What I’m Programming – Throwback Thursdays (January)

So I thought I’d start some ongoing lists and descriptions of the crazy stuff I’m able to program since it’s been so fun to put together.  I’m starting it off with Throwback Thursdays, an idea I had to mix retro stuff (Technology! Games! Crafts!) with modern twists or counterparts.  They take place (of course) on Thursday afternoons and last 1 hour each.

Last night @justinthelibrarian and I hosted our very first one and it was incredible fun.  We taught kids about how records work, how record players are different than turntables and then had kids choose records.  From those records we taught them how to record a clip, edit it, loop it, and mix it with other clips other kids wanted to use.  The result was total magic, listen to it here. I live tweeted it on my twitter account and plan to do so with all the others.  If you’re interested in that kind of thing you can check it out here.

Other upcoming TBT programs will be:

1/16 – Sweet Bracelets (Making Candy Wrapper Bracelets and Rainbow Bracelets)

1/23 – Gaming Gone Retro (Will you have more fun playing on one of DS systems or playing a board game as as group!?!?)

1/30 – Pixel Art (Let’s take giant post-it notes and decorate our windows in Pixel Art!

I’ll try to be good about posting photos of what we get up to and instructions.

Til Thursday, everyone!TBT Poster

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Create Your Own Divergent Release Party – Phase 2

So I’ve had a couple months to get my ideas together and bounce them off my incredible staff members @justinthelibrarian and Lee Hope to find out what’s doable, what’s fun and what would drive them bonkers and needs to be dropped.  Here’s where things stand:

The Cardboard Fear Simulator:  They both loved this idea!  In fact, Justin went the following week to talk to a local manufacturing company about saving us as many large cardboard boxes as possible.  They said they do that all the time and they’d be happy to reserve their boxes for us until Spring for free.  In fact, they’ll even drop them off for us!  AMAZING!  I’ll be getting fun sensory materials to put inside, foam, ripped paper, bubble wrap, sponges, etc.  Depending on which path they take they’ll be sorted into different factions.  As they emerge they’ll receive a button stating which faction they now belong to.  If they get too scared and go back to the beginning they’ll be dubbed “Factionless” and receive that button!

Giant Foam Pit w/ Pictures:  I decided it was a bit unrealistic to start with a foam pit for my first project (someday, my pretty) but I did figure out how to get the whole jumping off a building shot thing.  We’ve recently installed a photo booth on the 2nd floor (Check it out here!) and in talking with our incredible Tech staff we’re going to do a green screen backdrop and have kids jump while we take their photos.  The buildings will be super imposed in the background and voila!  Base jumping shots from the comfort of your library that are instantly uploaded to our Phothobooth’s own Instagram Page.

Temporary Tattoo Station:  We got our Silhouette Cameo up and running and will be getting some tattoo paper to print the tattoos off with, this should be fairly straight forward and because we’re printing them ourselves we can make them nice and big!

Crazy Dystopian Hair Station/Hair Chalking:  I’m going to be reaching out to a local beauty school to see if their hair students would be willing to come for an hour and just give crazy hairstyles to the teens.  Luckily a staff member has a connection to one local school but there are many we could reach out to.  It could be a great chance for these students to add some more unique work to their portfolios!

We’ll be purchasing the hair chalk supplies this week and doing test runs with kids at our next Focus Group which should be a ton of fun!

Also, I’ve got some new ideas to add in:

Giveaways:  I want to give away a couple of the trilogies of the books that night as well as tickets for the movie since we’ll be hosting the event the Friday that the movie opens, March 21st.  Since we probably won’t have enough tickets and books for everyone, we’ll also have ARCs to giveaway and I’ll be 3D printing some kind of Ferris Wheel items for everyone to take home.

Trailer/Munchies: We’ll have the trailer/s looping on one of the walls with our popcorn machine out so kids can  watch it and munch away… I’m even going to try and make Amity Bags to hold the popcorn so our look is authentic.

I’m getting really excited, this plan is coming together nicely, I have a ton of support and I can’t wait to finally host my first big event here at CPL!  Feel free to share whatever you’re going to do in the comments, I’d love to talk to other people hosting something like this!

