Friday, May 18, 2012

Come and Play Awhile!

At last month's Alberta Library Conference I attended a great session presented by Anne O'Sullivan of Calgary Public Library called "Come and Play Awhile: Making it Fun at Calgary Public Library."  Many people only associate "play" with children and children's programming, but what Anne taught us is that "play" can and should be incorporated in other areas of service as well.

I want to share some of the AMAZING program ideas that she told us about!

"New Friends and Neighbors" is a club geared towards newcomers (mainly women) that gives the ladies a chance to meet new people in the community, practice their English skills and talk about their experiences as a new Canadian.  This club is so popular, that staff frequently have to kick the group out of the meeting room because they need it for another program!  The ladies don't mind though - they just continue their conversations elsewhere in the library!

"Mom and Baby Playdate" is a new program that CPL is trying out because they found that during storytime programs all the moms wanted to do was talk!  This program is one intended for just that purpose.  They put on the coffee, put out some toys and books for the kids and let the moms chat away. Easy and fun.

"Edible Books Day," held on April Fool's Day invites local bakeries and adventurous patrons to create cakes inspired by books.  The entries are judged by other patrons in the library - even if you didn't submit an entry, you still get to participate in this fun event.  (CPL believes that offering open-area programming creates a sense of wonder in the library; even a passerby can get a little bit of enjoyment out of a program.)  

"Fiber Arts Day" is an event that showcases fiber arts of all kinds (quilting, knitting, weaving etc.) and teaches customers about these art forms.  Quilts and other tapestries were hung throughout the library and the local weavers guild even set up a loom so that customers could try their hand at weaving.  The loom was so popular that CPL staff had to ask the weavers for more supplies!

These are just a few examples of the great programs that are promoting fun in the library.  Anne O'Sullivan explained that by surprising people with unexpected fun (like the loom) they could encourage the idea that the library is a fun place to be for adults and children alike.

Share your great ideas for adding play to the library in the comments!

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