Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome to Fuzzyland (Or, an odyssey in youth library services)

They teach you plenty of things in library school. Cataloguing, bibliographic instruction, theories of information, storytelling... lots of stuff.

They forget to mention to Youth Services types that you must also have an intimate acquaintance with gluesticks, foam-board, construction paper, and of course, ninja ducks.

This month at Cherry Hills, we're holding 3rd Degree Thursdays, a creative problem-solving game based on Odyssey of the Mind. (Why? I miss OM. ;p) Today, the problem was to make a monument to something that didn't deserve a monument, using two paper bowls, some string, a bit of modeling clay, some toothpicks, cotton balls, and a couple of small leftover summer reading prizes. Participants had no idea what the question was going to be before they arrived.

May I introduce you to Fuzzyland?

Created on the fly from random materials, by a five year old (the program is kids eight to eighteen, but she came with her sisters), Fuzzyland has a whole social system, and networks of relationships among its inhabitants... which are made out of cotton balls and pom-pom critters, as well as one of our favorite ninja ducks (the unofficial mascots of the Teen Advisory Board).

Maybe you'd like a more traditional monument. Meet Ninja Duck I:

Or The Statue of Cotton Balls:

And our oldest, unsure what to create to monumentalize, went with an abstract sculpture, sure to be a hit on the modern art circuit:

All of this is part of what the library does for kids--we like to offer them oppurtunities to be creative and solve problems on their own, and to give them the materials they need to keep their minds ticking along.

In preschool, we make flags monthly for the countries we "visit" via storytime, and all summer, we have programmers for all ages.

This is one of the best parts of my job as a children's librarian. You can keep track of all of our upcoming programs--for kids and adults--at the website.

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