Throughout the week we will be bringing you some highlights from some of the programs we attended at NYLA this past week. Up first was a program sponsored by YSS!
Molly Chatt of the East Greenbush Community Library and Ann-Marie Helldorfer of the William K Sanford Town Library shared after school programming that has worked in the their libraries. They admit that this time of the day is sometimes difficult for programming. A younger patron has just had a full day of teachers, school, play time and brain power. Now they come into your library and may not want to think! Both Chatt and Greenbush offer the advice to try different things. What is working at the library down the street may not work for you. Sometimes if you find something that works one week may not work six months later. You will find that experimentation is key when it comes to after school clubs and programming.
They also offer the advice to not over plan. Sometimes if you plan something that needs an exact amount of people and you get either a larger or smaller group things might have to change on the spot. If you keep it general like "After School Craft Club: come get creative at the library on Tuesday from 4-5PM" you aren't locked into doing one particular concrete idea. There are also easy programs like Lego Club where kids can come and build away. You can give them a theme if you like or make it free construction time where they get to put their creativity and engineering skills to good use. They also offered the advice that these clubs can take time to build up. If you get only four people in attendance first starting out that's fantastic! You can grow from there.
One idea they shared that stood out for me was for book release parties. Keep your eye on Amazon's "Coming Soon" sections for both Children and Teens and plan accordingly. Get copies of older books by the author, earlier books in the series if it applies, and read-a-likes for display and borrowing. At the program you can play games and create crafts based on whatever title you are celebrating. One thing the librarians recommended were going to publisher websites and seeing what their educator sections offer when it comes to activities and print-outs. Below I have compiled a list of links for publisher educator and librarian guides for your own after school exploration!