Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Programming Post: Oregon Trail Live

If you are of a certain age, you might remember playing the original computer game version of Oregon Trail - one of the most notoriously difficult educational video games EVER created.
Or maybe you are a little younger and have played the game in its newest incarnation: the family-friendly card game you can get from Target.
Either way the game is super fun, actually teaches you a thing or two about history and how hard it was to be a pioneer - so of course I HAD to turn it into a live action teen program! Mostly I modified the card game and made my own decks of cards so here is how you can do it at your library:

Supplies you will need:

* 21 pieces of card stock or construction paper to create the board.
     The board can be any shape you want, as long as it fits whatever room you are doing it in.
     I decided on 21 pieces because the trail was around 2,100 miles, and this way each piece of paper       equals 100 miles.
* A 6-sided die, the bigger the better. Mine was legitimately huge, as I used a box. This was great but it did only last through one program, so you might want a more durable option.

I used a recycled speaker decoration from Summer Reading 2018's music theme. It died a noble death from being tossed about. 
* Print-outs of "supplies" deck of cards, 4 of each card per deck (choose one color for this deck):
     Food   -   Clean Water   -   Wagon Parts  -   Bullets   -   Medical Supplies   -   Clothes   -  Oxen
* Print-outs of "events" deck of cards (printed on different colored paper from the supplies)
     8 "Fort" cards
     6 "River Crossing" cards
     2 each of the following "calamities:"
           Typhoid - Measles - Cholera - Dysentery - Snake Bite - Bad Water - Oxen Have Died -       
           Starvation - Thief - Broken Arm - Snow Storm - Broken Wheel.

Most of the calamities require the players to use their supply cards to avoid death.

(I am sorry but I am NOT about to type out all the wording I used on each card. If you REALLY want them, you can always message me and I can e-mail the actual cards to you. Or make up your own, don't be lazy! Haha!)
* Print-Outs of "Independence Missouri" (the start) and "Willamette, Oregon," (the finish line)

My "supplies" cards. I used stock photos, and I laminated them.

Examples of one Fort card, one Calamity and one River Crossing card. 

Ok, so how do we play this thing?

Players will form a party of 6-8 individuals who will all "leave" from Independence, MO together. 

Each player starts the game with 2 randomly chosen supply cards (3 for smaller parties). It is perfectly fine for players to show their party what supplies they have, as they will be shared anyway.

Roll the die to choose the order the players will play in - high number goes first. 

Once an order is determined, you are ready to start down the trail. One at a time, each player will roll the die and if it lands on an even number the entire party advances one playing space. If a player rolls an odd number a card from the events deck must be drawn. (Again, please MESSAGE ME if you want me to send you my cards in an e-mail. I am NOT typing out each card again here. Too much work! It is a Publisher file. And you will have to mail me cookies. I like Chips Ahoy.)

       * If a player draws a FORT card, they may take 2 additional supplies cards.
       *If a player rolls a "CALAMITY" card, they must do what the card says. These may lead to the 
         death of the player or the entire party. If the entire party dies, the game ends. 
       * If a player draws a "RIVER CROSSING" card, they must roll the die again. An odd roll      
          means the party loses a supply card and stays in their spot, an even roll means the river has 
          been crossed safely and the party advances one space.

If a player draws a calamity that results in their death they leave the game but may donate any supply cards they have to other members of the party.  

The entire party "wins" if even ONE person makes it Oregon. Trust me, it doesn't happen often. The first time we did this program we played 7 times and made it to Oregon ONCE with ONE PERSON left in the party. 

Questions, comments or concerns? Shoot me an email using the links above or comment below!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Programming Post: Fandom Guess Who

Do you guys remember the old board game "Guess Who?" It was basically a 20-questions type of game where your opponent chose a character from a game board, then you asked them a series of yes/no questions to try and guess who they had chosen.

For those not familiar, it looked like this.

Since, as you know by now if you have ever read this blog, I happen to love turning  live-action versions of classic board and video games in to programs, I decided to update the game to be more appealing to my teens and created my own "Fandom Guess Who" game.

I created my game board on Publisher, on an 8.5" by 14" piece of paper. I chose 30 characters that I liked from a variety of different Fandoms (15 females and 15 males).

The fandoms I chose were:
Steven Universe
Anime (Studio Ghibli, Dragon Ball and Naruto, to be more specific)
Harry Potter
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
Star Wars
Rick and Morty
Video Games (Bendy and the Ink Machine and Super Mario)
Doctor Who and
Adventure Time.

I found images of each character standing alone, and used them to make a board that was 5 characters across by 5 characters down. Then I used the same images to create a deck of cards from which I could choose the character that was to be guessed.

