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!

bookmark
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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fnaf

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!

Thursdays at Main: A different take on programming…

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the guys

*crickets*

I do apologize for the silence around here, but it’s been an interesting year for me. In previous years, I’ve held one big event most months (say, 8/12), then had an anime & TAB meeting on two different Saturdays, and occasionally had a weekly hang-out or game night.

But back in spring of 2014, when we were already thinking about the fall (summer obviously already planned), I knew that I just could *not* deal with Smash Bros for two hours every week any longer. (BWAH BAH NAH NAAAAAAH! NAH NAH NAH NAH NAAAAH! I was starting to hear the theme in my sleep), so I decided that although we’d continue to have weekly events (they would be here anyways, now that I’d trained them to come each & every Thursday), we would do different stuff every week.

It… has made for an interesting year, and a very different approach to my programming than I’ve done previously. Why?

– My crew is mostly guys right now, and has been since the fall. I don’t really know why – the events I plan aren’t particularly gender-specific (we watched TFIOS with 15 guys and 3 girls). So while most other libraries tell me their teen events are populated by middle school girls, I now not only get primarily high schoolers, but guys as well. I don’t understand why – there’s no secret that I’m aware of.

– The guys, and even the girls who do come, do not want to do crafts. They’ll all make t-shirts and do coloring sheets, but not crafts. My craft closet is suspiciously full.

– I’ve had to seriously re-think how I spend money on programs. Whereas in the past I’ve spent a decent amount of money on that one big event and next-to-nothing for a weekly hangout (to be fair, I have a VERY generous budget [Thanks, Supportive Director & Board!], but I have to make sure I now have enough money to get food and the occasional craft and prize for the 10-40 teens who attend every week. I know, it’s a fabulous problem to have, but still. More teens = more food (and more cups/bowls – those things add up!), more supplies, and just more ‘stuff.’ My teens are hungry, and also bored, and Thursdays at Main is sometimes the only time they get to hang out together. They expect it to be fun, each and every week.

And you better believe they let me know when it isn’t.

Fascinatingly, besides (usually) remembering that the first Thursday is Game Night (for which we purchased a shiny new Wii U and Smash Bros, thanks for our Friends), they never have ANY IDEA WHAT THE EVENT IS. They take SO MANY flyers, but they just don’t know. Sometimes I have teens who come for that specific event, but the core group of 10-15? Nope. No idea. They just know that it’s Thursday, and so they’re here. Usually right after school – and we can’t get into the room (due to computer classes) until at least 4:30. So it’s noisy from about 3-4:30 down in Teen Central, then we finally take the noise upstairs to our meeting room until about 7:30. There are frequent trips to and from Teen Central for books and to the Circle K down the street, but yeah. Lots of teens here on Thursdays. I’m always reminded of the scene from High Fidelity: “They just started showing up every day. That was four years ago.”

So what have we done? Some examples:

– Monthly game nights, featuring the occasional tournament. We’ll be bringing back Minecraft in the fall once a quarter.

– Movie nights, sometimes with a featured food item (we made sundaes in January to watch Frozen, PF Chang-type lettuce wraps for Chinese New Year while we watched BOTH Kung Fu Panda movies, and made cotton candy [like the clouds?] when we watched & cried through TFIOS), and always with coloring sheets.

– Movie Premiere Parties: Maze Runner featured ‘Maze Races’, wherein I printed increasingly difficult mazes and the first to finish each one got a big Airhead (they LOVE those things!); Insurgent featured watching Divergent while they drew tattoos on each other and made t-shirts.

– Some featured events, like the annual Love Stinks Chocolate Fest and the Nightmare on Mahoning Ave, our Halloween party, still went as usual. I just made sure to schedule more less-expensive events (such as movie nights) during those months to save a bit of money. We also hosted the Ultimate Teen Challenge and threw a SuperWhoLock Party, both of which I’ll write about later, that were pricier than some of the others.

– We had a really excellent Retro Game Night, where I had the teens play old Sega games on our PS2, dragged out my husband’s old Dreamcast so they could play the original Soul Calibur and Crazy Taxi, and got out a few laptops and loaded up Oregon Trail (spoiler alert: most of them HAVE NOT EVEN HEARD OF THIS. I highly recommend this! And yes, they all died, much to their confusion, of dysentery.) I’m definitely doing this again.

– We hosted a few nights where the teens shared favorite Youtube videos, to varying success. They all might watch videos, but they watch very DIFFERENT videos, and when they were watching something they didn’t like, they were incredibly vocal about it. You had better believe that we had lots of conversations about rudeness, respect, and overall decency.

What I’ve found, even more than in past years, is that these teens cannot just watch a movie. They can’t just sit and do a craft. All of the programs have needed to be multidimensional, whether it’s the TV cart in the corner with some games available, a variety of board games and card games (Munchkin has been a big hit with my teens) for them to play during the movie or Youtube videos or whatever, and they need the freedom to talk and enjoy each other’s company. They still want something to be happening, but they are also perfectly comfortable sitting in the corner with a few friends seemingly ignoring what’s going on. It’s an interesting need, but I’m glad I can provide it.

Oh, and an outlet. Which is probably why they’re in the corner, but yeah. They have to have a place to plug in that phone.

Click here for the quarterly flyers of our weekly events so far!

[edit] As of March 2016, we’ve reverted back to a weekly game night with one monthly special event. Why?
1. In the fall, our attendance exploded and we have 30-50 kids each week, no matter the event. This, in turn, made the special events (especially the fandom events) much less special for those teens who came because they love Supernatural – most of the teens in room were just there to hang out with their friends, not to enjoy the special things I’d planned. There’s nothing worse than doing trivia that you’ve spent a good chunk of time preparing for a room filled with kids who have no idea what you’re talking about.

2. It was becoming exhausting, coming up with new stuff each week. And since we have SO MANY kids each week now (I am fully aware that none of you feel any sympathy towards this), I couldn’t do some of the more special stuff, since it’d get too expensive to do a $3 craft with 50 kids. And frankly, I MISSED doing big special events; finding the perfect craft or game.

3. No one ever watched the movie for movie nights, which kind of defeats the purpose.

4. All they want to do is play the consoles. It didn’t matter what the event was; every single week, without fail, they’d ask, ‘Is the Wii U going to be up there?’ I’d blink at them incredulously and say, ‘No. It’s a movie night. Why would the Wii U be on if we’re watching a movie on the screen?!?’

So now we’re back to Game Nights. We purchased an XBox 360 and a variety of games, and we have three consoles going plus board & card games for two hours. It’s worked pretty well so far – everyone seems happy to either play the games or just hang out. Happy teens, much less stressed out teen librarians = happier teen services.

Ahoy there, Teen Think Tankers!

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These presentations were a part of the Teen Think Tank Event on September 19 at the Lima Public Library. In the interest of wanting to share with my fellow teen librarians, and to save some trees, I’ve made the resources available here.

Avast! The All-Important Hand Out!

Yo-Ho-Ho (& a bottle of whaddya mean you’re not into that anymore?)
Powerpoint // Slides PDF

Shiver me timbers, that’s AMAZING: Teen programs under $25
(adapted from Do More With Less)
Powerpoint // Slides PDF

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
>> Doctor Who: Trivia through Time and Space
>> Mortal Instruments: City of Bones trivia
>> Supernatural Survival Skills 101: Trivia
>> Divergent: 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.