A Library Battle Royale

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Perhaps you’ve of a little thing called Fortnite? If not, well… you officially have homework.

We purchased ~40 Nerf guns from hasbrotoyshop.com, laid down some different colored tape throughout our library, gave whistles to all staff members, put boxes everywhere, and let ’em at it.

Oh, and we had a T-Rex. Because why not?

We played for about ninety minutes, but the teens would have been perfectly happy to play for the entirety of the four-hour After Hours Event™.

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A few more details:

→ It was very easy to set-up a tax exempt account at the Hasbro Toy Shop, and we mostly just purchased the 3.99 single shot guns, along with extra darts. I signed up for emails and got a really great discount, and have not been bombarded by emails since.

→ We used different colored masking tape (available at craft stores) for the boundaries, placing them on the floor in increasingly smaller circles, and used the library PA system for the announcements about arena shrinkage (ie, in two minutes, you must be inside the yellow circle or you will be eliminated, etc).

→ A map of the library was provided, so they could plainly see that they weren’t allowed behind circ, to hide in the bathrooms, etc. If we do this in our meeting room, I won’t give them a map, since the “drop zones” (which they drew from a basket) will be visible throughout the arena.

→ Blowing the whistles was super fun. Really loud, but fun.

→ We had an area designated for those who were eliminated – I recommend placing that somewhere they can see the action, because they were super into watching.

→ We did lots of variations – singles, duos, teams of 3 and 4, start with a weapon but scatter before it begins, etc. They’ll come up with lots of ideas.

→ If they won, they got a “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” pin, which yes is from PUBG but they thought was awesome.

BATTLE ROYALE RULES (as read to participants):

1. Throughout the library and marked on your map are your drop zones. Everyone/every team will draw their drop zone, and at the sound of the whistle you will proceed there to find weapons & building materials

2. All weapons, ammo, and materials are in plain sight – nothing is hidden behind books, shelves, desks, etc. DO NOT enter any area that is blocked off, and DO NOT go behind any desk. If you are discovered in any out-of-zone area, you will be eliminated.

3. If you are hit, you are down and must be revived by a team member. You must immediately drop to your knees, although you may move away from the action and take cover. In order to be revived, one of your team members must tap you on the back.

4. If, however, you are hit again before a team member revives you, you are eliminated.

5. Staff members in the gray shirts will act as referees. A blow of the whistle means a violation has occurred; do as the referee says, whether that is going down, being eliminated, etc.

6. As time goes on, the arena will begin to shrink. Pay attention to the announcements to learn which circle to report to.

7. Anyone outside of the circle when the clock winds down will be eliminated.

8. There are building materials throughout the arena. You may use these as shields, or build a fort to defend your team.

9. Alliances are permitted, however, there can be only one winning team.

10. We will play this multiple times, invoking variations of single player, squad play, & other fun surprises.

11. The T-Rex is invincible. If you are attacked by the T-Rex, you are eliminated.

Let’s begin!

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This was incredibly fun for all involved, and we will definitely keep doing it until the Battle Royale genre disappears. My biggest piece of advice is this: If you haven’t played or watched Fortnite, PUBG, Blackout, etc, do so before you plan this event.

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Celebrating Turtles ALL the Way Down!

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Anyone who’s been around here for awhile knows that I’m a Nerdfighter. Reading Looking for Alaska as a graduate student in the YA class at Kent cemented my interest in teen services as more than just an elective class. It confirmed that yeah, this is what I wanna do with my life.

(Actually, my dream job is working for Nerdfighteria and/or John & Hank’s YouTube network of free educational instruction… My resume is here…)

Anyways. So to say that I’m among the many excited for John Green’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down, is a bit of an understatement. I’ve a pre-order for one of (probably) signed copies, and the planning for our book release party is pretty much done.

I’m not sure if Penguin did it on purpose, but releasing the book during Teen Read Week was perfection. The fact that I’d already planned our annual Teen Read Week Extravaganza on October 10th was just icing on the cake. It’s like it was meant to be!!

I’m also excited to be planning any sort of fandom event. While it’s kind of fun not having One Big Fandom™ right now (there are SO MANY little ones to keep track of!), this fangirl has been pining for a big, specially-themed event. So here we go!

During our annual TRW Extravaganza, we usually give books away, play teen literature pictionary, engage in Shakespearean insult battles (with these books), create a few crafts, & top it all off with a fun treat. This year is no exception.