This was my finished play board.

The rules were:
Only Yes/No type questions are allowed.
Only one question per person per round.
The group gets 20 questions total to make a guess, but guesses can be made at any time after the first question has been asked.
If you make a guess, and guess wrong, you you lose your next turn.
You may NOT ask any questions about a character's age.
You may NOT as any questions about a character's race, gender, species or skin color.
You may not ask any questions about a character's age.
You may not ask if a character is human or a cartoon.

Play can be done with any size group, (up to 20, since there are only 20 questions) but I would not recommend playing with more than 10 at a time to give everyone the chance to potentially ask at LEAST one question.

In addition to the board, each player needs some kind of marker to "block out" the characters they think have been excluded. If the boards are laminated, dry-erase markers are great, if not: beans, buttons or any small objects you have lots of will do.

It's a really easy and fun game, doesn't take a ton of work to put together, and costs virtually nothing. The teens enjoy it because they get to challenge and try to stump the staff while having fun. Plus you can play it any time, and practically anywhere.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My first grant!

Well happy happy day!
I have been warded my first grant!
I don't get money but what I do get is lots of books to start a reading group with underserved teens! It's the Great Stories Club grant from the ALA and my library has gotten it before, but we have a new partner organization. We'll be partnering with an organization called MIKID. That stands for Mentally Ill Kids in Distress. All the children and teens they serve have diagnosed mental illnesses, and many also have developmental and physical disabilities.
The grant works like this: you choose 4 books from a list that fit each of 2 themes: this year's themes are Empathy and Heroism. They give you 11 sets of each of the 8 books and then you create a book-club program around those selections.
Plus the project coordinators (that would be me) get a trip to Chicago for training! I've never been to Chicago so I am stoked!
In fact I am stoked about the entire thing!
Keep an eye open for posts about my adventures with the grant and the program!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Programming Post: How to Start a BookCrossing Project

Raise your hands if you're heard about BookCrossing!

In case you haven't, BookCrossing is a very cool free website that lets you "read and release" books and track their journeys around the world. How it works:
You create a profile.
You read some books.
You register the books you just read with the website and they are assigned a number (a BCID, in the lingo of the site) which you can then either write inside the book or use a little sticker to decorate the cover, like this one:
Once the book is registered and decorated, you either give the book to a friend (this is called a "controlled release") or you leave the book in a public place for someone else to find (this is called a "wild release").

The hope is that someone will find your book and log it as found. Hopefully they also leave you a little note as to where they are, what they thought of the book etc... and if you're lucky, they re-release the book so the cycle can continue over and over. 

Years ago, when I worked in Youth Services, I created  a profile for my Tween Advisory Group and we did a release of about a dozen books. The books started in southern Arizona and some made it as far as London and Paris, which was thrilling for the kids. Now I have set up an official book crossing zone in my new teen room, and we are starting the process all over again, in hopes people will share and love our books. It's a great passive program that takes very little effort (and is a GREAT way to get rid of some no longer wanted ARCs too, by the way!) and it gives the teens a chance to 1) be totally ninja and release books in creative locations 2) spread the joy of reading around the world 3) hear from people outside their immediate area who also love the books they love. 

I'll be keeping you all posted on how this goes! 

(Photo courtesy Dominique Sandoval) Our new Book Crossing Zone on day 1 of the project. By the end of the day we had 40 books donated to us and registered.

If you are already a member of BookCrossing, please send a friend request to YCLDTeens so you can keep track of what we're up to, and if you are NOT a member but choose to join because of this blog, please use YCLDTeens as your "referring member!" Thanks!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Reading Begins!

Well, it's here!
This year, like we do most years, my library is participating in the national Collaborative Summer Reading Program, which means our theme is music.
Keep in mind that our last Teen Services Manager left just before the program crunch, and even though I TECHNICALLY started the job on May 7th, today, June 4th is my actual first day on the job.
Originally the plan was for me to continue to work half time at my old branch and half time in the teen department at our Main Library, but that did NOT happen and I really only got about 4 days of work in at the new space within the past month. I do not recommend trying to be a Branch Librarian AND a section manager at the same time, by the way, it is HORRIBLE and hard and stressful and bad! I'm just VERY happy that I have a great support staff who held down the fort admirably without much guidance from me. They even got some decorations up for me! Check out our cool Piano Window!

Window in our Teen Room. 
We've got some great programs planned over the next few months, so expect write-ups and photos to come!
Happy SRP!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Holy heck it's official!

I found out Wednesday but couldn't say anything until it was officially announced, but I have been promoted from Branch Librarian to Teen Services Manager within my current library district!

