are sold out on Hot Topic’s online store! The ones at Walmart are tough to find. I went to 5 total and a staff member actually found 3 pins at one I had already checked. They were laying down, out of sight, in the book section – this is where I found the other ones too, with the books, in case you want to try and find them. (They are not online at and employees have no idea what they are when you ask for them.)

Crazy. So one is for me (purchased with my own hard-earned money, of course) and the rest will be for prizes for our Hunger Games Trivia Night tomorrow night!! Woohoo!!

I feel super-cool when I wear mine at work. Or….in public….

Happy Hunger Games 😉

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Filed under Authors, Programs & Performers, Teen, YA Books

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party!

Last Saturday we held a birthday party for Dr. Seuss, who would have been 108 this year. When I went shopping the Friday before, there were about 20 people signed up for the party. Luckily I always get more than I think I’ll need, because Saturday morning a TON more people signed up! In fact, we actually had 71 people, but only about 50 came, to my relief.

The party ended up being exactly an hour, which is what I had planned for, amazingly enough. Some kids came in costume, which was really cute. I wore my striped hat 🙂

I had a bunch of books to read and I wanted to gauge the crowd before choosing. I ended up reading The Cat in the Hat, which many of the kids knew already and so they enjoyed listening to it. Even the younger kids stayed pretty still through the whole book. I didn’t attempt another one and we went right into our craft, Thing 1 & Thing 2 paper bag puppets. Finding a good craft proved more difficult than I thought, even with lots of searching and scouring Pinterest. I finally found something relatively easy from a great blog called The obSEUSSed Home Librarian. The kids and parents liked making them. Most only made one, but some ambitious parents made both.

When they finished their craft, we sang happy birthday to Dr. Seuss and cut the cake. I had several other snacks that related to the books, also found on Pinterest! (See below for links I found to party & food ideas.) I had just enough for everyone. I also had some raffle prizes to give away, mostly books. Parents out their kids name into a bucket as they came into the party. Everyone who came to the party took home a Dr. Seuss themed bookmark, pencil and some stickers. They signed a big birthday card we made, which is currently hanging up in the Children’s Room. All in all, a pretty good event!

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Filed under Authors, Children's, Crafts, Food, Library, Picture Books, Programs & Performers

Rory Raven: Mentalist and Mindbender!

We had an AMAZING program at the library a couple of weeks ago:

Rory Raven, from Providence, RI, puts on an incredible performance!

I received a flyer of his in the mail and sent him an email. He was great to work with (especially since I had to reschedule since only 4 people signed up the first time) and everyone who came was absolutely dumbfounded as to how he does it! He says he’s not psychic, yet he read many at our show! He also literally bends spoons. And forks. I have one to prove it! He also does ghost walks in Providence, which I would LOVE to do, because Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love stuff like that 🙂 Here are some pictures of the event, which was paid for by LSTA grant money. It was for older teens, but we opened it to adults for the rescheduled show because we just didn’t have enough interest.

Mr. Raven was great with the audience – the perfect amount of humor, but not overkill. He is serious about his craft and I highly recommend him! People wouldn’t leave afterwards because everyone wanted to talk to him! It was awesome.

I apologize for the state of the pictures – I didn’t put the flash on because I didn’t to ruin his concentration! See below for information on Rory Raven!

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Filed under Library, Programs & Performers, Teen

Animal Adventures!

This is my all-time favorite program that I look forward to every year! (I hope other people do too!)

Animal Adventures from Bolton, MA puts on a fabulous presentation. They are great with kids of all ages and they try to let as many kids touch all the animals as possible. They rescue exotic and domestic animals from various places, many of which were pets that people gave up or “got bored with” at some point. It’s a family-run place and everyone helps out – right down to the little ones 🙂 Some of the animals even live in the house with the family! Love it. I never balk at paying for their programs because I know it all goes into helping to run their sanctuary. I’m currently considering adopting a chinchilla from them…..hmmmm…

Here are some pics!

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Filed under Children's, Library, Programs & Performers