We’ll make turtle sundaes (vanilla ice cream with caramel & chocolate sauces, pecans optional), create turtle corner bookmarks (that three lucky attendees will get to put in their book prizes) and turtle keychains or pins, play some pictionary, and give away books. With the book being about mental illness, I really wanted to give away turtle stress balls, but alas, I can’t find any that don’t require a minimum order of less than 75. I really only need about 25. Sigh.

And yes, I am aware that the book isn’t actually about turtles. TFIOS wasn’t about clouds, but that didn’t stop us from putting those clouds onto everything!

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keychain

The craft samples above can be easily manipulated to whatever your needs are. I based the turtle body template for the pin/keychain on a basic five petal blossom; feel free to resize to what you want before printing on cardstock. Add a bit of a tail if you wish, or attach a bit extra to wrap around a keychain fob. Then, all you need is a circle that matches your chosen size.

I like working with felt because it’s very forgiving – I find that many teens don’t have great tracing or scissor skills and get upset when their cuts aren’t perfect. All the supplies used for the crafts are in each image; as you can see, there’s nothing really special. Just basic stuff that, if not already in your closet, you can get at your local craft supply store.

So what are you up to this fall?

Five Nights at Freddy’s LIVE!

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I adore this game.

Or should I say, I adore watching Markiplier play this game. I love it so much, in fact, that my husband got me the main four animatronic character plushies for Christmas this year.

We hide them around the house in unexpected places and scare each other. I mean, how could we not?

But anyways. If you don’t know about Five Nights at Freddy’s, you should. Go watch that video and then ask your teens about the rest if you don’t care to watch more. Basically, it’s a jump scare game about Chuck E. Cheese-esque characters who have taken to wandering about the place after hours. You, as the night security guard, have to look after the place without letting the characters get to you – or else they’ll kill you.

(It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.)

This year, for our After Hours Event™ (it’s the reward for completing our summer challenge), we’re doing Five Nights at Freddy’s LIVE! The teens and I are very, very excited.

Of course, for those of you who are familiar with the game, we can’t emulate most of the first one, as it mostly involves tracking the characters on security cameras and slamming the door shut before they get you.  Subsequent games, however, use flashlights and a music box mechanic, which we can TOTALLY duplicate!

So here’s how we’re going to do it:

Up to five can play at a time: Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, Foxy, and the security guard. Each of the animatronics will don a headband that denotes which character they are.

Our teen room is a long rectangle, and has two doors on either end. I’ll be blocking the windows if need be, but I think it’ll be dark enough by the time we do this, around 8pm in mid-August. I don’t want it completely dark in the security guard’s ‘office’ – just enough to set the mood.  Outside the room, I’m going to fashion some ‘ventilation shafts’ using large boxes I’ve been hoarding. Bonnie and Chica will have to crawl through the boxes to get from door to door (if this doesn’t work, I’m going just make them run around the stacks to space out the attacks). They’ll knock outside the open door, then wait for a count of ten before entering the room.

IF the security guard gets to the door before the count of ten is over and closes it, the character can stay for another count of ten before heading through the ventilation system to the other door. As in the game, the security guard will have to keep the door shut until the character leaves. Keeping the door shut, however, drains your precious power faster – and causes Freddy to appear (he’ll be hiding behind one of the bookshelves). As soon as one door is shut, Freddy will begin counting. If he gets to thirty with one door shut, or fifteen with both doors closed, the Freddy jump scare is triggered.

IF the character gets into the room, the security guard must shine a flashlight for a count of ten to get them to run away.  Neither the guard nor the character can move while shining the flashlight – which means they can’t wind the music box or open the door, if need be.

A laptop or iPad will be set up with speakers at a table away from the doors, with this video providing the ‘music box.’ It’s a minute long, and once the music is stopped, Freddy will wait for a dwindling amount of time (beginning with 30 seconds and lessening by ten seconds each time) before jumping. Therefore, the security guard must keep the music ‘wound’ by refreshing the video. If enough time passes and the music box has not been wound, the Freddy jump scare is triggered. (I do, in fact, realize that the music box triggers the puppet, but that would require yet another person.)

But what about everyone’s favorite pirate, Foxy? Pirate’s Cove will be in one corner of the room, covered by a curtain. Every fifteen seconds, Foxy become more visible – first the curtain will open, then an arm, etc. As in the game, the security guard will need to occasionally ‘check in’ by shining a flashlight on Pirate’s Cove for a count of ten, thereby resetting Foxy to his original position. Thirty seconds later, the curtain opens again. If you forget to check Pirate’s Cove long enough, the Foxy jumpscare is triggered.

