Online bullying- the post I never wanted to write

As many of you have noticed I’ve taken a pretty big break from blogging. This is mostly due to our moving adventure and a tiny bit due to events that happened in 2016. Every time I go to write a post or blog about a program or book my motivation disappears. I have lots of drafts sitting and waiting for me to post. Part of it is exhaustion and part of it is fear. Fear that I’m just starting to figure out. I know that there will be people who read this and think “good lord woman, get over it already.” This post is not for you. It’s part of the healing process and a way for me to pass on some valuable lessons I have learned about the world of online bullying.

Backstory – *Due to the nature of this attack I am not posting names or specific details

Last year (2016) I was working as a teen librarian in a midwest town. I loved finding ways to make the library an exciting place for our community and I loved programing fun events. Programming (in my opinion) is the best part of being a librarian! Unfortunately, during one of the programs I was helping plan, I became the target of a cyberbully that also took their hate and false information into the community.  The attempt to ruin my reputation and get me fired from my job was malicious. The attempt to bully me into doing what they wanted was also very scary. Because of all of this, I ended up filing a police report and staying off social media for several months.

This attack made me physically sick. It made me not trust anyone I came in contact with. It made me withdraw from social events that I had wanted to attend. It made me question every decision I made. Having your identity attacked and lies spread about your person is shocking and very overwhelming. However, in the midst of all the crazy there were good people who came alongside me and helped me navigate the mess. I also had great advice that I followed that made this a bit easier to deal with when all I wanted to do was all the wrong things.

National Statistics – 

We often hear about cyberbullying as it relates to kids. We don’t really think about it happening to adults or we think that adults are better equipped to handle incidents. Unfortunately that is not always the case. October is National bullying prevention month and the following link has some pretty eye-opening statistics when it comes to adult bullying:

Despite this information there are very few studies in regards to adults. I found scores of great articles for teens and children, but the scholarly information for adults was very thin or unavailable. I did find some advice from the Cyberbulling Reseach Center  and No Bullying that is specific to adults dealing with this problem.

Feeling all the feels-

I hope that you never ever have to go through this, but if you do be prepared for some feelings. I’ve heard that bullying has a few stages that you might go through. For me this was very true. I went through several: Shock,  fear/paranoia, anger, revenge, and distrust.

Shock- You are going to likely feel blindsided by what is said to you. Online bullying tends to be way more malicious than when someone confronts you face to face. It’s easy to hide behind a computer and say things that you would never say to someone in person. There is also a sense of detachment and a lack of consequences for bad behavior. It can completely throw you for a loop when an someone turns on you.

Fear- The nature of the attacks can be very hurtful and vicious. It is normal to feel afraid especially if you are unsure who the attacker actually is. NEVER let anyone try to convince you that your fears are wrong or that “it’s fine and don’t worry.” Especially if the attacks are threats against your safety. Involve the authorities if you are feeling unsafe in your surroundings. If the attack happens at work or is affecting your job, let your supervisor know and make sure that HR is in on the details.

Anger and Revenge– Trust me when I say this you are going to get mad. It’s human nature to get defensive when someone is attacking who we are or saying horrible lies about our person. You might even consider revenge or posting a nasty response. As angry as you are (I get it, I was in the same place) DO NOT post that nasty response. Online bullies expect to get a rise out of you. They want you to post that nasty comment back. Then they can use that as fuel to keep the attack going or twist your words to make it worse. As much as it goes against what you are feeling do not respond. I repeat do not respond. This was the best thing that I did.

