Dreaming up programs is one of my favorite things to do. Starting when I was a Resident Assistant back in college (and later the Head Resident Assistant of New Student Programming — programming in my job title? Yes, please!), I knew that this was a facet of librarianship that would appeal to me. While I plans to expand on these in individual posts with details on planning, budgeting, implementing, and lessons learned once I’ve tried them out for myself, I hope these program ideas will give you some inspiration. Whether you’re working at a library and need some quick concepts or you’re a library customer who wants their library to try out one of these cool events, take a look at the list below.

When program concepts aren’t clear from the few words I’ve provided, I’ve also included a link that describes the process. Many of these programs are appropriate for all ages (sure, kids will love solar oven s’mores, but so will adults!), but as always, use your own discretion with knowledge of your community.

  • Solar Oven S’mores – You can also do cookies and other food.
  • DIY Temporary Tattoos – Participants can replicate this fun project at home.
  • Escape the Room – With a little bit of planning, this can be a huge hit!
  • Adults Read YA Book Club – No shame, no shame.
  • DIY Embossing – This easy project brings elegant results.
  • Adult Spelling Bee – May the best speller win!
  • Self Portrait Collages – Great for teens, especially, but a fun art project for all.
  • Blogging 101 – Whether for personal or business purposes, figuring out the ins-and-outs of popular blogging platforms is a must!
  • Shepherd’s Hook Bookmarks – What better craft for a library? Check out my results below.
  • Bingo for Books – Those hidden treasures in the corner-of-the-library book sales are great prizes for Bingo for Books.
  • Book Exchange Party – Do all-in or genre- or age-specific events. Snacks are always a plus– superhero cupcakes for comic book night, anyone?
  • Human Library – A great opportunity to bring New Americans into a starring role in the library and for anyone else with a great story to tell.
  • DIY Terrarium – Whether with toy dinosaurs, fairies, or a more simple concept, terrariums are fun for everyone.
  • Zombie Run – Get volunteer teens to dress up as zombies and get running (and don’t forget thematic music)!
  • Cookbook Club – Try out some great recipes to share with a regular cookbook club. Remember to be aware of allergies.
  • Writing Critique Group – Everyone’s a writer! Structure your critique group with anonymous or credited critique for novelists, short story writers, poets, screenwriters, and more.
  • Ghost Hunters Presentation – Many local ghost hunting groups have ready-to-go presentations on their work. Invite your local group to speak at your library.
  • Travel Talk – Are there lots of travelers in your community? Ask them to come in and speak about their trips — amazing sites, traveling best practice, things learned, and tips on the best places to visit are all things to touch on.
  • Intro to Bullet Journaling – There’s only one rule for bullet journals: you do you! Check out some of the amazing bullet journal spreads and ideas on Pinterest (try searching “bujo” for additional ideas).
  • Bored Jars – This is especially great for parents who are anticipating a summer vacation full of “I’m bored!” from their children, but can be helpful for anyone who sometimes finds pockets of time with nothing to do. Bring plenty of ideas for activities along with containers and slips of paper.
  • Paper Succulents – Cacti are all the hipster rage these days. Low-maintenance plants to begin with, these paper versions require no attention at all!
  • Job Search Assistance – Many libraries already offer this service, but it’s an important one to remember.
  • String Art – A little bit of hardware, a little bit of craft, this is a great project for teens and adults. Check out these designs for some inspiration.
  • Customized Candles – Easy to do with everyday household items.
  • Bleach Art Shirts – Or do it with a pen.
  • Wood Grain Silhouettes – A great gift, wood grain silhouettes are fun and easy. Opt to use the picture method or use a bright light to cast a shadow onto the wood grain hanging on the wall with a person in profile seated before it; trace the shadow for a quick and easy silhouette!
  • Carved Eraser Stamps – Make custom stamps with erasers. Remember anything carved into the rubber will appear backwards once stamped.
  • DIY Screen Printing – There are several methods for DIY screen printing that will make custom clothes a reality for your customers.
  • Phone Photography – It may not be a DSLR, but smart phones have powerful little cameras. Read up on some photography techniques, the abilities of smart phone cameras, and go for it. Be sure to provide visual examples!