I could not be more excited to start on this new adventure, and of course this will mean I will have to do a lot more programming, so please stay tuned for all kinds of Y.A. high-jinks! I'll be playing two roles for a while as I will still be working at my branch half-time for at least a few more weeks, but the full switch-over should be complete by June 1st, right in time for Summer Reading!



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Librarian Post - Bad Art Day!

This program was SO much fun y'all!

The entire point of the program is for patrons to make the worst art they can possibly make with whatever weird stuff we have floating around. The one thing I did have to purchase was Canvas Paper ($6 or so for about 10 sheets, available at any art supply store) but you can also do it with Watercolor paper, which is slightly cheaper, actual canvases if you can find a good deal or heavy card stock (but I don't recommend card stock as it can get too wet too fast depending on what supplies you set out).

Each person who attended the program was given one sheet of the paper, and told they could use any of the other supplies they wanted to. Supplies they were provided included:
 - old magazines removed from the collection
 - old books removed form the collection
 - old newspapers removed the collection
 - glue sticks
 - scissors (regular and the fancy scrapbooking kinds that cut pretty patterns)
 - Washi tape
 - markers
 - crayons
 - different types of foam stickers
 - ribbons
 - "puffy paint" (the kind you use for decorating clothes)
 - a bad of old photo booth props I had floating around
 - feathers
 - fuzzy pom poms
 - acrylic paints and brushes

Anything else you have can go in the pile - colored pencils, drawing pencils, sequins, googly eyes, butcher paper, construction paper, glitter (if you are a bit of a masochist and enjoy the cleanup, otherwise stick to glitter-glue) etc.

I told the group they had 45 minutes to make their masterpieces and come up with a super awesome name for them. Then we would have a 15 minute show and tell where we would discuss their artistic achievements and they meant to them. Let me tell you, the group was cracking up the entire time and doing super fun things! Bonus points - we had kids AND adults doing the same project and having a jolly good time. I even had several people ask me if we would consider making this a monthly program and let me tell you, I am really considering just that because it was so cool! Below are some of their gorgeous achievements and the titles they chose.

The Day of the Eyes

Floating Into Confusion

Doesn't Follow Instructions

Orange Crush Meets Purple Rain: A Senior's View

Colorful Rainforest

Nana's Day

The Eye of Day

Confused: A Day a the Circus

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Librarian Post - Peeps Dioramas!

     When I first started working within my current library district, we hosted a district-wide Peeps Diorama competition in the style of the Washington Post's annual contest. At that time the adult programs were run by a lovely woman named Mimi. She has since retired, but I still keep in touch with her through the magic of Facebook.
    At the time of Mimi's retirement, her job functions were taken over by someone new who was... let's say "less enthusiastic." She decided to let the annual contest die, and I have always been a little sad about it, because it was one of my favorite events, and one of the few things we participated in as a district. (Because it was a completely anonymous judging, even employees and their families were encouraged to participate).
   This year, I said to heck with it and decided to bring the contest back within my branch. I asked Mimi for some input, and got great advice from other libraries that have been holding their own versions of the competition to come up with guidelines and now I am just sitting around hoping some dioramas actually get turned in!

The guidelines are quite simple:
1. The theme is Peeps in Literature so all dioramas must be somehow based on a book.
2. All parts of the diorama are to fit within a maximum 14" X 16" box.
3. The scenes depicted must be appropriate for all ages.
4. The title of the diorama must be somewhere on the front of the box, and Peeps related puns are highly encouraged.
5. One entry per person or group, by which I specified that someone is welcome to turn in an individual entry IN ADDITION TO participating in a group entry.
6. 5 people max per group entry.
7. Judging will be blind, so upon receiving them, each entry is given a number.

The entrants also have to turn in a form with the names of who made the diorama, the title, their age or ages, a phone for contact and note with category they are entering into so I can contact them if they win something.

The categories are:
Children age 12 or under
Teens ages 13-17
Adults ages 18 and older

One diorama will also be crowned Peeple's Choice through later voting by patrons. I have made cute little certificates and have a few small prizes for the winners. I even made a super slapdash simple diorama as a sample. Can you guess what book it's based on?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: Kim Reaper Graphic Novel