Distrust– It might take you a while to trust people again. I know that I have periods still (a year later) where I don’t trust anyone I meet. My advice is to talk to someone. A  family member or friend can be a start. If the feelings are getting worse or you are finding yourself depressed please seek out professional help. This is a great site to find help in your area: Find a Therapist

10 things to help deal with Cyberbullying: 

This graphic from the Cyberbullying Research Center has great advice and tips on how to navigate this issue:

Other Advice that helped me-

One of the best pieces of advice I recieved was to get offline. I found myself constantly checking and rechecking every site that had things posted about me. I was getting stressed out and very upset. I decided to turn over all of my social media accounts to my husband and a trusted friend so they could monitor and screen shot any further abuse. I had them change my passwords so I could not log in to any of my social media accounts. I ended up taking a break for several months. Friends, this saved my sanity. It helped me work through the feelings I was having and helped me deal with the issue. It also got me away from all the crap that was happening online and away from the temptation to respond. Taking a break lets you think about things logically and make decisions that are not totally based on emotion. Taking a break also gets you away from the nasty and lets you focus on the good.

Responses that I was not prepared for-

Here is an ugly truth. You are going to get responses from people that just don’t care, don’t want to get involved, or just plain don’t believe you. It will hurt, especially if it comes from someone you thought you could trust. This is why you need to be careful who you talk to. Because my bully(ies)  took it to the community, I had many people approach me about wanting details. I did my best not to say names and to keep it factual or refrain from discussing the incident at all. But, I’m also human and few times the emotion and that need to defend myself won out. Especially when I got told that because I didn’t defend myself online then the rumors and lies must be true.

Look, you can’t please everyone and that sucks. It’s easy to want everyone to like us and believe us. Remember what I said above and the advice from the links. Attempting to defend yourself online can take an ugly turn and make it much worse. Plus, those people who don’t believe you or who are victim blaming don’t need to be in your life. It is much better for your heart and mind if you can limit their access to you. As much as it hurts you need walk away, set boundaries, or cut them out. If you have a counselor or therapist, discuss ways you can navigate these kinds of people. Remember you are worth protecting!

Final thoughts- 

After this incident I am much more aware of things that I post online. I also am working on limiting my consumption of social media. Especially the kind that is full of drama. I have deleted a few of my online profiles and walked away from Twitter and Tumblr to further distance myself from the constant negativity. I’m not saying that this is right for everyone. Social Media has its good points. However, it can also get ugly pretty quick. As a final note here is a link of ways to Prevent online bullying: Adult Bullying Prevention 

I hope that this never happens to any of you. If you are here because you have been bullied, I hope these tips help you get on the path to healing. Also, I am so sorry. Consider yourself virtually hugged. Finally, if you are at the end of your rope there are people out there who are willing to listen. Reach out. Your life is worth it and you are worth it.

 

Blogging Break

As I’m sure you have figured out, I am on a bit of a break. We have moved twice in six months and I have been dealing with my own health issues as well as a terminally ill pet. I needed to take a break from blogging. I will be back soon. Best wishes and thank you for being such patient followers! Until I’m back here are three blogs that I highly recommend:

The Green Bean Teen Queen: My former supervisor and brilliant blogger extraordinaire!

http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com/

Tween you & Me: A fantastic blog dedicated to tween publishing and programming. Pamela is awesome!

http://tweenlibrarian.blogspot.com/

The Ramblings of a Jedi Librarian: Lots of wonderful geeky reviews! One of my personal favorites!

https://minavilly.wordpress.com/

 

Sincerely-

MsVal

Leaving a job you love

 

Leaving a job that you love can be daunting. How do you say goodbye? How do you move on? I just left my Teen Library job in January and I thought I would share some things that I did to help me move on and to help the teens transition to a new librarian.

Some background: I worked at the library for 3 years. Two of them as the teen librarian. I had gotten pretty attached to the kids and I knew that it would be hard to say goodbye. I had worked hard to build a thriving teen area in our library and our Teen Advisory Board had grown quite a bit since I started. My teens were instrumental in helping me make positive changes in our branch and getting their friends to come to programs. I’m really proud of the TAB members and their dedication to making the library a great hang out spot for their peers. If I had to be happy about leaving, at least I was leaving on an upward trend.

