Friday, February 21, 2014

Re-purposing Program Supplies

We are having a interesting set of discussions this week on whether money is the most important factor in driving program success.  One part of the discussion involves the wealth of program supplies we tend to accumulate over the years. Here are a few great ideas from the class on what to do with them!

  • Never throwing anything out helps, too. Successful programs can develop from a stray thought and a well-stocked supply cabinet/closet/room. Years ago, we spent $20 on a huge supply of mat board scraps from a framing shop; we are still using them for so many crafts, such as bases for Box Cities (or its companion, Build a Castle).
  •  In fact, one of the most popular events the last library I worked for put on was a seasonal “craft day” where we set out different crafts left over from past programs. Each child got a set number of tickets to “buy” different crafts. Children could select crafts, two at a time, they wanted to make. The library also provided all the materials necessary to make each craft (glue, crayons, scissors, etc.) at tables so that everyone could select their crafts, spread out, and create.
  • We end every SRP with a Craft Smorgasbord Night, which is, you guessed it, stations set up with leftovers, and the kids can move around and do as many as they want!  They LOVE it ,and never complain that they "already did that one before."  Talk about a cheap, fun, non-labor-intensive program!  It is my favorite, but then, I am a tight wad!  :-)
  • I started a program called Art a la Carte for the same reason. When I started at my current job, there was an enormous amount of leftover craft materials. I used what I could in storytimes, but if there weren't quite enough kits for 3 storytime offerings/week, I would offer them in the Art a la Carte program and they would be snapped up. I'm now investing in supplies vs. premade kit materials and doing more open ended projects that require less time and energy on my part. Process not product!  It's totally self-directed. I lay out a "buffet" of supplies and let patrons go at it. It's also for all ages, not just K-6, so I have parents bring in their little ones, teens, and even adults rifling through stuff to create something. It's AWESOME. :) The only prep work I have is to get the stuff out and make sure if there's any chance a super mess could happen that I throw tablecloths on the tables!
  • Our team as a whole is very creative when it comes to saving money and making things out of what we have. I can get very crafty to come up with crafts, or sometimes for storytimes, I go through the closet, see what we have, come up with a craft and base that days theme on what i came up with.
How about you? Do you find another purpose for all those odds and ends?

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

1 comment:

  1. I use Pinterest, Facebook groups, and PUBYAC for ideas. If I have a ton of something and don't know what to do I ask for help with fellow children's librarian pioneers!