Leaving a job you love

 

Leaving a job that you love can be daunting. How do you say goodbye? How do you move on? I just left my Teen Library job in January and I thought I would share some things that I did to help me move on and to help the teens transition to a new librarian.

Some background: I worked at the library for 3 years. Two of them as the teen librarian. I had gotten pretty attached to the kids and I knew that it would be hard to say goodbye. I had worked hard to build a thriving teen area in our library and our Teen Advisory Board had grown quite a bit since I started. My teens were instrumental in helping me make positive changes in our branch and getting their friends to come to programs. I’m really proud of the TAB members and their dedication to making the library a great hang out spot for their peers. If I had to be happy about leaving, at least I was leaving on an upward trend.

Blogs and sites with great advice: 

I asked for some advice on Teen Services Underground and got some good ideas on how to start my transition. One of my favorite bloggers The Magpie Librarian has a great post about leaving your library. While our reasons for leaving are different (my husband got a job out of state), I still found her advice on point. Check out her post: On Leaving your Library.

One of my favorite points from her entry is to “create an “I’m Leaving” elevator speech. Trust me, you will need this. You will get asked by lost of people including patrons why you are leaving. It can become very exhausting to offer a lengthy explanation each time. My response varied depending on the person.

Patron Response“My husband got a job in another state. It’s a really great opportunity for him and while I’m sad to leave a job that I love, I think it will be a great fresh start for the both of us. Besides, Colorado is beautiful!” 

This response kept things positive and upbeat. I used this on adult patrons and parent’s of the teens I worked with. It summed up the reasons without giving too much away. If they had further questions I could respond or walk away as needed if I was busy.

Co-Worker Response– ” My husband got a job in another state. It’s a really great opportunity for him. I’m really going to miss working here. You have taught me so much (if this was a mentor). I’m thankful I got to work with such a great staff.”  (This is just a short example)

Be sure to thank co-workers who have mentored you. I worked for a huge system so it was hard to get to everyone before I left. Send cards or personal emails. Make a point to visit with staff that you are close with and have those “hey you’re an awesome person and thank you” conversations. I also sent a goodbye email to our branch and to the youth staff. If you want to stay in touch be sure to include your new contact information.

Here is another blog with great career advice and some good words about some of the responses you might need to prepare for when you announce that you’re leaving: Resignation After-Effects

Telling the Teens: Be prepared for the feels… 

So for this part I’m going to tell you what I did and what I wish I had done differently. My husband left for his job the first week of January. We knew in December that this was happening. I thought that it would be a good idea to tell my supervisors that I was leaving as soon as possible so they were prepared. Everyone knew I was leaving for about 2 months. If I had to do this again I would have waited a bit longer. While it was great for transitioning the teens (more later), it sucked having the “oh your leaving” conversation for 2 months straight. It wore me out emotionally and physically.

What worked:

I told my TAB kids in December. I wanted to wait, but one of the kids found out through social media. His sister had aged out of the teen program and we are friends on Facebook. (she’s now in her 20’s) He convinced me that it would be better to tell everyone now than wait until the rumors got started. It turned out to be a good thing.

Let me tell you this was the hardest conversation I have ever had with my teens. They were shocked and I did tear up a bit. I managed to not sob and I was very thankful that my volunteer was with me to help explain things and pass out Kleenex. I let them know that my hubby had gotten a job and we were moving to a new state. I told them that they were wonderful kids and that I would miss them so much. I also told them how proud I was to be their librarian. I listed all the awesome accomplishments we had as a TAB group and then let them ask me questions.

  • Be honest– They can handle things better than you might think.
  • Be prepared for a range of emotions– I was surprised by the sheer amount of tears from my teens. Totally not expected. A few were mad. One had to leave the room. Let them deal with their emotions as long as they are being mature. You might have teen that rages about never coming back to the library. Let them rage. Then remind them that there are other awesome librarians that care about them. You might also get a ton of hugs!
  • Tell them as soon as you can- I’m so glad I gave the kids 2 months to prepare. I had time to transition them to the new librarian. I also had a chance to ask them what they wanted from the new staff. They gave me honest and thoughtful answers and came up with a list of things they liked and didn’t like about the current program. One of my teens even wrote a letter of recommendation for one of the librarians applying for my position. It was adorable and I think it helped her get the job!! I also had time to visit my outreach schools and break the news. I was able to talk to almost all of my kids before I left so there were no surprises. I know that my transition time was pretty unusual and the typical time is a few weeks at best. Go with what works for you.
  • Let them throw a party– You might be shy or uncomfortable with parties. Teens are not. Having a going away party with your teens is a wonderful way to close doors and help them move on. It also lets them do something for you. My teens planned a snack night glitter fest. It was epic! We had a blast and no one left in tears. It was a happy celebration of my time with them and I love every second of it. (even though I’m still finding glitter in odd places)