Blogs and sites with great advice: 

I asked for some advice on Teen Services Underground and got some good ideas on how to start my transition. One of my favorite bloggers The Magpie Librarian has a great post about leaving your library. While our reasons for leaving are different (my husband got a job out of state), I still found her advice on point. Check out her post: On Leaving your Library.

One of my favorite points from her entry is to “create an “I’m Leaving” elevator speech. Trust me, you will need this. You will get asked by lost of people including patrons why you are leaving. It can become very exhausting to offer a lengthy explanation each time. My response varied depending on the person.

Patron Response“My husband got a job in another state. It’s a really great opportunity for him and while I’m sad to leave a job that I love, I think it will be a great fresh start for the both of us. Besides, Colorado is beautiful!” 

This response kept things positive and upbeat. I used this on adult patrons and parent’s of the teens I worked with. It summed up the reasons without giving too much away. If they had further questions I could respond or walk away as needed if I was busy.

Co-Worker Response– ” My husband got a job in another state. It’s a really great opportunity for him. I’m really going to miss working here. You have taught me so much (if this was a mentor). I’m thankful I got to work with such a great staff.”  (This is just a short example)

Be sure to thank co-workers who have mentored you. I worked for a huge system so it was hard to get to everyone before I left. Send cards or personal emails. Make a point to visit with staff that you are close with and have those “hey you’re an awesome person and thank you” conversations. I also sent a goodbye email to our branch and to the youth staff. If you want to stay in touch be sure to include your new contact information.

Here is another blog with great career advice and some good words about some of the responses you might need to prepare for when you announce that you’re leaving: Resignation After-Effects

Telling the Teens: Be prepared for the feels… 

So for this part I’m going to tell you what I did and what I wish I had done differently. My husband left for his job the first week of January. We knew in December that this was happening. I thought that it would be a good idea to tell my supervisors that I was leaving as soon as possible so they were prepared. Everyone knew I was leaving for about 2 months. If I had to do this again I would have waited a bit longer. While it was great for transitioning the teens (more later), it sucked having the “oh your leaving” conversation for 2 months straight. It wore me out emotionally and physically.

What worked:

I told my TAB kids in December. I wanted to wait, but one of the kids found out through social media. His sister had aged out of the teen program and we are friends on Facebook. (she’s now in her 20’s) He convinced me that it would be better to tell everyone now than wait until the rumors got started. It turned out to be a good thing.

Let me tell you this was the hardest conversation I have ever had with my teens. They were shocked and I did tear up a bit. I managed to not sob and I was very thankful that my volunteer was with me to help explain things and pass out Kleenex. I let them know that my hubby had gotten a job and we were moving to a new state. I told them that they were wonderful kids and that I would miss them so much. I also told them how proud I was to be their librarian. I listed all the awesome accomplishments we had as a TAB group and then let them ask me questions.

  • Be honest– They can handle things better than you might think.
  • Be prepared for a range of emotions– I was surprised by the sheer amount of tears from my teens. Totally not expected. A few were mad. One had to leave the room. Let them deal with their emotions as long as they are being mature. You might have teen that rages about never coming back to the library. Let them rage. Then remind them that there are other awesome librarians that care about them. You might also get a ton of hugs!
  • Tell them as soon as you can- I’m so glad I gave the kids 2 months to prepare. I had time to transition them to the new librarian. I also had a chance to ask them what they wanted from the new staff. They gave me honest and thoughtful answers and came up with a list of things they liked and didn’t like about the current program. One of my teens even wrote a letter of recommendation for one of the librarians applying for my position. It was adorable and I think it helped her get the job!! I also had time to visit my outreach schools and break the news. I was able to talk to almost all of my kids before I left so there were no surprises. I know that my transition time was pretty unusual and the typical time is a few weeks at best. Go with what works for you.
  • Let them throw a party– You might be shy or uncomfortable with parties. Teens are not. Having a going away party with your teens is a wonderful way to close doors and help them move on. It also lets them do something for you. My teens planned a snack night glitter fest. It was epic! We had a blast and no one left in tears. It was a happy celebration of my time with them and I love every second of it. (even though I’m still finding glitter in odd places)
  • Decide how to keep in contact– My teens knew that once they graduated from High School they could friend me on Facebook. By that time they are “adulty-ish” enough to make their own decisions. They can however, follow me on Twitter or Instagram since most of my posts are library or book related and not very personal. All of my TAB kids have my email and only 2 kids had my cell #.  This is because I helped them out at school functions and speech and debate tournaments. You decide what works for you. I got a ton of messages at first and now I only hear from 2 kids on a regular basis. I’m very thankful that they seem to be moving on. (only a tiny bit sad) Some kids need that connection, but it’s okay to say no or set up a side email if you are not comfortable.

