Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Librarian Post: The Cheapest SRP program ever!

     Let's face it, these days just about every library in the country is strapped for funds. I know librarians who tell me they have been working with a budget of zero for both collection development and programming supplies for YEARS.
     That's when all start getting super creative about doing programs like recycled crafts and movie nights that don't really cost much. This year, with our Collaborative Summer Reading program theme being Build A Better World, my library wanted to do some programs that actually took the "build" part literally, by reinforcing STEM through engineering and construction.
     Enter the humble index card. Super inexpensive - you probably have at least one pack of these guys in your office right now, and if not, they are readily available just about everywhere for around a dollar or less.
     So this was my program: I handed people (in teams of up to 4) a brand new, unopened pack of 100 index cards and gave them 2 challenges:
                   1) build the tallest structure you possibly can using nothing but index cards. Do not cut or tear them (folding is ok).
                   2) build a second structure and we will see how many books it can hold before it collapses. Again, no tearing, ripping or cutting, but folding is ok.

That was it. An hour-long program that appealed to people of all ages, got them to be creative, taught them some science, and was pretty much the cheapest thing I did this summer.

By the way, if you don't have index cards, playing cards work just fine too.

One pack of index cards = an hour of almost-free library fun!


  1. Ever since I saw this post (six months ago), I've been trying to build towers with index cards, and I can't figure out how to do it! Please help! Could you post photos of examples?

    1. It's exactly the same principle as building houses of cards. I don't have any other pictures from the program but if you Google "index card towers," or search in Pinterest you can see tons of examples.