Sunday, July 28, 2013

Program: Family Racetrack

The last few months have been a bit tumultuous at work - we've had quite a few staff members leave. Some retiring, some moving on to other places, etc. Basically, we have a new staff. Some of these staff changes occurred after we already had summer programming planned. This means that new staff had to fill in for programs already scheduled that they weren't originally attached to. This, our first Saturday morning program of the summer, was one of those programs. Originally scheduled and planned by a different staff member, I volunteered to take charge of it after she left the library. I offered because I already knew I'd be working that Saturday (being one of only two Saturdays in the month of June that I could work) and I knew that the program wouldn't really take a lot of planning on my part. This was the second time we'd run this program, so I had an idea of what it would be like. The only aspect of the program I was truly nervous about was the attendance number. As I mentioned, it was our first Saturday morning program of the summer, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Saturdays are usually not as busy during the summer but would it be a different story if we were offering a program? Since I wasn't sure how many people would show up, I began to get worried about our supplies. Would we have enough?

The program itself is tremendously simple. We provided flat pieces of cardboard and a variety of cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towel, wrapping paper, etc.), as well as glue, tape, scissors, checkered paper and stickers for decoration. Then we just let everyone go crazy. This is a family program, so parents stay with their kids and everyone helps to build the racetrack together. I was excited to be in charge of this program because I really wanted to see how families worked together and the different kinds of racetracks they would build.

So, how many people showed up? And did we have enough supplies? Nearly 100 people came to the program and we used up every flat piece of cardboard we had - I even had to cannibalize some cardboard boxes to get the last few pieces for some late coming families. I saw circular tracks and tracks with intense drops and jumps as well as some monster truck courses. I loved watching the families working together - it was incredibly entertaining to see how into building the perfect racetrack the parents got. The program lasted 90 minutes and most families stayed the entire time. Everyone cleaned up after themselves, an unexpected bonus, so this really was a program that required minimal effort on my part. I definitely recommend this type of program for public libraries!

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