  • Decide how to keep in contact– My teens knew that once they graduated from High School they could friend me on Facebook. By that time they are “adulty-ish” enough to make their own decisions. They can however, follow me on Twitter or Instagram since most of my posts are library or book related and not very personal. All of my TAB kids have my email and only 2 kids had my cell #.  This is because I helped them out at school functions and speech and debate tournaments. You decide what works for you. I got a ton of messages at first and now I only hear from 2 kids on a regular basis. I’m very thankful that they seem to be moving on. (only a tiny bit sad) Some kids need that connection, but it’s okay to say no or set up a side email if you are not comfortable.

Things I would change and things that surprised me:

  • Time- Honestly, 2 months was good in some respects and sucked in others. If I had to do it over I would have waited another month. There were some teens that were sad every time they came in during that time frame. They cried a lot. It was an emotional ride for everyone. I think it also got exhausting for co-workers. I got sick of having the “why are you leaving” conversation and I know they got tired of hearing it. After about a month I was ready to move on and unable to do so because I was packing my house and I needed the extra paycheck. Thankfully, I have some amazing co-workers who were super supportive during the whole transition.
  • My emotional responses– I was an emotional wreck and exhausted. My hubby was in Denver and I was dealing with the house and closing everything down alone. I barely cried and held it all in. IT’S OK TO BE SAD! Crying is not a weakness. Just pick and choose your moments carefully. Sobbing in the stacks in front of patrons might not be a wise choice. Go for a walk and let some of those bottled up emotions out. Take deep breaths. Get plenty of sleep. Transitions and moves are high on the stress list. Self care is critical.
  • Dealing with angry teens– While one of my kids came around and understood why I had to leave, another never came back. I wish I had stepped away from my group and had a conversation with them right then. I thought they would come back and I would get another chance to chat with them. I was not prepared for how angry some of the teens would feel. If I had thought about it sooner I might have been a bit more prepared for that response. I also realized that in the end I could not take it personally. You never know what it going on in their lives. Just knowing that anger and yelling was a possibility would have helped me prepare a response rather than standing there in shock.
  • Negative patron responses– I was pretty tied to the community through my involvement/creation of LibraryCon. I was not expecting that some of them would take it as a personal affront that I would no longer be involved in this program. In the end I had to let it roll off my back. You can’t make everyone happy.

Ultimately how you say goodbye to a wonderful job is up to you. I wrote this to share some of the things I encountered when leaving. Most of them were good and I only had a few moments of “wow.” Which is pretty much the joy of working with the public! I am thankful that my job was supportive of my long term resignation. I’m also thankful that my teens took it well and helped the library hire an amazing new teen librarian!

Final thoughts- Don’t forget to take care of yourself and let some of those emotions out. Leaving a job is hard even if you are ready to go. I hope this post helps. Is there anything that I missed? Do you have good advice for leaving? Please link me up or add comments below.

 

 

 

 

Moving and other fun news!

Dear readers-

This year has been a bit crazy and I have not kept up with blogging on a regular basis. To add to the craziness of 2016, we are moving!! My hubby has accepted a job in Colorado and will report there in January. I get the lovely task of packing and attempting to sell the house. This also means I am leaving my Library. This news makes me so very sad, because I love where I work and I adore my teens. It is going to be a big change and I am hoping to jump back into the library world as soon as possible. Being a Teen Librarian is the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever had and I hope I can get back to it as soon as the move is complete.

For now, my blog will mostly be book reviews and the occasional programming post. I want to add as many programs as I can so I can keep record of all the awesome things we did at my library this past year. This also means some of the links on my other posts might be broken once I leave my current job. I am working hard to move all my documents to a better sharing platform as soon as possible. If something looks hinky let me know and I will personally send you your request.

