Thursday, June 27, 2013

Library GrabBag: Girl Talk

Six years ago, the former director of my library sent me a newspaper article on positive programming for teen girls.  She strongly encouraged me to create a program specifically for girls that would get them into the library and talking about important issues.  Unsure on how to pull this off, I brainstormed and scoured the internet for ideas.  Would girls really talk about important issues?  What would be my overall goal/agenda?  I realized that I wasn't suited for a discussion type of group, but I could facilitate a program that would allow for young girls to have a positive experience in the library.  And Girl Talk was born.

Last Friday evening I hosted my sixth annual Girl Talk event.  In its inception, the program was a sleepover.  That lasted two years, and then I realized that I could get just as much accomplished at an after-hours event with the girls leaving at 9:30pm while maintaining my sanity.  Every program is scheduled to the minute with a variety of crafts, games, and skits that incorporate the them "Be Proud, Be Yourself."  I sneak in conversation and dialogue about self-esteem and the negative impacts of media, but I don't make it the main focus.  Instead, my hope is that each participant will come to see the library, and its librarians, as a safe zone, a welcoming environment where they can discover their own passions and interests, exactly as they are.

As an example, here was the itinerary for this year:

5-5:15 Welcome/Introduction

5:15-6 Scavenger Hunt

6-6:45 Water Gun Art

6:45-7:30 Trivia/Snacks

7:30-8:15 Nail Art

8:15-8:45 Bracelets

8:45-9:20 Sardines

9:20-9:30 Goodbye/Pickup

In the past, we've made journals, dream boards, bath soaps, scented lotion, tie-dye totes, and friendship bracelets, just to name a few.  The night is really wide open for the interests of the girls.  Each year we end with a survey to find out what they liked/didn't like, and plan accordingly for the next year.

The program quickly became one of my favorites, and I still look forward to it each June!

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