Saturday, March 10, 2012

Having a Party

I will say that despite literally crawling into bed after almost passing out in the shower from exhaustion (and wondering if SPL has hazard pay) that hosting a big Dr. Seuss Day was totally worth it. Everyone had so much fun! There were those looks on the kids’ faces, and the happy looks on the faces of the fathers as they got to see Lance Briggs, and staff was happy to see him, too!

Briggs was extremely nice. He hung out in the staff room with his family beforehand and I heard someone say, “He’s sitting in that chair! We must never wash it!” Which I wasn’t even thinking of doing, meaning it will never get washed, so one wish down; what are your other two?

He read “Green Eggs and Ham” in the big purple chair with a gazillion people listening. Then he signed sign autographs and took pictures for 40 minutes. When trying to round up the staff I thought, “Staff would be upset if we don’t take a photo, but the guys my kill me if I don’t include them.”
Someone pointed out that I’m right next to Briggs in the photo. Yes, I am. After giving half of Logistics my cell number to work out, well, logistics, and breaking my nails while setting out parking cones while everyone else was meeting downtown, I would have happily elbowed the Pope to get by him.

You may also want to steer clear of me if I’m clothes shopping.

That said, Lance Briggs was the highlight of the day, but by no means the only thing going on. We did lots of stuff---crafts, storytimes, face painting, giveaways, refreshments, etc.--- that are easy to duplicate at any branch. When doing something big, thinking inside the box is actually more important than thinking outside of it. Thinking outside the box usually costs money. That’s fine for members of the Jersey Shore or if you’re married the future king of England (if his grandmother doesn’t succeed in living forever). The rest of the world has budgets. Besides, we already have the box---it’s sitting in your storage room…and under your desk...and in that room near the “dungeon,” aka, the scary storage space in Central’s basement. You are surrounded by and know how to do plenty of stuff already. Just do more of it at once. (And schedule a massage for the next day.)

Crafts: I’ve already posted instructions for all of these crafts. They just needed tweaking for the event.

Lanterns---Kids made lanterns from Dr. Seuss coloring sheets
Postcards---Dr. Seuss coloring pages were set 4 to a page and printed on the back of postcard templates.
Flags---More Dr. Seuss, this time in colorable flag form.

Napkins and gloves: We used the latex gloves from the janitorial closet (yes, they are food safe), and obtained napkins from the surplus supply list.

Face painting: Did you know YS has a face painting kit? What I thought would be some intricate hard-to-use mash up of paints was actually a colorful kit that looked like crayons. Though we brought in Just for Fun face painters from 3-5, we needed something for the smaller children who showed up from 1-3. A volunteer made painted simple designs that pleased your average toddler.

Storytime activities: I can honestly say I did not plan to do additional activities, but when some kids began to get restless I ended up shaking shaky eggs and flapping around like a bird.

Read to a Dog: Since we already have a regular service dog literacy program, I contacted the leader to see if additional dogs could come in.

Scooter the Safety Dog: Scooter was kind enough to join us for a storytime, so I called to see if he was available to visit that day. The children enjoyed the mascot (save for the ones who went screaming to their mommies) and Scooter’s handler read “The Lorax” to an enraptured crowed, and scooter also flapped his "wings" right along beside me for storytime activities.

Giveaways: People have commented that I have the cleanest children’s librarian space they’ve been to. This is because of my “Everything must go! Give it away, give it away, give it away now!” policy I developed towards kids stuff so that a certain librarian who shall remain nameless (she's the sup at CHS) wouldn't strangle me when we worked together. Unlike Twinkies, kids’ giveaways have a shelf life. Erasers die. Popular book titles get old. Paper looks like it’s been attacked by mice. You have about a 6 month window to turn your clutter into someone else’s prize before it starts slowly drifting into the trash column. We gave away books, pencils, bookmarks, tattoos (thanks Scooter!), and pretty much any item that wasn’t nailed down.

Volunteers: The volunteers were excellent. Even my nephew did a good job manning the giveaway table, though he complained, “Those kids kept mobbing me!” They came on time, if not early, stayed longer than I thought, and they were extremely hard working.

If you’re looking for something special to do for summer reading, don’t be afraid---go for it. And remember, even if you don’t have tons of cash to spend, there might be a boxed program or two (or five) you can borrow to help make that special day just so much more specialer.

Yes, that’s a made up word.

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