I’m also excited to announce I am a final round judge for the Cybils Awards!!! I’m so honored that I get to help choose the award for Middle Grade Fiction. If you are unfamiliar with the Cybils Awards check them out here.

The Cybils

I hope everyone has a Happy Turkey Day with friends and family! Be sure to read a good book after all the festivities!

~Valerie

Missouri Gateway Nominees- Training and Read Alikes

I was tasked with reading this years Gateway nominees and presenting a mini training for other librarians in our district. I thought I would share my book-talks, slides, and read-alikes with my followers. I had mixed feeling about this year’s nominees. I felt that the group as a whole was rather depressing. There are a lot of heavy topics and not a lot of humor. On their own I feel that most of the books were pretty good stories but together they made me a bit bummed out. I really think that teens need some happy mixed in with hot topic books. I am hoping that next year includes a few books with humor. From the statistics at our library Eleanor and Park, 5th Wave, The Naturals, and Out of the easy, seem to be the most popular with our teens. My vote for the award winner is “Eleanor and Park.”

Read-Alikes for the Gateway Nominees-

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mGndzuA-nE2AV6zT00L13LxHOby47EHSkOduV1QZGgI/edit?usp=sharing

Slide Presentation-

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZIM_MnaFSFil2Dl6t2UsZbBns_065yHyDUvo9gqgUBk/edit#slide=id.p

On my slides are a few book posters that I made on Canva. If you are interested, please message me and I will send them to you!

 

Librarian Memes- The good, the bad, and the ugly

Memes.. You just cannot escape them. It seems that there is a meme for everything you could possibly think of and a few you might not want to think about. I was looking for a good library meme for another blog post and came across some that made me do the following:

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It seems that no matter what we do Librarians cannot escape the cliche. Buns, shh, glasses, and cardigans will always be a part of our world. I confess that I do love a good cardigan and if I had the hair it might work its way into a bun. However, shh is just not part of my vocabulary.

There are a few good memes like the always classic Ryan Gosling and his “Hey Girl” quotes:

Cats:

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Summer Reading:

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Adorable kids:

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My favorite, WWII posters turned into library propaganda:

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And the “What they think I do”

 

 

Then there are the stereotype memes that I classify as The bad:

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imagesOMG! Enough with the shushing!!

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Again, have you been to library lately? We are busy and sometimes very loud. Come to story time and hear the littles singing along to “Pete the cat.”  It’s awesome! Having perfect silence can be nice after a busy day.  However, I actually love the chatter. Especially in the teen department when they get into a checker or Apples to Apples battle! Then it’s non stop laughs from teenagers having a great time with their friends in a safe environment. What’s not to love about that?

The Ugly memes: These are the memes that just make me want to scream.

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Think all librarians are old and boring? Check out the Tattooed librarians Calendar. Browse the Librarian Wardrobe Tumblr site. We are a cool and eclectic bunch! Still not convinced? Check out “This is what a librarian looks like.

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This..

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naughty librarian

 No.. just no.. The whole “sexy librarian” thing makes me want to vomit. Just stop. Women and men are more than just a sexy costume.

Finally, this rage inducing meme for those of us that work public libraries:

I get a version of this nearly every week from random patrons. “Gee, you must love getting to read all day!”  Or “I really hate people but I love reading. I am thinking about becoming a librarian.” I cannot tell you the last time I had a chance to just sit and read at work. Maybe on my lunch break but certainly not on the clock. There are too many other things to do in the library besides reading. Customer service is first and foremost. Then I have to make sure the shelves are weeded and straightened, update our upcoming program displays, post things to our teen blog, plan upcoming programs, answer emails, work on training, enter new books into the system, run monthly programs for our teens, do outreach at the local schools… the list could go on.

Also, if you hate people then the public library should not be a career path you should travel.

I confess there are days when I get frustrated with behavior issues, rude comments, chasing adults out of the teen department despite the 20+ signs that say reserved for teens only, or other issues that crop up at the worst possible moment and make me question the state of humanity. It’s the curse of working with the public. However, I do have more days filled with awesome patrons who make up for all the issues that I have ever had to deal with. For example, I have a group of Middle School students that come in every Tuesday for a study group. They are always happy to see me and they ask me to hang out with them so we can chat about fandoms, books, movies, relationships, and well everything under the sun. I also get to help people find information, whether it’s online or book related. That is the best part of my job. Helping others.