Things I would change and things that surprised me:

  • Time- Honestly, 2 months was good in some respects and sucked in others. If I had to do it over I would have waited another month. There were some teens that were sad every time they came in during that time frame. They cried a lot. It was an emotional ride for everyone. I think it also got exhausting for co-workers. I got sick of having the “why are you leaving” conversation and I know they got tired of hearing it. After about a month I was ready to move on and unable to do so because I was packing my house and I needed the extra paycheck. Thankfully, I have some amazing co-workers who were super supportive during the whole transition.
  • My emotional responses– I was an emotional wreck and exhausted. My hubby was in Denver and I was dealing with the house and closing everything down alone. I barely cried and held it all in. IT’S OK TO BE SAD! Crying is not a weakness. Just pick and choose your moments carefully. Sobbing in the stacks in front of patrons might not be a wise choice. Go for a walk and let some of those bottled up emotions out. Take deep breaths. Get plenty of sleep. Transitions and moves are high on the stress list. Self care is critical.
  • Dealing with angry teens– While one of my kids came around and understood why I had to leave, another never came back. I wish I had stepped away from my group and had a conversation with them right then. I thought they would come back and I would get another chance to chat with them. I was not prepared for how angry some of the teens would feel. If I had thought about it sooner I might have been a bit more prepared for that response. I also realized that in the end I could not take it personally. You never know what it going on in their lives. Just knowing that anger and yelling was a possibility would have helped me prepare a response rather than standing there in shock.
  • Negative patron responses– I was pretty tied to the community through my involvement/creation of LibraryCon. I was not expecting that some of them would take it as a personal affront that I would no longer be involved in this program. In the end I had to let it roll off my back. You can’t make everyone happy.

Ultimately how you say goodbye to a wonderful job is up to you. I wrote this to share some of the things I encountered when leaving. Most of them were good and I only had a few moments of “wow.” Which is pretty much the joy of working with the public! I am thankful that my job was supportive of my long term resignation. I’m also thankful that my teens took it well and helped the library hire an amazing new teen librarian!

Final thoughts- Don’t forget to take care of yourself and let some of those emotions out. Leaving a job is hard even if you are ready to go. I hope this post helps. Is there anything that I missed? Do you have good advice for leaving? Please link me up or add comments below.

 

 

 

 

Geekarella- By Ashley Poston

GeekerellaGeekerella by Ashley Poston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Sometimes you need a book that is lots of fun, a little unbelievable, and utterly charming! Geekerella is that book.

Cinderella is re-imagined as the ultimate fangirl with a wicked stepmother and posh upscale wannabe stepsisters. Elle, is a Starfield superfan and a devoted blogger. When she is not slaving away under the critical eye of her step-monster, she is dreaming and plotting her way to freedom and her own happy ending. When she gets a chance to enter a cosplay contest dressed as her favorite character from her beloved fandom she decides to go all out. Even if it means meeting the new star of the show that is way to perfect to be real.

