The library I work in is on a very busy side of town. Our tweens tend to become very involved in after school activities and homework during the school year. While they still use the library, they tend to be here for tutoring, homework help, or just running in quickly to grab a book. Sometimes our programming for tweens can be hit or miss. But one thing that has become a popular hit with our school age group are passive programs.’ We put out passive programs several times a year and these are great for tweens on the go who only have a few minutes to spend with a program. A few of our recent ideas:


This has become a holiday tradition for both Halloween and Christmas. Many years ago the library received a Madeline dollhouse that my staff transform into a large I Spy House. The interior changes every year with new items to find. Sometimes it’s a list of items, sometimes it’s a puzzle with rhyming text, but no matter what the tweens love searching for all the times and seeing how fast they can find everything. Here’s a peek at what our Halloween house looks like this year:

I Spy House


Our tweens love scavenger hunts. They would do them all day if we had enough! We tie scavenger hunts into a lot of our programs because of their popularity. I’ve used them for our Hobbit Birthday celebration (find the hidden Hobbits around the library) or to kick off summer reading program (find the pyramids using various clues).

What I love about scavenger hunts is that it’s a tricky way to teach the tweens about the library. We recently made a scavenger hunt modeled after Upstart’s Duck Duck Dewey Game. We took pictures of each of the subject themed ducks and hide them on the shelf in each of the dewey locations. We then created a sheet that showed a variety of book covers they might find in each subject and the picture of the duck that matched with a short description about what that duck liked to read about. Tweens had to then write down what Dewey number they found the books. So many of our patrons commented that they loved this scavenger hunt because it helped them learn where to find books.

Passive programs work well for our tween audience and the tweens get really excited about discovering what’s new at the library. What are some of your favorite passive programs for tweens?

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts?’  The’ YALSA Blog‘ and the’ ALSC Blog‘ both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens.‘ 

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