Love them or hate them, the memes are here to stay. As with any job there are lots of misconceptions to overcome. No one is immune. The best we can do as librarians is to help our patrons and inspire them to see the library as more than just a warehouse of dusty old books. We have a duty to inspire, empower, and inform the masses. Once that happens… bam:

LibraryCon Part 2- The big day

Our big day had finally arrived! Our first ever LibraryCon was just getting started.  If you are interested in all of our planning please check out my previous post here. Be sure to read my managers three part blog post and give her a follow. She has some awesome posts and ideas. We thought it would be fun to have two different perspectives on LibraryCon since it was such a huge program. I had planned to have all of these written last week but was delayed by my Homestuck party and Cosplay Prom that happened in the teen department this week. My fall self was kinda nuts to plan 3 major programs in a one week time period. Live and learn! On to the show:

Friday Evening:

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Friday was spent setting up and assigning tables in the concourse and our other big rooms. We set up the auditorium to have a small stage for our panelists and lots of chairs. In addition to set up we wanted to do a kickoff night for the con. We invited my dear friends from the local Webseries: Drifter. They came and screened their 1st season. Afterwards they did a Q & A with the attendees. We had a smaller crowd that night (30) but all of them were super attentive and had really good questions. One family with teens made sure to watch both seasons before they came! The teen girls loved the series and were really excited to get autographs from the star. I was really excited to see so many teens in the crowd!

Saturday: The Big Event!!!

I don’t think that Sarah or I slept the night before as we were both so excited. We didn’t really know how many people would attend but we were hopeful that no matter what the numbers everyone would have a lot of fun. We had a great mix of things for people do and see. Our guest list was pretty awesome:

Authors:

Illustrators:

  • David Faught
  • Nate Howard
  • Ryan Wheaton
  • Jared George
  • Adam McLaughlin
  • OzFox
  • Nicholas Ladendorf

Local Geek Blogs and Podcasts:

Area Conventions:

Geeky Groups:

Fandom Stars Early: Geeky Storytime

Doing the 5 little Superheroes song!

The first event of the day was a Geeky Storytime that was run by Sarah. If you are curious about the format please check out her recent blog post here. It was loads of fun and there were about 30 people that came. The best part was watching the kids toss the Tardis on the Parachute to the Doctor Who theme song! It was epic!

The Panels:

We had three panels for LibraryCon and could have easily had more. Since this was our first event we wanted our guests to have time to visit all the tables and come to panels. Next year we plan to do something every hour to fill the time. Plus, we might add a few sessions on drawing for the kids and maybe another storytime.

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Cosplay Panel- Photo by William Atchison

Our first panel was the most successful: How to Cosplay. I think the timing (1pm) was nearly perfect and we had over 70 attend. The group that presented was a mix of seasoned cosplayers and new cosplayers. We also had a variety of ages on the panel. It was a ton of fun getting to hear about how they got started and what their all time favorite costume has been. Next year I want to have a small slide show so they can show off what they make. The audience was very engaged and asked lots of good questions. If you ever do a Con at your library be sure to include a Cosplay panel. It is a popular topic for all ages!

The Second Panel featured our lovely authors. We ended up with a smaller crowd but still had good audience interactions. We did allow signings and sales afterwards and many teens were excited to get the books. Next year we would like to add some indie authors to the mix. We did feature two local authors Ben Reeder and E.M. Ervin in our Author/Illustrator room. They were a really fun pair and could be found joking with the teens and shooting the illustrators with their Nerf guns!

 

 

Book Sales- Photo By William Atchison

Book Sales- Photo By William Atchison

 

For our final panel we brought together all of our Illustrators. They talked about being in the business, how to get started, and the process of being an artist. It was a fun session and had a pretty good turnout. Next year I would like to do a drawing session with them. I think that will pull in some of our younger crowd and really get them interested in the process of illustrating web comics, comics, and art.

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The Local Ghostbuster Group!