In order to win, the security has to make it through five minutes of this without triggering a jump scare. Then the teens trade places and move on!

Character cards for role clarification.

Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Let me know!

A Summer Reading Reboot

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Can we just take a moment to reflect on the glory of the 2015 teen summer artwork? Oh, it was everything I’ve always dreamed of.

Anyways.

So every year previous, the summer reading program for teens was the ever-simple ‘fill out an entry form for each item you read’ sort of thing. Simple, I suppose, in that it doesn’t take a lot of work on (most) staff’s part, and it’s easy to explain. Annoying, however, in that counting how many entries were turned in from how many people was always an all-day, spread-out-throughout-the-room sort of day. So many piles! Not to mention the fact that I never really believed those teens who turned in more than twenty or so slips. In fact, to those teens, I want to say, if you weren’t just stuffing the box, please go outside and do something else! Watch some tv!

But perhaps that’s just me.

2015 become the year we finally Changed. We had wanted to turn our summer reading program into more of a summer ‘learning’ experience – which I am very much in favor of, since I think a teen needs to learn from many things, not just re-reading the 70-some issues of One Piece for the chance to win an iPad. Plus I think it’s far more fun to earn a prize rather than to try to win one.

The Teen Advisory Board was also on board, even though it meant the prizes had to be something small – there was no way each teen could get a t-shirt. This is what we talked about while creating our very first learning challenge:

  • There needed to be some sort of reading minimum – it didn’t seem fair to win everything just through the ‘experiences’, which I’ll talk about in a moment. They said that you should have earn at least two points in each box by reading – that way someone doesn’t just do a bunch of other stuff to start, and end up not reading anything.
  • Earning ‘points’ had to be reasonable, but still a challenge. They came up with 20, and you earned a prize after each five.
  • ‘Experiences’ needed to be varied – it didn’t seem fair to only reward those doing science experiments, when there’s plenty to learn from a nature hike or starting a Youtube channel. And they couldn’t all require money or transportation, as both are scarce in our community.
  • Some experiences could only be earned once (ie; you could only create one Youtube channel.)
  • Five manga should count as one book.
  • Prizes:
    • Five points: food coupon (Chipotle was by far the most popular)
    • Ten points: deck of playing cards
    • Fifteen points: drawstring backpack
    • Ten points: book and invitation to a special after-hours event

In the end, the TAB came up with or approved all the experiences, and the ‘reading experiences’ was completely their idea – after all, expanding your reading horizons is as important as anything else! The first time you completed a reading challenge, it was worth TWO points, meaning you could actually complete the entire learning challenge having read only four books (which was a big selling point to some of the more reluctant participants). That proved to be the hardest to explain to both staff and participants alike, but having someone walk away after registering asking ‘What’s a good audiobook to try?’ was fabulous.

The experiences:

  • Attend a library event
  • Attend a concert or play
  • Write/draw a graphic novel & enter our contest
  • Go on a nature hike
  • Visit a museum
  • Start a blog and create 5 entries of original content
  • Get a library card
  • Take a 5-10 mile bike ride
  • Write a book review and submit it to teencentral@wtcpl.org
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Conduct a science experiment
  • Visit a comic book shop
  • Watch a documentary
  • Create a Youtube channel and upload two original videos

Reading experiences:

  • Audiobook
  • Historical fiction
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction
  • Graphic novel
  • Biography

In the end, we added a few experiences we hadn’t thought about: attending a festival, and watching ten episodes of subtitled anime (which we included as reading). Pictured at top is the cover of the summer  challenge booklet they received upon registering, while below is the inside and back cover.

Teen SRP 2015 booklet - left

Teen SRP 2015 booklet - right

Teen SRP 2015 booklet - back

All in all, it was a success. It was bit hard to determine what the participation would be, and therefore what prizes to purchase, but our numbers were up across the board, so I am happy! We’ll definitely be continuing it this year.

Pin the glasses on John Green!

So hey, remember last summer, when I made this hilarious thing for our TFIOS Nerdfighter gathering, posted it to our Teen Central tumblr, and then JOHN GREEN REBLOGGED IT, thereby making my life for basically ever?

‘Cause yeah, it totally happened.

