11 August 2016
Teen Programming: National Night Out
National Night Out is always the first Tuesday in August. Interestingly enough, my Teen Advisory Board (TAB) meetings are also always on the first Tuesday of the month. This year we decided to combine these events and have the teens take care of the library's table at National Night Out.
At the July TAB meeting I asked the teens what type of thing they would like to do at the table. I suggested a craft or something simple, since we would have to transport everything there and there would be lots of other things for people to do. The teens suggested face painting, which is easy enough to manage, so I approved their suggestion and lined up teen volunteers to take care of face painting that night, provided that I brought supplies.
I purchased three Snazaroo face painting kits, three extra packs of brushes, two sets of hand mirrors (from the dollar store), and one package of baby wipes. I was hoping to keep things relatively clean this way and allow the teens to keep face painting as we sent someone to clean brushes. The Snazaroo paint is kid-friendly and cleans off easily. I also made sure to pack the library's table cloth as well as some bookmarks, pens, pencils, and other library paraphernalia so that people would have a takeaway even if they didn't want to have their faces painted.
The set-up was very simple, and once the event started, our table was extremely popular. The teens were kept busy painting faces and hands, and those who were not painting were rotated through brush washing duty and "go look at interesting things happening tonight" duty. Everyone did work and everyone got a break, too, and we had a busy table for most of the night. At the end, we put away the face paint, bundled up the brushes (to be brought home and sanitized in my dishwasher), wrapped up the table cloth and we were good to go. Set up and clean up each took about five minutes, so we got to focus most of our time on what we were doing, and in between customers I was able to chat with the teens and get to know them a bit better.
I will definitely be doing this activity again next year if the teens are still interested, as it was the best combination of simple and successful I've seen so far.