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Photo By William Atchison

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We had a local Podcast group set up! Photo By William Atchison

I have to mention my two teen artists that grabbed one of the tables and started drawing. These two girls are lots of fun and very talented.

Photo By William Atchison

Photo By William Atchison

 

During the con we had lots of people show up in costume. We did have a rule about weapons. This was because we did not have the staff to make sure things were fake and not real. We also asked that everyone wear family friendly costumes. If you have been to a con you know why I asked this! If not.. lets just say some people consider paint and seashells to be enough coverage.  It was a ton of fun to see all the creativity from guests and our special groups. Here are some of my favorites:

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Our final event was a screening of Midwest in Panels and a Q & A with the owner of Comic Cave, Josh Roberts. We had a very small crowd and thankfully had Josh present at the beginning. I think it was the timing because most of our table guests had wrapped up for the day so there was not a lot going on. Still we had 10 people stay for the movie. Josh is a great guy and was a real trooper to stay and present for us.

Final thoughts: 

Overall we had around 400+ people for our very first LibraryCon! I think that it was a great success and I am already planning LibraryCon 2016. We only had a few tiny set backs and everyone seemed to have a great time. Check out Sarah’s blog about what we loved about our event and what we would change. If you are considering doing this at your library I highly encourage you to take the plunge! It is lots of fun and it really brings together your community.

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Two very tired librarians!

For me the best part was seeing the smiles on the faces of the patrons that came that day. Many did not know what we were doing and it gave us the opportunity to share the magic of all things geeky. I also enjoyed the interactions and antics of our special guests. They all knew each other and it was like a big geeky family reunion. Everyone got along great and there were lots of laughs.

Stay tuned for more pictures from the con and check out Sarah’s blog for her perspective on the day.

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Our new Geeky Friends!

The making of LibraryCon- Part 1

Once upon a time (last year), my super geeky boss Sarah and I decided to host a Comic Con. We thought that the summer of 2015 would be perfect because the theme was all things Superhero. We half joked in the break room about how cool it would be to have a con that took up all of the rooms in the library and brought together the geeks of Springfield. About halfway into our discussion we realized that we just might be able to pull this off. Seriously, she is a really cool boss! And thus.. in the wee afternoon hours of fall planning long ago, a super event to eclipse all events was born. It was named LibraryCon! This is our journey..

 

Planning big and facing the realities of staffing, space, and budgets: 

Our branch loves to create big programs and we often have events with 100+ attendees. While we wanted the Con to be huge, we had to be realistic with our ideas. The Con would happen during our Summer Reading program which could be both good and bad. Good: Because it fit with the Superhero theme. Bad: Because of staffing and the potential to draw anywhere from 100-1000 people. We had just learned a valuable lesson in staffing after a Pete the Cat program unexpectedly drew in around 600 people.

We decided to put a call out for volunteers several months in advance and send out reminders the closer we got to the big day. We needed room monitors, greeters, book sale attendees, and floaters that would help with breaks. Our goal was to have a good support system for each other, our attendees, and our special guests.

Next came the space. Our fabulous branch manager helped us choose a date and reserve all of the rooms in the library that we could possibly need. Our large auditorium would be used for our geeky panels and screenings. Two of our meeting rooms (with a movable wall) would house the illustrators and authors. The large hallway would be filled with the rest of our geeky guests. The Storytime Room would host the fandom storytime and geeky crafts for kids. Finally, we had a “greenroom” for guests that needed to change into costume that also doubled as our lunchroom.

We mapped out our space and created spreadsheets with guest info, table requests, and locations. This way we would have everything ready to go when people arrived to set up. Then we left the list at the front door with our greeters so they could direct traffic and answer any questions about location and space.

Our Greeter Table- Photo by William Atchison

Our Greeter Table- Photo by William Atchison

Finally, the budget…  July is the end of our fiscal year so we knew that we had to work with basically nothing. From the very start we planned on only spending money on snacks, and mileage for on our our out of town guests. Everything else would have to be donated or used from our regular supplies. Sarah and I wanted  to try and feed our panelists since they were doing the most work and also provide snacks and bottled water for our other special guests. The Community Relations department was able to score us some delicious burritos from Chipotle for free. My husband and I donated water and cookies. We have a cafe at our branch so guests also had that as an option.

To sum up our spending.. we did this pretty much on a Ramen Noodle Budget!

