Strike Yer Colors! There Be Pirates Here! Arrrrr! (TPIB: Talk Like a Pirate Day)
Arrrghhhh! September is always a fun month programming-wise. You have Banned Book Week, you have National Library Card Sign-up Month, you have all the Back-To-School activities, you have International Make Your Mark Day (September 15th-ish, see blog post here) but my absolute favorite program to do in September is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
September 19, 2012 is the 10th anniversary of Talk Like a Pirate Day, and HOW can you let this programming opportunity pass you by? It’s perfect for all ages, because of the wide variety of crafts, activities, and movies that you can show; and if you’re like me, you are responsible for more than just the teen population.
You can put together your own “treasure chest” – actually a time capsule – and bury it. Come back in 1, 5 or 10 years and unearth it.
Have a pirate costume relay race. Get a variety of scarves, hats, etc. Place them all together at one end of your room and have teens relay race to dress up the designated person as the best pirate. Or do a Project Runway type of pirate fashion show. Don’t forget, you can buy plain bandannas and use fabric markers or pain to make pirate scarves. If you are really adventurous, you can do tie-dying. But you can also do no mess tie-dye with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol.
I have always wanted to do a can stacking event and use it as an opportunity to encourage teens to give back to their community. You can have teens bring canned goods to donate to the local food shelter as their admittance “fee” and then see if they can build a pirate ship out of the cans. This is called CANstruction: making sculpture out of stacking cans. If the cans scare you, or you don’t have space, you can always have races to see who can build a pirate ship out of Legos.
For a great passive program for tweens and teens, have a pirate themed scavenger hunt using the library’s collection. They could pick up the scavenger list at the teen or reference desk, search to find the proper books that have the items, and return for their pirate booty (or scan the library for QR codes and get their clues). And absolutely give each person their own pirate name- there are numerous pirate name generators online, and anyone with a smart phone can walk around during the program and attach a nametag to each participant.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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