Teen MakerSpace Outreach at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Day 1 – Getting Organized
At The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we have been working really hard to do outreach for our new Teen MakerSpace. This week, I thought I would share with you what our outreach looks like.
We have now put together 2 separate outreach packets, and I am working on a third. What this means is we have created and organized 3 standard outreach modules that are ready to go so we can easily grab one that best fits the situation and just go.
Our 3 modules include:
A Button Making Station
A Photo Booth Station
A Teen Coloring Station
Every day this week I will talk to you about what those modules look like and how we created the various pieces and parts.
In addition to me, there are 2 part-time Teen MakerSpace Assistants. And we are really lucky because our Assistant Director is really invested and she has come to every one of our outreach events to date. And we have now built up a pretty loyal core group of teens who love to come and help out as well. So in terms of staffing, we have anywhere from 2 to 4 people helping out.
The directions for each outreach module can be found in the Teen MakerSpace Staff Manual, my pride and joy. I’m not kidding, I have been known to loving caress that manual. It is my career pride and joy. That’s not weird, right?
Because each outreach module has a standard checklist, any of our staff can grab the sheet and go. I don’t have to be present for each outreach event, though to date I have been.
We have several standard items that go to each outreach event, which are outlined in the checklist. They include:
A black table cloth
Teen MakerSpace logo table runners
Flyers and brochures
Table, chairs, trash bags, etc.
After that, each outreach module is spelled out more specifically depending on what the activity is. Because this is a Teen MakerSpace outreach, we always want to make sure our teens are DOING/MAKING SOMETHING. But it also has to be fairly quick, light and easy to carry in, set up and tear down, and fairly inexpensive. Yes, coming up with activities can be challenging.
When we have found an activity that we found to be successful, we then finish the checklist for the activity. Each activity must include the following:
- Detailed instructions with photos
- Signage (this signage is kept in the manual so it also can just be grab and go)
- And a very detailed list of supplies needed
Buttons, Buttons and More Buttons
I have talked before about our first station, which is a button making station. We do either finger print or chalkboard buttons. Please note: don’t do chalkboard buttons in extreme heat, the chalk markers run and it’s not pretty.
Because we have found buttons to be so popular with our teens, when we don’t do a button themed outreach event, we have designed – with our teens and with artwork created by teens in the Teen MakerSpace – a variety of buttons which we have for the teens to pick up and wear. The masters for these are also in the beloved Teen MakerSpace Manual so they can easily be copies and made into buttons before the event. We also usually have a bag on hand for the grab and go.
We also ordered Teen MakerSpace canvas backpacks which we hand out and it is so cool to see teens wearing them around town and into the library. We ordered the table runners and backpacks from TotallyPromotional.com and have been very happy with the end product. We like having visuals that the teens can take with them and the best part is that they then do the advertising for us.
Tomorrow, I will tell you about our Photo Booth outreach module.
Filed under: Outreach
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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