Darien Freeman is an up and coming teen star with a secret geeky past. When he gets the lead role in the new Starfield reboot he is both thrilled and terrified. Can he win over the mega fans and do the character justice? Or will the blogger world, his controlling father, and one creepy stalker, ruin his chance to play his all time favorite character on screen?

What I liked:

This book was fun. I really needed it to be fun, silly, a bit romantic, and to hit me in the geek girl feels. It happens to do all three. I like that this book is lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The romance is predictable and it has it’s cheesy moments, but that is what I wanted as a reader. It’s a fun nerdy twist to the well known Cinderella story and I had fun suspending my belief and enjoying it from a fangirl’s point of view.

What came a bit short:

It is a bit predictable, which some readers might not like. It doesn’t break any new ground and it tends to be a little bit silly with the giant pumpkin food truck. But I didn’t find them to be big flaws. Just something other readers might not enjoy.

Final thoughts and recommendations:

This book is just fun. It’s silly and full of geeky references and has a cute made for the movies romance. Think “Princess Diaries” and “A Cinderella Story.” I had a lot of fun reading it and I think teens looking for a fun lighthearted book about what it means to be a fan with a light romance and some silly humor would enjoy this book! It’s going on my list of Great Geeky Reads at our library!

View all my reviews

Zombie Apocalypse Live Action Game – Set up

What do you do when you have an epic discussion about the zombie apocalypse with your Teen Advisory Board,  that leads to talking about real life scenarios and a “would you survive discussion?” You create a live action role playing game!

My TAB group has been more or less zombie crazed for the better part of a year. All of them have been begging for some kind of role playing game that involves taking over a large section of the library. After much discussion and a well thought out proposal from one of the girls, the Zombie Apocalypse program was born. My only request was that they plan the entire program from start to finish and help me with clean-up. This is the first program we have planned together as a group and I am super proud of how it all turned out. It took us 6 months and they all learned something about what it takes to run a library program. Needless to say, we will be doing this again very soon!

This was a monster huge program with a ton of prep work. I am breaking down the posts into a few parts. For this round I will walk you through the set-up.

Basic game outline for 30-40 teens:

  • Collect enough supplies for your team: Food, Water, Medicine
  • Build a shelter that will fit your entire team and get it approved by the Zombie Master (librarian)
  • Avoid zombies!

Space: 

We used 3 large rooms and our outdoor patio. If you are able to do this after hours you can use the entire library! This can be scaled up or down depending on the size of your group. I will explain why 40 teens was a bit much later on.

Supplies:

  • Instructions for players
  • Lots of empty cereal boxes, cracker boxes, etc..
  • Empty water bottles, empty gallon water jugs
  • Note cards to go inside boxes and jugs
  • Small empty boxes or old microfilm containers for med kits
  • Bandages- Torn strips of white cloth
  • Pool Noodle shooters- Pom, Poms, Pool noodles, Balloons, rubber bands
  • Socks
  • Giant Pom Poms
  • Smarties or Nerds
  • Bags to carry their loot
  • Boxes of all sizes- the bigger the better!
  • Other building supplies- Foam blocks, pool noodles, blankets
  • The Game Operation or Trouble
  • Glow stick bracelets blue- Dollar Store
  • Glow stick necklaces green-Dollar Store
  • Lots of bright green stickers- Think garage sale stickers
  • Funny signs
  • Tables for the Medical Station and General store
  • Pop-Ice and lots of water for players
  • Staff- We had 5 staff for 40 kids and could have used a few more people
  • Fans- it gets hot!

The set up: 

You will need to do lots of prep work for this game. This is a survival game that requires players to gather food, water, and medical supplies. They also have to build a shelter for their group. Start having library staff save food boxes, water bottles and jugs, and boxes of all sizes for shelters.

Food supplies:

We save boxes like cereal, Cheez-its, Mac and Cheese, Pop-Tarts, etc. Each box would feed a certain amount of people. We wrote the number on the outside of the boxes.

