"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

12 December 2014

Passive Programming

In addition to regular story times, movie nights, and crafts, my library also regularly has some sort of passive programming available.  This program is usually a craft or game that patrons can do at their leisure whenever they happen to be in the library.  In the past, we have used all of the following for passive programs:

  • Build with LEGO bricks
  • Play a board game
  • Help color a giant table-sized picture
  • Complete a simple craft
One of the nice things about passive programming, from a staff standpoint, is that it is exactly what it's called: passive. There's no instruction, very little supervision, and it can be set up at the beginning of the week and then taken down whenever it has outlived its usefulness.

Our passive program this week involves holiday Mad Libs. I remember thoroughly enjoying these word puzzles both as a student and also when I was a teacher. I also remember from teaching that it's silly to reinvent the wheel, so I checked online and found numerous examples of free printable Mad Libs that may not have been created by the people at Looney Labs, but are still enjoyable and simple.

For our passive program, I made copies of six different puzzles, putting each on a different color of paper, and also set out instructions that offer a "refresher course" for those who may have forgotten the difference between an adjective and an adverb.  The sign is set on a table along with the stacks of puzzles and some of the ubiquitous golf pencils that float around my library and settle into desk drawers. 

I enjoy these types of programs because I am helping encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning in my patrons, and because this is an educational activity that also happens to be fun. We can't circulate books of Mad Libs since they are meant to be written on, but this way I can share the concept with my patrons and they can discover that this is another way to have fun with words. 

What kinds of passive programs do you do at your library? Which are your favorites? Which are patron favorites?

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