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View of the Concourse with our favorite Star Wars guest!

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Another view of the main hall.

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Our Panel room- Hoping to have a better sign next year!

Finding the Geeks and spreading some nerdy love:

The best part of planning LibraryCon was the realization that we all know some really geeky people. Several of us met of the course of a few months to talk about who we knew in the community. Our goal was to stay within the Southwest Missouri area and focus on local talent. Yeah, we could have blown our tiny budget on one mega geek, but why do that when there is already such a cool group of geeks in the Springfield area?

Sarah and I made a list of everyone we personally knew that might be interested and then sent out an email to all the library staff to see who they knew. I also decided to scout out one of our local cons (VisionCon) to see if I could find some more illustrators, local authors, and cosplay groups. My husband and I met some great geeks that were really excited to join us for LibraryCon. We also talked up our future event at Free Comic book day at the Comic Cave. I was able to find some really cool illustrators to be on one of our panels and have tables at the event. I also met a local Podcast group called Fanatics and the Fan who wanted to come and do live cast at our event!

Between our scouting adventures, emails to staff, and word getting around, we were able to come up with a great list of local geeks to attend our event and all for free! With this list we decided to have several panels and screenings over the two day event. The first night would feature a local group who has an award winning webseries called: Drifter. The second day we set up three panels: How to Cosplay, Meet the Illustrators, and meet the Authors. As our final event we would screen “Midwest in Panels” a documentary about Comic books stores in the Midwest.

The rest of the list consisted of groups in the community that specialize in all things nerd. They were set up in the main hall of the library to show off their geeky talents and offerings to the community. We had a wide range of tables from Cosplay groups, Gaming and Larping groups, to other fan conventions spreading the word about their upcoming events. There was something for everyone to enjoy.

All of our flyers and web publicity was done in house by our Community Relations group. Once the flyers got out word spread really quick! We had several of our guests create Facebook event pages for us, pass out flyers, and event do webcasts. It was awesome!

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Sarah and I on the big day!

The waiting game. AKA- Anxiety and sleepless nights full of Christmas Eve like excitement: 

As we waited for the big day we made sure to keep in contact with our guests, double check our to-do lists, and try to hold in the excitement. You know things are going to be awesome when your husband tells you that it’s like waiting for Christmas. I honestly tossed and turned the night before because I was so excited. This was the biggest thing I have ever been a part of in my library career and I could not wait for the big day.

Stay tuned for LibraryCon Part 2

Also, check out GreenBeanTeenQueen for her take on our event.

 

 

A Percy Jackson Party

Believe it or not.. Percy Jackson is still very popular. With the release of the new series a few years back, it has gained a whole new generation of fans. Our teen advisory board requested another event that focused on the original series and the new series. The program also had to have a quest otherwise it wasn’t legit!

Instead of releasing the beasts teens into the library to complete the quest, I kept them in two of our conference rooms. We did not do registration for this event so I had no idea how many would show up. I tend to either have a crowd of 1-2 or 20. There is no middle ground! I figured that I could do activities that might be a bit louder in a room versus the sanctuary of the library. In the end we still were too loud! More on that later…

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Every Party needs a fab pair of Shwings! I wore these to honor the god Zeus. Last year we found a bunch on clearance for only a dollar and I gave them away as prizes. There are patterns online to make your own out of felt. The expense would have been too much for our party so maybe next time!

The Quest– (feel free to steal the clues)

I used several resources for this activity. Most came from birthday party ideas on pinterest. Have you guys seen some of these parties?! They are insanely awesome. They make my parties at the skating rink look a bit lame. I used the following blogs to help create the clues for the quest:

 

A few of the clues required fighting with pool noodles, darts, and sticks for whacking pinatas. I tweaked these because of space and the possibility of injury. The clues I wrote were printed out and rolled up like little scrolls. The kids had to complete each task to get a clue so they could move on. I also had a point system using marbles (pearls). The first to complete a task got 3 marbles, 2 for second place, and one for everyone else. We added up the pearls at the end and passed out prizes accordingly.

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Clue #1- 

Zeus is master of them all

He is really big not small

His bolt is gone you see,

Hero ‘s it is up to thee

To find his bolt & bring

it back

Please be careful & don’t

Get attacked

1st you must look the part

These feats will be for the mighty

In heart

Togas are cool but must not fall

Wrap your partner to win it all

 

You have 2 mins to make your partner a toga that does not fall down.