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Water supplies: 

You will need single serving water bottles and gallon jugs. Try to avoid Milk jugs for obvious grossness. The single bottle will water one person and gallon jugs will water the whole team. We used more of the single water bottles in the game and limited the amount of gallon jugs.

The evil supply twist:

Here is where you get to have some  fun. My teens decided that this needed to be as realistic as possible and very survival based. They determined that based on movies and books, not all the supplies would be safe to use. Food could be spoiled, water could be contaminated, Med supplies could give you the zombie virus; nothing is really safe! So, inside each box and taped to the outside of each bottle and jug were instructions such as:

  • Food has been contaminated. Go to the Med Station and do a task to get well.
  • Water has been contaminated. Eat smarties to cure yourself and purify the water.
  • While scrounging for food you broke your leg. Use the bandages on one leg and limp for the rest of the game.
  • Rats ate all of your food. Discard all your boxes and go get more supplies.
  • This box of food was poisoned. The whole team must go to the Med station for a cure.
  • Your water is safe!

You can get really creative with these. My volunteer and I had a blast thinking up clever demises for each box. We also made the choice to have single water bottles be the only safe thing in the game. Gallon jugs could water the whole team, but often came with a nasty surprise! In addition, the only safe food boxes were Cheeze-its.

Instructions on outside of jug

Instructions on outside of jug

Bags to carry supplies: 

You know those bags you get at conferences? This is perfect use for them. Each team got a bag to cart around supplies while they were building their shelter. You could also use paper or plastic bags.

Why my teens are obsessed with Cheeze-its and Sam’s club:

My teens are hilarious and we have lots of food based conversations. Somehow in the midst of discussing survival, Cheeze-its became a viable food source that can partially cure the zombie virus. I blame Dan who is one of my awesome teens who has since graduated and moved on to bigger and better adventures. #dansclubforever

She suggested that Sam’s Club would be the one stop shop for surviving the zombie apocalypse. The reason: Zombies can’t get Sam’s Club cards. At this moment my TAB group invented Dan’s Club (in honor of Dan). It’s also, the only surviving store in the apocalypse.  Each team would have to get a Dan’s club card at some point during the game. There would be a Dan’s Club store in one of the rooms where teams could use their card to “buy” supplies. Once at the store, they would have to complete tasks given to them by Dan to get much needed supplies. Tasks included:

  • Saying the alphabet backwards
  • Patting their heads and rubbing their tummies while standing on one foot
  • Doing the YMCA
  • Doing the Chicken Dance
This is Dan's Club

This is Dan’s Club. Yes, she has a selfie stick…

Dan decided to walk around in a Dan’s Club box during part of the game passing out Dan’s club Membership cards. Teens would have to brave the zombies and get a card to shop at the standing store. Here is a link to the card she created: (yes the spelling is bad- because spelling is not important during the apocalypse!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7VP2WdERAeRaUY2X1BBYUFFM21ZMDZtNGEtdEtQLTBCeVlV/view?usp=sharing

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Having a “store” helped. Otherwise we were hiding supplies in the rooms and hoping that teens wouldn’t hoard things. (we were very very wrong) I will explain more in the game play post.

Med-Kits:

We happened to have a ton of leftover microfilm canisters that were perfect for Med kits. Inside we put a few cloth bandage strips (old t-shirts, sheets, etc..) and a few packages of smarties. One kit was enough for the whole team unless they got a defective kit. We did not tell them what the smarties were for (purifying contaminated water) so this messed up a few teams who ate them immediately! I decorated the outside like this:

img_7297

You can also use small boxes or paper bags. Some of the kits were empty and some kits had the note that said:

  • This kit is contaminated with the Zombie virus. Your whole team now has the virus. Head to the Med Station for cures.

Shelter: 

Each team had to build a shelter that would fit everyone on their team. Once it was built they had to get it approved by the Zombie Master (the librarian or one of the other staff). Approved shelters got a giant blue sticker. You could also use small flags or even a brightly colored sheet of paper to show that the shelter is approved.

