Ideas to Make Your Library Shine

Sharing ideas from around the system & around the country, on programming, fundraising, grants, free stuff, and more.
Brought to you by the Winnefox Library System.

Low-Cost High-Interest Craft Program: Wire Bird's Nest Charm

Katie Bloor works at a library that serves a population of 240 and is open just 15 hours a week, and had 29 people come to her library for a craft program.  In the words of Sheri Szymanski, "When 12% of the population turns out for a library program YOU are doing something right!"

Katie is generous in sharing details of the event at her post in the Library Think Tank Facebook group, including her bead, charms, and wire supplies shopping list. She's made it easy for you to replicate this wire bird's nest craft program at your library!

Just wanted to share my fun mother's Day program I did last night. I am from a very small Library only open 15 hours a week and from a population of about 240 people. I had 29 people come to my library last night and this is what we made.
The supplies were just bought off Amazon and were reasonably inexpensive
I just watched YouTube videos and lead the making myself.
I had my board members bring appetizers and we made a sort of a fun mother's Day night out of it!
here is one of the videos that I looked at since a lot of people are asking for you tube link
and if you scroll down I did post two pictures of my shopping cart from Amazon

Katie also printed a birthstone chart for those who wanted to chose bead colors to represent family members. And here's the How to Make a Wire Bird's Nest Pendant tutorial video by Beadaholique.

Photo credit: Katie Bloor via Facebook


Fun & Offbeat Holidays to Inspire Displays

In addition to the traditional holidays of Mother's Day and Memorial Day, there are many more celebratory days in May! 

Use these "holidays" as inspiration to built a display of books, audiobooks, and DVDs, both at your library and on social media:

  • May 11: Eat What You Want Day — create a tantalizing display of recipe books for delicious desserts
  • May 16: Biographers Day — display biographies on musicians, and Ron Chernow's Hamilton alongside a CD of the original Broadway cast recording
  • May 17: National Bike To Work Day — bring together bicycle repair books for people who are dusting off a bike that's been in the garage all winter
  • May 23: World Turtle Day — gather materials on both endangered tortoises and even Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles to shellebrate
  • May 24: International Tiara Day — set on the anniversary of the Queen Victoria's birthday, created as a day when everyone who wishes can wear a tiara for a day and feel like royalty; your display could include books featuring queens and princesses alongside DVDs of the TV series Victoria and The Crown
  • May 25: Towel Day — fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series carry a towel in honor of the author Douglas Adams:
    "A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value -- you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal; you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough."   ~ Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hat tip: Mental Floss
Image credit: RitaE from Pixabay

WLA's Leadership Development Institute: Apply by May 31

Wisconsin Library Association's 3rd annual Leadership Development Institute is open to both members and non-members — apply by May 31, 2019 to participate. Thirty participants will be accepted.

The Leadership Development Institute ...

  • provides the tools and insight to improve your leadership effectiveness and help your library respond to a rapidly shifting competitive landscape
  • is designed for those who must think strategically about emerging institutional and informational needs, changing expectations of library leaders, new technologies, and long-range plans for the library
  • curriculum will deepen your insights and broaden your repertoire of useful approaches to leadership
  • provides a valuable opportunity to assess your own leadership strengths and weaknesses in a supportive and engaging learning environment

Date: August 7-9, 2019
Location: Madison Public Library, 201 West Mifflin Street, Madison,WI 53703
Cost: $300 for WLA members; $375 for non-members


  • Winnefox is sponsoring a scholarship for one of our libraries' directors to attend; contact Mark Arend for details.
  • A limited number of scholarships are available through WLA to cover the registration fee; indicate on the application form if you're interested in being considered.

Full details at the WLA website.

image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Free Webinars in May

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.


April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day prank from Kennedy LibraryApril 1st means April Fools’ Day pranks, and libraries are enthusiastic participants sharing whimsey via their websites, Facebook, and other social media. ALA rounds up their favorite lighthearted library pranks and hoaxes each year at American Libraries magazine's April Fools' Day Archives, where you'll find gems like these:

"We are very excited to add an invisibility cloak to our Library of Things collection! This is an incredible opportunity for the community of Hillsboro to try out cutting-edge technology, so be sure get your hold request in soon. You can find it in the catalog here:" [Hillsboro Public Library, 2018]

"Brookfield (Conn.) Library and Sewickley (Pa.) Public Library hosted April Fools’ cupcake decorating programs for teens. Fortunately, both programs made cupcakes that looked like mashed potatoes, popcorn, or peas and carrots, rather than tasted like them." [2012]

Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library announced that their Library of Things had evolved into a new Library of Cats, with apparently a lengthy borrowing period: “Patrons can now borrow a kitten and return a cat.” [2015]

Ride-along-reader. "Enjoy this new Library service launching April 1." [Sacramento Public Library, 2018]Ride-along-reader from Sacramento Public Library, 2018

Here's a bonus I found at Oakfield Public Library's Facebook page via the Cheshire Public Library: Gullible's Travels

Image credits:
• Coffee Banned from Library Premises, Kennedy Library via Flickr, Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic
• Ride-along-reader, Sacramento Public Library via Facebook


Host a Craft Supply Swap

Invite people to get rid of extra craft supplies and pick out something new by hosting a Craft Supply Swap at your library.

Pflugerville Library in Texas held their event last month, and here are guidelines they provided to participants:

  • You will receive tickets by staff based on the value of the items you bring.
    • Bring items that are gently used or new only.
    • If items have been exposed to smoke or pet hair, they need to be labeled as such.
    • Please keep small items, like buttons and beads, or sets of items, like markers and pencils, bagged.
    • Small tools are welcome, but please avoid bringing expensive and/or large machinery (sewing machines, die cutters, etc.)
  • Once you have received your tickets, your items will be grouped with similar items at our different stations.
  • “Shopping” for items with your tickets will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m.
  • If you have items left at the end of the swap, you may take them with your or leave them with staff to be used at the library or donated to Goodwill.

Holding a swap can support recycling, re-inspire local crafters, and bring new people into your library.

And don't forget to create displays of crafting books for attendees to check out!

• Pflugerville Library's Facebook event
• calendar event that includes all their guidelines and full details
photos of the swap

Hat tip: WebJunction's Social Library, Volume 127
Image credit: Pflugerville Library's Facebook post


Star Wars Day is May the 4th

Planning any Star Wars-themed activities for May the 4th ("May the Fourth Be With You") or Revenge of the 5th ("Revenge of the Sith") days?

If so, you may want to check these resources from the Teen Services Underground blog for new program and activity ideas:

Bonus: 21 Star Wars food ideas that are out of this world

Source: Teen Services Underground blog

Subscribe to Front page feed