The Science of the Big Bang Theory


So hey – I have a Big Bang Theory event on Thursday! And since I know a lot of you are throwing one as well, I’d thought I’d share what I have planned. The idea for this program was to do something for every character, showing at least SOMETHING about what they do. Sheldon is by far the hardest, as string theory is something that this former music major can’t wrap her head around at all. I honestly have very little science in my background (I’ve never taken a single chemistry class in my life), so this entire summer was really rather terrifying. Not just because I don’t know much about science, but because I wanted to show science in a way that’s fun & doable for 20-40 teens in a room.

But I think I’ve got a pretty fun event planned – we’ll have to see if the teens agree! Mostly, these are crafts & games that use a variety of scientific principles. I’ll be adding signs at every station that explain what’s going on & why we’re doing it, including the science behind Leonard’s lactose intolerance!

Sheldon: Theoretical Physicist
Very simple explanation of string theory
– cat’s cradle – each teen goes home with their own string!

Leonard: Experimental Physicist
– To explain chaos theory/centripetal force: spinning paint art (also science of color!)
bottle music
straw challenge – how far will it go?

Penny: Acting
– body language/charades using emotions
– cheesecake! I’m going to get the tub of cheesecake & make little cupcake sized cakes for everyone.

Raj: Astronomy
moon phase necklaces

Howard: Engineering
toothpicks & gumdrops: challenges!

Bernadette: Microbiology
bread-making: wheat vs gluten-free flour, feeding the yeast sugar vs a sugar substitute (does it bubble the same?)

Amy: Neurobiology
– optical illusions craft: 3D hand prints
Stroop Effect game

Wil Wheaton: Biomechanics
– Wesley Crushers bowling!

Paper-Rock-Scissors-Lizard-Spock Tournament!
Science of how to win

Nerdfighter Gathering 2014


TFIOS has come & gone, and it was just fantastic, was it not? My teens are still raving about it. To celebrate the movie’s premiere, we held a Nerdfighter Gathering, and it was so, so much nerdy fun.

What’d we do?
YouTube playlist of a variety of TFIOS stuff & classic Vlogbrother videos
Hanklerfish hot potato; the kids got SO into this it was hilarious. The prize was just a fun size bag of plain M&Ms! I think we did it six times, to A Song about an Anglerfish.
– Book charms!
– TFIOS/Okay bracelets & keychains
– TFIOS cloud t-shirts
– Nerdfighter pins
– Prizes of print outs of various Nerdfighter art
– Pizza! It’s always the answer.
– NO EDGE four-square, which was especially fun because most of them had never even heard of it!
– Pin the Glasses on John Green (you might have seen it on Tumblr. John Green basically made my life by reblogging it to his own Tumblr; aaaaaah.)

To be honest, a lot of this stuff must sound like nonsense if you’re not pretty familiar with Nerdfighteria, but it was basically the highlight of my teen librarian experience. To get to be so nerdy with something I love so dearly was just so great. Here are some more pictures of the event in action!



With all the conversations going on right now about the importance of diversity, take this as your reminder to add some diversity in ALL of your displays. Add TYRELL by Coe Booth to your John Green display. Put Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX and Nnedi Okorafor’s AKATA WITCH on your fantasy display. BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan ought to be on your romance display. Antony John’s brilliant FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB should be on your realistic fiction display.

Take a step back & make sure you have faces of all kinds throughout your teen space, no matter the population you serve.

Because it’s important.

Do More with Less! 25 Under 25


Hello librarians across Ohio! And anyone else who might be stopping by, of course.

Do More with Less! 25 Programs Under $25 Dollars is a presentation at several Ohio Library Council chapter conferences I'll be doing throughout the spring. In the interest of wanting to share with the teen librarian population at large (and in the interest of saving paper), I've made the resources available here.

>> Powerpoint // Slides PDF
>> Resource sheet

Supplemental sources:
>> Live & Let Spy: Trivia, Caesar cipher, Morse code, & Running key cipher
>> Superheroes vs Villains Ultimate Showdown: Trivia // Challenge sheet
>> Night of the Ninja: Trivia
>> Zombie Infestation: Trivia // Answers
>> Doctor Who: Trivia through Time and Space
>> Mortal Instruments: City of Bones trivia
>> Supernatural Survival Skills 101: Trivia
>> Divergent: Trivia
>> Love Stinks Chocolate Fest: Name That Candy! // Youtube playlist
>> Nightmare on Mahoning Ave: YouTube playlist // Horror movie trivia

Note: I don't have the answers for most trivia (sorry!), but all answers can be found online. Also, all Powerpoints include fancy, aptly-themed fonts, but if you search online for the font, you can easily install it. While playing the game, to return to the question grid, click the shape in the corner.