Collect tons of boxes for this part. The bigger the better. We also used pool noodles, foam computer box inserts, and blankets. We did not give them tape. My teens decided that “there is no tape in the apocalypse.” I personally loved this idea, because otherwise it would be a tape nightmare. This also forces them to be super creative when building.

Defense: 

img_7299

Pom Pom Shooters

My teens decided that Nerf guns are evil and would cause nightmares for this event. (I silently cheered because they were totally right). They decided that the following items would be safe for weapons:

  • Zombies could be stunned but not killed by using a “weapon”
  • To stun a zombie for 10 seconds- hit them with the following items
    • rolled up clean socks
    • Pom Pom shooters – Instructions here
    • Giant sparkly Pom Poms- Find them here (I have had these for 2 years. I found them on sale at Joanns)

This worked out really well. We had a few assembled shooters and then hid a few kits around the game area. We also hid the Giant pom poms and socks. All of the items were soft and didn’t hurt when you threw them at other players. Trust me we had a whole meeting devoted to testing this out! If you can’t afford the shooters or the giant pom poms the socks are a super cheap alternative.

Zombies: 

Zombies wore a green glow stick necklace. Their job was to tag players using bright green stickers. Zombies had a limited number of stickers for each game. They could only tag players on their back, shoulders, or arms. When they ran out of stickers they just walked around and moaned or knocked over shelters that were still being built.

Med Station & The Cure: 

We decided that we needed a med station in the middle of the room. We used three tables and kept med kits and cures at the table. Two volunteers ran this area and I would advise more if you have a large group. When teens got notes from supplies or were tagged by Zombie they headed to the Med Station. At the station, they had to complete tasks to get Med Kits or the cure. My teens thought that the game “Operation” would be perfect as one of the tasks. You had to get 3 pieces out without setting off the buzzer for the cure.

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We put the cures in a paper towel tube and covered the ends. The cure consisted of a blue glow-stick bracelet. Once they got the cure they had to activate the bracelet and wear it for the remainder of the game. My teens made a rule that if they got tagged again while wearing the bracelet they immediately became a zombie. This was a bad idea. I will tell you why in the next post. There were only two cures out in the wild for players to find during each round. One only contained a pencil- no cure!

If their supplies had made them sick they had to do other tasks to get better or sit out of the game for 2 minutes.

Water station: 

Have lots of water and cups for your teens. They will get thirsty from running around. We had a water station in a corner and they could stop and get water or take a break if needed. Zombies could not tag anyone or wait for them outside the station. This was the neutral zone!

Decorations:

Break out the Halloween stuff and make your rooms look zombified! My teens decided to skip this part and only made a few posters for Dan’s club. It actually worked well for us and made clean up easier.

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Final thoughts: 

This is a lot of prep but totally worth it! We used a ton of recycled supplies and spent only $15! Next up, I will run through game play and include a link to the printouts I created for the game.

 

 

See you at ALA!

 

Are you headed to ALA Orlando? Come see our presentation “Geeky Programming on a Ramen Noodle Budget!” Sarah and I are super excited to share all about the budget friendly programs we host at our library. We will also share about LibraryCon 2015  and update you on all the new ideas we have for our now annual summer event!

Geeky Programming on a Ramen Noodle Budget

Sunday, June 26
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Orange County Convention Center, Room S320 G-H

Do you shop at the Dollar Store to make your resources stretch? Do you repeat the same crafts for every program you do? Do you want to provide excellent programs for teens using the budget and resources you already have at your disposal? This program will give examples of how one library used a small budget and lots of creativity to provide geektastic programs-from monthly geeky fandom events to a library-wide ComicCon.

Meeting Type: Program

Interests: Young Adult Services, Youth Services

Type of Library: Public

Sponsors: YALSA

Cost: Included with full conference registration.