 Winners get a pearl

Since we ended up with only 3 kids in attendance, I had them complete the quest by themselves. The girl used streamers to make her toga and the boys chose toilet paper. This activity works great with a team. It was really hard for them to do this without help but they seemed to have fun trying!

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Clue #2- 

Hydras are such wicked beasts

On brave heroes they love to feast

Place the candy on your head

To help you from this evil dread.

Your hands are trapped you cannot move

Eat the candy or you are doomed

 

Place the candy on your forehead.  

The first one to get it in their mouth wins a pearl.

You can not use your hands, if candy drops you may pick it up and start again

This was hilarious to watch! They had to wiggle their faces to get the candy in their mouths. I used starbursts and wrapped lifesavers.

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Clue #3-

There’s  much to fear in Hades’ home

For in his kingdom the dead do roam

Descend, descend to darkest black

And if you survive a pearl to bring back

 

            You must cross the river Styx but first you must flip a gold coin

into the cauldron as a payment to Charon to cross.

On the other side the next feat will be hidden.

Find the scroll and find a pearl.

I built Hades out of blankets and foam blocks. It basically is a blanket fort. I had some eyeball lights from Halloween to string across the front to make it a bit creepy. The “river” was some water bulletin board paper from a previous display. I found a giant cauldron and some plastic gold coins they could use to pay the toll. I hid the scrolls in the “hades cave” along with a few pearls. Instead of tossing the coins they had to flip them in. It made it a bit harder.

Clue #4– ( I did not get a picture of this one.)

Ares is the god of war

He loves to fight

And not much more

He’s hidden a clue in orbs of gold

To find them out, you must be bold

So grab an orb

And pop them well

Within the orbs a clue may tell

I put the clues in yellow and orange balloons. They had to pop them to retrieve the clue. I had more balloon than clues and this activity got very noisy! We ended up with some complaints because apparently popping balloons sound like gunshots… sigh… Just be aware if you do this in a quiet area!

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Clue #5- 

At the casino time will fly

To stay on task you must try,

a game of chance so roll a pair

and win the pearl if you dare

This task was not my favorite. It was really easy and didn’t require much skill other than rolling dice. If I did this again I would have them fold a paper lotus and roll the die. Or I would use giant die. Or skip this one completely!

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Clue #6-

The time has come to finish this quest

but you cannot stray and you cannot rest

Your next feat can see your demise

If Medusa freezes you that won’t be nice

To slay her dead grab a snake

be thankful that these are fake

When the deed is done the last clue will be found

not in the air but on the ground

I made a pull pinata for this task. See this idea: Pull Pinata directions This is so much better than handing teens sticks and having them beat it down.  Plus it adds an element of chance. They really liked this one and I plan to do it again in future programs. I filled it with candy and clues.

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Clue #7- 

Zeus’ bolt is safe at last

Hurry heroes hurry fast

Back to camp to celebrate

Hurry now the Gods won’t wait

Count your pearls to finalize your fate!

The teens went back to another room for snacks and prizes. The publishers had sent a party pack to us a few years ago so I had some posters, bookmarks, and buttons. I also had some books in my prize closet that fit with the theme. Everyone went home with something.

Activities and Crafts-

I cut out cardboard circles and they made shields. Two them used extra cardboard for swords. I also had some printables from the Percy Jackson movies site.

Food- 

All the food was blue in honor of the books. I had blue cupcakes, blue candy, and blue jello with whipped cream. I also had some blue lemonade that did not go over well. They told me it looked like blue toilet water.

Final thoughts- 

For a party that only brought in 3 teens I thought it went rather well. They were pretty excitable and very loud! I thought it was awesome.. some of our older patrons did not. The quest only took about 15 mins to complete. I think it would have lasted longer if they were in teams and more kids had shown up. Next time I think I will have registration because I had a lot of food leftover and spent a bit too much on it for the amount of kids that came. However, the circulation staff was thrilled with the leftovers!

This program drew the tween crowd instead of teens. Which was fine due to the nature of the activities. I doubt I will do this one again because it really was geared for a younger crowd.