I don’t know about your library, but in my high school library, crafts are king. After a stressful day, there is nothing students like to do better than to relax and use their hands to create in a group of friends. When we did our Hunger Games Party on the Friday of the movie premiere, the most popular station was the Hunger Games nail art and Capitol makeup, where over 100 students got themselves all gussied up – and then went to the movie that way!

So when I considered tying into Teen Read Week, I thought that, in addition to my displays and a horror movie night, I would add in a few crafts afternoons on our early dismissal days. What should I focus on?

With Halloween around the corner and with our kids loving to observe the dressing up tradition (since it gets them out of dress code for the day and it’s fun), having a costume brainstorm/work day session is a great start. “Design Your Halloween Costume @ your library” will have me linking to a page of resources and have a variety of costuming and dramatic makeup books out for perusal. Martha Stewart Living magazine is a terrific starting point for thinking about possible costumes, with a slideshow of 33 costumes and links to how to do them. I have bought the special Halloween issue for several years and save them to bring out in October for inspiration (our school’s Baking Club particularly loves looking at them).

Introducing students to Pinterest (if they aren’t already on there) is a great idea, if just to have them browse the best homemade costume boards which link to DIY blogs and websites. I usually ask our maintenance and dining hall staff to save the bigger boxes the school receives so students can use them for inspiration and raw materials, giving that cardboard one more incarnation before recycling. While you are on Pinterest, take a look at the Teen Read Week board for further inspiration!

halloween skull nail art

Skull Nail Art Photo by Courtney Rhodes, Creative Commons license

I cannot emphasize enough the huge popularity of nail art among the age group I serve. This past week we decided to gear up for our big fundraiser dress down day where all proceeds go to Breast Cancer research and awareness charities, and had a “Paint Your Nails Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness” after school. I ended up keeping the library open later since over 40 students painted their nails every shade of pink you can imagine (including some boys, cajoled by friends into getting a nail done to show their support). There are terrific sites about doing Halloween themed nail art and an investment of $30 to $50 dollars can get you some terrific nail colors, remover and pads, some toothpicks and pens, and the ever-vital drying spray (I use OPI’s which is pricey at around $19.95 but lasts forever). Pinterest boards and YouTube have dozens of videos, so don’t feel like you have to be the expert. Kids are happy to watch the videos and experiment. You’ll be using these supplies for a couple of years, I guarantee you, just note that the fumes are distinctive, so you might want to guarantee good ventilation.

No matter your budget or your brainstorming ideas, the idea of the library as a learning commons where great ideas are discovered and acted upon can be a key focus for theme weeks like Teen Read Week, and crafting is an accessible, attractive starting points for a lot of teens. Happy Teen Read Week and happy crafting!!

Courtney L. Lewis, Director of Libraries, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA and Teen Read Week 2012 Committee Member.


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5 Thoughts on “Teen Read Week Ideas: Crafting “It Came From the Library!”

  1. LOVE the idea for the Breast Cancer Awareness event. Will definitely be using this, Courtney.

  2. Crafts are huge in my library, too! Have you seen the Teen Collaborative Board on Pinterest? http://pinterest.com/heather_booth/teen-programming-in-libraries-a-collaborative-boar/

  3. OMG – I love that collaborative board, April! Totally one I subscribe to. And if anyone is interested in more details about the Breast Cancer “Paint Your Nails Pink” Day, I’ve got more details on my blog. http://thesassylibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/10/paint-your-nails-pink-in-honor-of.html

  4. Alison Ernst on October 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm said:

    Courtney, as per usual, you totally rock with these Teen Read Week ideas. Bravo!

  5. This is a brilliant thing to do with your users! Crafting in the library changes the dynamic of how the library interacts with teens and helps these teens create their own knowledge, not just soaking it in like more traditional means of learning in the library. Having different craft events on a regular basis I think helps make the library a dynamic place to be and I am sure helps to keep teens and their families engaged and coming back for more!

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