Speaker(s)

  • SB

    Sarah Bean Thompson

    Youth Services Manager
    Springfield-Greene County Library
    Springfield, Missouri

  • VB

    Valerie Bogert

    Young Adult Librarian
    Springfield-Greene County Library
    Springfield, Missouri

Hobbit Day

This week I am playing catch up on what we have been programming in the library. I have several fun and low cost programs to share with my readers. Feel free to use the ideas at your own library!

My favorite program besides Star Wars Reads Day has to be Hobbit Day. We received a lovely party package from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that made the day even more special. Alas, it was also the last movie from the world of Tolkien (cue sad face) and we wanted to go out with a bang. I partnered with the lovely Miss A who moonlights as our tween librarian, and together we rocked the Shire library style. We also quickly learned that we should never be allowed to work together on anything because I think there was more giggling than actual progress. There was also a fair amount of party Thranduil memes being sent back and forth but I digress..

Our patrons had a blast and we had a wonderful family stay the entire time and call around inviting their friends to join them. The only downside is that I didn’t get more pictures of the event. We were so busy with the quest that I left my camera in my pocket the whole time!

Hobbit party an all ages program:

We decided that this should be an all ages event and hit up Pinterest for some ideas. There are lots of people that have done some amazing birthday parties around all things LOTR. This was our favorite and the inspiration for most of our party: LOTR Party

We used the biggest room in the library and turned it into a mini quest. When the children walked in the they chose whether they wanted to be a Hobbit, an Elf, or a Dwarf. Each race was represented by a different colored leaf with a name written on it. They could tape it on their shirt or wear it as a necklace. They also received the “One ring.”  Once they had those things they started on their quest. The quest was marked by brown paper “stones” with arrows pointing in the right direction.

The Rings

We made these out of paper towel tubes and painted them gold. I used a sharpie to write some squiggles on the sides for the dark writing.

Stop #1- The Dead Marshes

deadmarshes

Children had to walk through the treacherous marshes using the secret path. I used some blue bulletin board paper, paper stepping stones, fake and real plants, and lots of leaves. We didn’t want to make it too scary for the little guys.

Stop #2- Shoot the bad guys!

We set up a shooting gallery with the bad guy characters from both LOTR and the Hobbit. Miss A turned the extra scary looking orcs into party orcs with bow-ties and silly hats. The kids then got to either throw rocks at them (giant puff balls) or shoot them with Legolas’s bow. Most of them tried both and there were lots of cheers when they knocked them off the mountain.

Stop #3 – Shelobe’s Lair

For this stop we covered two tables with black sheets and added some spider web and fake spiders. Inside the lair were a bunch of spider eggs (Easter eggs) that either had a spider ring or a bit of web. The kids had to crawl inside and find an egg. When they came out the other side they opened it up and found out if they were safe (spider web) or if they had gotten bit by the spiders (spider ring). If they were bitten they had to be wrapped in toilet paper (web)  before they could continue their journey. This was the second most popular stop and there were lots of giggles.

Stop #4- Riddles in the Dark

I made a guessing game using old jean pockets and filled them with random items. The kids had to feel the outside of the pocket and see if they could guess what was inside.

Stop #5- Mount Doom

hobbitday

 

Once they got to this stop they had to toss their gold rings into the fires of Mount Doom to save all of Middle Earth. After they had destroyed the ring they got a poster of Gandalf and a ring bookmark to take home. We built the volcano using two huge flower pots and brown paper. We added some red and orange tissue paper and streamers for the lava. The kids really loved it. It ended up being a photo stop for the parents.

After the quest they could do more activities that were set up around the room. We had match the actors to the Dwarves, make a shield, Hobbit trivia, and lots of puzzles and games. We also had music from the movies playing the background.

We had lots of people come and go and it was a very successful party with not a lot of expense. If you are thinking about hosting one of these parties and need some of the trivia questions or puzzles you can find them here:

http://hmhbooks.com/hmh/site/hobbit/home/hobbitday/