Mentioned previous programs:
>> Divergent
>> Doctor Who
>> Love Stinks Chocolate Fest
>> Mortal Instruments
>> Silent Library Around the World
>> Nerdfighter Gathering
>> The Hunger Games
>> Live Angry Birds
>> The Nightmare on Mahoning Ave

Please note: Previous programs are not, as presented here at the blog, under $25.


One choice can transform you…


Here’s a confession for you: I like Tris better than Katniss (That doesn’t mean that I think Divergent is better than Hunger Games, because well, it’s not). And I’m very, very happy that the actor playing Four is only two years younger than me. I really liked Four in Divergent, and I’m quite delighted that I can find him attractive without feeling like a dirty old woman. I guess that’s the price you pay for reading so much teen literature!

But anyways! Are you throwing a party for the premiere of the Divergent film? I am!

When I set about planning this party, I knew that despite the setting of the first novel (and presumably, first movie) I didn’t want this to just be a Dauntless shindig – that kind of goes against the whole point of the books. So I wanted to have something that celebrated each faction, and this is what we have planned:

DAUNTLESS: chocolate cake & tattoos
ERUDITE: book trivia
CANDOR: confession jar
ABNEGATION: canned food drive
AMITY: peace sign bookmarks (in book thong style)

We’ll also create t-shirts (I order them in bulk from Adair so we have them for various programs) using stencils of the factions & the Crayola Airbrush – have you used this yet? It is AMAZING! I don’t understand how it works, but wow. Pretty fantastic, and a definite worthwhile investment for programming. I’m always looking for items I know I’ll use for multiple programs, & this is definitely one of them. We have two now, and I know we’ll get our money’s worth in no time.

We’ll probably also make book charms, because they’re so cheap, easy, & fun for the fans. To make them: print out 1″ images, cut out, glue onto folded paper for the “cover”, then staple 4-5 pages inside. Punch a small hole & loop a jump ring through – voila! Super easy & cheap craft your teens will spend HOURS making. It’s a great “merit badge” for book clubs, too.

So, what do you have planned for your Divergent party?

The Love BITES Chocolate Fest


This year, I'm hosting my SEVENTH Chocolate Fest. SEVEN! It's completely crazy to me that I've been a teen librarian now for seven years. I'm also in my very first rebuilding year, but that's a topic for another time.

The Chocolate Fest continues to be my most popular event – last year we had over seventy teens come. What shocks me about this event in particular, though, is that I get the largest variety of kids at this event, and that's why I don't mind that this is also by far my most expensive program.

With the Vampire Academy film being released the same week, & many of my teens being HUGE fans, I knew I needed to do something. But after doing five Twilight films, I really wasn't feeling doing yet another vampire program (nor did I really want to read Richelle Mead's novels. They might be really fun, but I'm personally kind of vampire-d out). So! The Chocolate Fest this year really BITES, and we're adding a few vampire elements to our usual mix of chocolate & break-up song videos.

  • Everybody will get vampire fangs when they walk in.
  • I'll have mini Vampire Academy posters for everyone (I just print these out)
  • We'll do some vampire trivia, with books, movies, & lore
  • All the chocolate stuff will be red – strawberries, chocolate covered cherries, etc
  • Red fruit punch!
  • I'm on the look out for the just the right craft this year. We've done mini voodoo dolls two years in a row now, so I think I might do something along the lines of a vampire kokeshi doll, a bottle necklace of “blood,” or the vampire bite necklaces.


    Anatomy of a Teen Event Flyer


    Hello fellow librarians of Ohio, & all who are looking for information on creating graphics to reach the teen audience!

    Anatomy of a Teen Event Flyer was a poster presentation at the 2013 Ohio Library Council Convention & Expo. Please feel free to print off any & all of the information below! The PDFs will be better quality than the images, I’m afraid, so I definitely suggest downloading those.

    JPG // PDF

    Click for hi-res

    JPG // PDF

    JPG // PDF

    JPG // PDF

    JPG // PDF

    JPG // PDF

    Eventually, I hope to turn many of my flyers into PDFS & create a portfolio of them, but alas, I’ve not done that just yet.