DivergentFans_VeronicaRoth

Giving Teens Leadership Experience through Your Volunteer Program

My newest goal at the Chattanooga Public Library is to develop and new branch of our Teen Volunteer Program that’s all about leadership.  If you’ve ever met me or heard me speak in person about volunteer management you’ll know I’m very into creating empowering opportunities that translate well for teens onto college or job applications.  It’s that passion and the freedom of my new job which gave me a great brainstorm just before the holiday season:

I want to teach teens how to program for libraries.

I want them to choose whatever they’re passionate about, let me teach them how to run it as a program and then let them take the driver’s seat and actually run it.  I’ve figure out how to fit all of this into a two hour block of time so it’s easily adapted to school requirements and teenage lives.  Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Come and tell me what you’re interested in teaching.  I’ll give you a volunteer application to fill out and explain how this works.

Step 2- We schedule a time to get together and I’ll walk you through “How to Run a Program” in a half hour.  We’ll also set up the date and time of your program.

Step 3 – Today is your program!  Work your magic and I’ll act as your helper for the duration of the program.

Step 4 – After your program we’ll take ten minutes to discuss whether or not your enjoyed leading a program and if you’d like to do it again or remain a mysterious one hit wonder!

That’s it.  Super simple.  And when kids are done they’ll have programming experience at a very recognizable nonprofit and I’ll even provide them with a one-sheeter of the kind of work they’ve done translated into “employment ” and “academic” terms they can plug into those applications.

Update, 2/26/2014!:  I recently wrote a piece for The Chattanooga Public Library on a similar topic.

The 3 D’s of 3D Printing – Necessity is the Mother of Invention

The 3 D's of 3D Printing - Necessity is the Mother of invention

It was a dark and stormy night. @justinthelibrarian was giving me a ride home as my car had been totaled a couple days before on the winding and treacherous mountain road that leads to my apartment. We were both feeling frazzled by our 3D printer.

Sure, it was a lot of fun but as tends to happen with many library services it was becoming a novelty that folks wanted instant gratification from. If any of you have played with 3D printers by now you know they aren’t speed machines. An object the size of your fist can easily take 3-5 hours to produce depending on what kind of meat hooks you’ve got and the specifics you put into the printer. This was resulting in a lot of “Make me this” and “I’ll be back in a few days to pick it up” which meant we were essentially a two man queue of constant printing. And not just cute little things, ridiculous 8-16 hour jobs of things that were gimmicky test runs.

It’s total human nature to want to make the biggest, craziest thing you possibly can get away with when it comes to cool, free technology but we felt the point was being missed and it was a drain on our time and resources. In short, it was totally bumming us out. Something had to be done and on that short car ride the idea of the 3 D’s of 3D Printing was born.

What we wanted people to be taking away from using this machine was inspiration and a desire to learn more about design and how it can affect our society, not just trinkets. But trinkets are cool too and we didn’t want to take those away either!

Now we’ve worked out a way for our patrons to have one on one time with a librarian who will teach them step by step how to use the websites and programs available to start by reproducing and designing their own small and trinkety objects. In each step they graduate into thinking like designers and learning about the social impact these machines can have.

Justin’s written a great piece on the plan we’ve developed for kids to earn their first 3D Printing License here. It’s kind of like working through the belts in karate, this lowest level license is the White License. With this license you’re allowed to print one object per day that takes 1 hour or less to print and you can ask a librarian to change the color of the filament before the print begins. This allows kids to level up and earn those big prints they really want while learning what is and is not going to work. It creates order around the printer since each person can print one item per day and allows a greater number of patrons access to the printer at the same time. It has provided an incredible transformation and the parents love it!

We’re still tweaking the next 3 challenges kids will need to complete in order to earn their Yellow License but we had to share what we’ve worked out because chances are if we’re experiencing these growing pains with our 3D printer so are you and this might just be an option that works for you as well!

Tell me if this helps you out or if you have other road blocks you’ve encountered so far in the comments!

Oh, and I’ve finally found a new car now and am back on the road in case you were wondering. Viva la VW!