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Star Wars @YourLibrary: Ideas for May the 4th Be With You Day

Featured blogger Dawn Treude, a Library Assistant in Youth Services, provides tips for Star Wars programs at your public or school library.

There has never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan. Libraries are well suited to provide force-filled programming that may be scaled up or down depending on age groups, space, and budget parameters. In light of May the 4th Be With You Day, I wanted to share some successes we’ve had at the Scottsdale Public Library celebrating Star Wars.

Star Wars Collection Table Display. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

Star Wars Collection Table Display. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

While I think it’s always a good time for a Star Wars program, the two main opportunities are May the 4th Be With You Day in May and Star Wars Reads, which is now the entire month of October. The beauty of participating in these events is they are heavily promoted by Lucasfilm, Disney, StarWars.com and various publishing partners, like D.K. Books, across multiple social media platforms. In addition, printable resources and some promotional items are available for free to schools and libraries. (More on that below.)

Once you’ve decided to do a Star Wars program, you need to settle on an age group. We’ve tailored ours to the 5-11-year-old set to great success. I’ve used teen volunteers for bigger programs and run a single Star Wars Family Storytime by myself, taking advantage of the parent helpers in the room. These programs are a big draw when featured prominently in your library’s calendar of events. They’re also a great opportunity to highlight the Star Wars materials in your collection.

Origami Yoda Display. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

Origami Yoda Display. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

With kids, no program is complete without some Origami Yoda activities to challenge them! I’ve become an expert at making Yoda and Darth Paper. The kids love making them, especially when they get to choose the colored foil paper for the light saber. Since we do so much Star Wars programming, I took the time to make a permanent origami display.

Star Wars Display Stations. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

Star Wars Display Stations. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

For bigger programs, I choose to have stations and let the families move at their own pace between them. Our branch has a patio near the Youth area, so I spread out to avoid congestion. I take advantage of the free printables from StarWars.com and use the crosswords, word searches, and puzzles for what I like to call the Jedi Mind Tricks area.

The Death Star Trash Drive. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

The Death Star Trash Drive. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

For games and activities, Pinterest has provided some of the best ideas, under the guise of birthday party planning. I created an X-Ring Toss game using a library book cart and made lightsabers using pool noodles. But my best creation was the Death Star Trash Dive. I stuffed a library book bin with extra summer reading prizes, some of my Star Wars swag and our famous sea serpent from storytime. The kids loved digging through it to find a treasure or two.

Jedi Trials Obstacle Source Featuring Lightsabers. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

Jedi Trials Obstacle Source Featuring Lightsabers. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

We’ve made a Jedi Trials obstacle course with collapsible tunnels, yarn mazes and of course lightsaber precision training where padawans balance a balloon on their lightsaber. (Note: the lightsabers require supervision, especially if siblings are using them!)

In addition to having games and movement-centered activities in our Star Wars programming, we’ve also incorporated art. Two of the biggest hits are simple and low-cost. The first involves some planning, as you save withdrawn Star Wars items for a few months. These damaged or falling apart materials then become repurposed for scene creation. We supply blank paper, crayons, markers, glue sticks and scissors and the kids supply the imagination. They cut characters and starships out of the books and create their own story on the page. I personally can’t watch the book cutting, but the kids really get into it.

Handprint Wookiees. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

Handprint Wookiees. (Photo Courtesy of Dawn Treude.)

More recently, I took a risk with finger paint during a Star Wars themed Family Storytime and we made handprint Wookiees, an idea I saw on Pinterest. As you can see, the results were amazing.

I encourage costume wearing for all our Star Wars events and often wear my own Jedi gear. In our local area, there are Star Wars costume groups that have volunteers who are available to attend events in costume at no cost. Demand is high, so plan accordingly!

My Favorite Resources

ART2D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling by Tom Angleberger

The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton

‘Star Wars Reads’ Returns This October: This is a post from starwars.com that has nice downloadable options

Star Wars Reads Color the Page: This is a printable activity book from Lucasfilm Ltd

Pinterest: A search with the keywords Star Wars, storytime, birthday party, and activities returns helpful resources

Google: A search for Star Wars Storytime will yield useful information

The new movies have given a new generation the opportunity to become Star Wars fans. Big or small, I can guarantee that offering programming in the galaxy from far, far away, will bring your patrons in.

May the Force be with you!


Dawn Treude

Dawn Treude is a Library Assistant in Youth Services at the Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, Arizona. A regular attendee at San Diego ComicCon, she enjoys sharing her passion for Star Wars with children and families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Crafting

As a child, I loved doing arts and crafts. Give me markers, some paper, and glue, and I was one happy kid.

And doing crafts at school? Totally a bonus! I still remember the holiday-craft days in elementary school. We would take a break from work and revel in a laid-back classroom atmosphere of creativity, learning, and fun.

But that was 30 years ago. Things are a bit different in today’s public elementary schools. Lots of curriculum changes and even more testing means not much time for creative pursuits.

christmas-ornaments-70244_640

Handmade Christmas Ornaments
Photo by JamesDeMers, via Pixabay [Public Domain]

But what if you could weave crafts into your curriculum? What if students could really learn something while making art? Sounds great, right? Well, the winter season is chock-full of opportunities for learning about other cultures and their traditions and beliefs. And SIRS Discoverer is chock-full of crafts and appropriate information for classroom learning to go with them!

Buddhists all over the world celebrate Bodhi Day on December 8, in honor of the Buddha’s enlightenment that occurred while he was sitting under a Bodhi tree. Teach your students a bit about this holiday, and ask them to create their own Bodhi tree in its honor.

Or maybe you’d like to talk to your class about Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Highlight the history and traditions of this celebration, and help your students make an easy Hanukkah candle out of an empty tissue paper roll, some tissue paper, and ribbon!

What about celebrating Chinese New Year with your students? The Year of the Ram starts on February 19. There’s a lot to learn about this festive holiday…and lots of cool crafts to do! I like this delightful plum tree. Pretty and very easy!

You can find all of these crafts and more on SIRS Discoverer. December’s Spotlight of the Month, Winter Holidays & Celebrations, features articles and Web sites on winter traditions around the world. Encourage your students to explore the different ways winter is celebrated across the globe.

 

Get Crafty with SIRS Discoverer

Activities

Activities Page in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Summer is time of fun and exploration. Extra time is an opportunity for students to explore their artistic talents through crafts and projects. Crafts enable a young person to develop creativity, social skills (if they work with a peer), task completion, and emotive expression through art. SIRS Discoverer offers a plethora of projects for summer fun. Under activities, explore art, food, health, history, home, reading, science, and social issues projects. The only limit is one’s imagination!