Anyways! A lot of people have asked about it, and of COURSE you may all steal it! Anything I put on this blog is fair game. This is not just bragging about my events; this is definitely information sharing, and that’s why the thing over on the left says ‘steal my stuff!’

I’ve emailed the basic image that I found online to create this (I traced all the pieces parts onto poster board and glued him together), but because it was laminated, I didn’t think I could scan it. WELL I WAS WRONG! I tried today and it WORKED, so here! Have the original. You’ll want to print on card stock if you can and laminate him, and resize then cut out the glasses in their entirety to get the full effect before laminating, but here you go. Please feel free to manipulate him however you please. The PDF is a bit small (11×17), but will work if you need it. Have fun!

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Complete package in PDF.

Doctor Who, Part Two

Doctor Who continues to be very popular amongst my teens, so we hosted another Who event this summer, this time just for teens (our previous program was all ages).

I found some fun videos on YouTube & put them into a playlist. My favorite was definitely a rather adorable fandom cover of Call Me Maybe. Give it a listen!

We played many games – Blink/Don’t Blink (a rather fast game of Red Light/Green Light, so we played it many times), Cyberman Says, and Toss the TARDIS. I discovered that my teens love to play any theme-specific game of hot potato, so of course we just tossed the TARDIS around to the theme song.

From our previous event, we again used the Gallifreyan translator but this time to make bottlecap keychains, and also made duct tape bow ties as well as Van Gogh coloring sheets for those who just want to hang out and watch the videos.

The biggest hit of the event was, by far, Guess Who. I would say that most of my teens had never played, with a surprising number that never even heard of it.They played this continuously all night, with many arguments ensuing (is River a villain or a hero?). They came up with the rule that Captain Jack is human, but the Face of Boe is not, being rather nice to those new fans who are still catching up.

I threw this together after seeing it on Tumblr, and the graphics & instructions for making your own is here at Karen Kavett’s blog.

The big craft of the evening was SPACE JARS. I followed the directions from Martha Stewart to make snow globes, only we tipped the jars right-side-up, and added a dangling TARDIS.

Supplies!
Jars (ask your staff to save or purchase)
Polymer clay
Silver jump rings
Fishing line
Hot glue gun
Glitter & confetti
Water
White marker pens
Black permanent marker
Glycerin (optional)

How to do it!
TARDIS:
1. Create rectangles from blue polymer clay. I was able to get eight out of each pack.
2. Press jump ring into top.
3. Bake according to instructions (I did steps 1-3 prior to event)
4. Using markers, add doors & windows.

JAR:
1. Hot glue fishing line to jar lid. (also done prior to event)
2. Tie fishing line to jump ring on top of the TARDIS.
3. Add glitter & confetti.
4. Fill with water.
5. Add a squirt of glycerin, which helps slow glitter’s descent to bottom. (A bonus, but not required.)
6. Tighten jar lid, gluing to seal if desired. (We did not do this part; the jars were fine.)
7. Decorate top of jar as desired with quotes, pictures, etc.
8. Shake up the jar to the theme music!

Be sure to ask if you have any questions!

The Hunger Games Survival Challenge: Catching Fire

<< Click here to download .zip of all files associated with this program >>

This is everything you need to run a successful Hunger Games scavenger hunt-type program. My previous program in 2012 was fun; the event I ran for Catching Fire was much better. Fifteen was the perfect number for an hour’s worth of fun, with some easy & some hard challenges for everyone. They don’t even need to have read the books to do anything other than the trivia.

Most of the supplies are listed, but you do need:
– Nerf-style archery set; various styles available on Amazon.com. We shoot at our old Twilight trio stand-ups, but you can easily print out targets.
– Bags of some sort – backpacks are available through Oriental Trading

Basic instructions:
1. Print out the challenges, enough for the number of teams you’ll be having. We’ve divided the teens into 12 teams in the past.
2. Stuff the challenges into envelopes, or simply fold them. I highly suggest at least tucking the origami challenge & the associated paper into an envelope.
3. Number the challenges, staggering so not everyone is at the same challenge at one time. There will still be some overlap, of course, but this definitely helped. Instruct the kids that they MUST do everything as a team, and that they MUST do them in order.
4. Create an arena map of your library with the stations posted. Freehand or Publisher!
4. Place challenges, map, and pencils into the bag, and place them in the center of the starting room (the Cornucopia). Ready, set, go!

If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know! Sometimes what I think is self-explanatory only makes sense in my brain.

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!

ALSO:
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!

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?