     Sarah Graley's new Kim Reaper graphic novel series is a promising new title for the tween and teen set.
     The story revolves around Becka, an adorably dorky University student who is mega-crushing on Kim, a cute Goth girl in one of her classes. Becka has never even spoken to Kim but has decided they are meant to be, and finally works up the courage to ask her for a drink down at the pub when she sees Kim whip out a GIANT scythe and open a portal to who knows where. Becka follows and realizes that Kim is a part-time Grim Reaper.
    A series of hilarious adventures follow - including an attempt at reaping the soul of a cat owned by a crazed, steroid-using body builder (because Kim is only part-time she can only reap animal souls). But, when Kim breaks the rules and gets in MAJOR trouble with her bosses, Becka needs to decide if this potential relationship is even worth it. Meanwhile Kim learns a big mistake she made could cost her not only her job but her life (if you get fired from reaping, you're fired from LIFE) UNLESS she reaps Beka! Drama ensues!
    The only negative I have here is that the art style is really juvenile - and the story is so cutesy that the story would probably most appeal to tweens... but the characters are all University students who party hard and drink a lot, and that aspect probably would not appeal to a tween audience. I do think it's a promising start to a series that shows a lot of potential - and the fact that the main characters are a bi-racial lesbian couple is definitely a refreshing aspect that will definitely appeal to younger LGBT-etc. girls who want (and need) these types of positive role models.

      Kim Reaper hits shelves tomorrow, March 13th, 2018.

3/5 bookmarks! Loses points for the visuals not really matching the character backgrounds. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Review: Photographic

     Photographic is a biographical graphic novel about the life and art of the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, who made it her life's mission to capture the unusual in the everyday, and made it her life's work to especially capture the beauty of women - including one of her favorite subjects, the Muxe (pronounced moo-hay) - a group of transgender women in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
     As a Mexican woman it hit me deep to read about a fellow Mexican woman who has become internationally renowned for her art and her vision of our very unique culture. There just are not enough books like this ESPECIALLY in beautiful graphic novel form that incorporates both the artists actual works with new images interpreted by a new author.
     The style of the book will certainly appeal to people of all ages, since it is simple enough for kids to understand but interesting enough that adults will enjoy it and learn from it as well. 

Photographic hits shelves tomorrow, March 6, 2018

4/5 bookmarks!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: Fantomah

     Fantomah is a pretty problematic graphic novel for me. What it basically amounts to is a middle-aged Canadian guy trying to tell the story of a teenage Hispanic woman living in the inner city, while trying to incorporate (incorrectly, I might add) elements of Latin American folklore into the mix.
     He's basically taken the story of a specter known as "La Llorona" (The Weeping Woman) and re-named her "La Fantomah," for some reason, though I have never heard her refereed to this way before, then attempted to turn her from a boogie-man type character meant to scare little Mexican kids into being good, into some kind of heroic, but also crazy and murderous entity out to save the lives of little kids.
    The basic gist is that the local gang is kidnapping children, ostensibly to sell them into sex-trafficking. The protagonist's little sisters get kidnapped, the protagonist gets thrown in the river by her gang-member ex boyfriend while looking for the girls and she is somehow (though it's never explained how to any degree of satisfaction) becomes "La Fantomah" and can hear the prayers of people in crisis. She also becomes super strong, is able to fly and is invulnerable to bullets (though maybe only when she is La Fantomah and not when she reverts back to being human, though THAT is also not very clear). In the process of rescuing the kids, she goes on a massive killing spree of gang members and eventually encounters a demon (or maybe an alien? Who knows.).
     A lot of the plot points are confusing and never fully explained, plus we don't get to know really ANYTHING about the main character before she becomes a revenge-ghost, or after for that matter, so it's pretty hard to know if we're supposed to be horrified or empathetic or what. 

Fantomah is on shelves now, but leave it there, it's not really worth picking up. 

2/5 bookmarks. The art is nice. Otherwise it's pretty bad. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Pestilence

     Well, here's a new concept in the deluge of Zombie graphic novels! Pestilence is a fantasy/sci-fi/Speculative fiction title that asks the question: what if the black plague of the Medieval era actually turned people into zombies? And what if the Catholic Church worked REALLY hard to make sure people never found out about it?
    The story centers around the members of Fiat Lux, a group of former templar crusaders who are called to the Vatican to help rescue the pope from the swarm of undead hoards that are causing destruction throughout the land. Of course the men start getting picked off one by one on their way to fulfill their quest, and there is a ton of gross, gory violence and cursing going on all around. It's good action for the gore-lovers all around UNTIL we find out that the church is a bunch of jerks trying to suppress the fact that the "plague" makes people into zombies because... drum roll please.... Jesus came back from the dead, and the zombies are coming back from the dead, and they don't want anyone to say "Jesus was a zombie!"
    Seriously. That's the Catholic Church's ACTUAL stance on Zombies in this book. Oh, did I mention there is a Zombie Pope? Yup. Zombie Pope.
    Pestilence is certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I have to admit it was actually kind of a breath of fresh air, since it's one zombie back story I had definitely never heard before!

Pestilence is on shelves now.

3/5 bookmarks. Loses points for silly Pope stuff.