Friday, November 30, 2018

11 Holiday Content Ideas for Your Library's Facebook Page

The Facebook Group, The Shareable Clique, is an invaluable resource for social media librarians. It is the perfect place to go to find viral content perfect for your library's page (and to share content that has done well on yours, too!). Since the holidays are right around the corner, we thought we'd give your page a head start with posts that have been shared.

NOTE: Make sure you share directly from the source (i.e. the library's page), NOT from The Shareable Clique or you'll get the wrong description above the photo/link.) To do that, click on "post" at the top, next to the poster's name.

1. Who doesn't love a book tree? Over 400 books were used to create this 6 foot beauty!

2. And don't forget the other holidays! You can recreate the menorah with just 9 books!

3. For those snowy days, you could run an informal poll: "Would you rather be stuck in a snow storm with only fiction or nonfiction books to read?"

4. Feeling ambitious? December is perfect for the Library Advent Calendar: 25 days of exciting things about the library!

5. Are your patrons traveling? It is the perfect time to check out an audiobook!

6. For those of you offering Food for Fines, share great articles of long overdue books!

7. Highlight your movie collection by creating a holiday movie madness bracket!

8. Did you know December 8th is national brownie day? What a good day to showcase your recipe book collection!

9. Snowstorm coming? Make a storm map showing them how many books they'll need to ride out the storm. (Kat made a fabulous tutorial to make your own map here!)

10. Encourage patrons to play the "Grab the Nearest Book" game for the New Year. They need to grab the nearest book, turn to page 24, and post the first adjective you read.

11. Create an infograph about New Year Resolutions and your library card!

Found these ideas useful? Join The Shareable Clique!

Friday, November 23, 2018

5 Minute Librarian's Annual Gratitude Article

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.” - Willard Scott

Every year at this time, we here at 5 Minute Librarian like to take a moment to express our gratitude for the wonderful things we have in our lives, both personal and professional. You can read our past years' gratitude here: 2015, 2016, 2017

As always, we are extremely grateful to our readers, without whom we wouldn't have been able to keep writing for so long. It warms our hearts to see people commenting and sharing our articles, so please keep it up! 

Jess B., 5MinLib Founder and Editor-In-Chief

  1. Baby Friendly Libraries - it is interesting being on the opposite side of things, moving from librarian to patron. As a parent to two young kids, there are things I really appreciate. First -- baby friendly places. It really is the little things -- like having changing tables as well as having them in both the women's and men's bathroom. It is so gross trying to change the diaper on the floor! I've also noticed there have been two different ways libraries handle dirty diapers: the "take the dirty diapers with you" and "ask for a bag to contain the smell". I feel so much more welcomed at the latter one, especially since being a frazzled mom, I can't be guaranteed that I'll remember to take that poopy diaper out of my car.
  2. Sibling Friendly Library Programs - I know it is hard to plan a program for different ages and my kids are definitely far apart with five years between them. However, we do come as a packaged deal and seeing "Siblings allowed" on a flyer makes a big difference on whether we can come or not. So, thank you to those who accommodate siblings when you can!   
  3. Fine Free Benefit - Our local library does not charge late fines on their items. That's honestly the main reason we continued to borrow from the library this year. My baby isn't sleeping, hasn't slept well in 8 months, so staying on top of library materials is tough. Even though I can afford the small fines we would build up, I find it frustrating when I keep missing the due dates. Now, every time we miss a due date, I just feel grateful that my library doesn't charge me for it.    
Bonus: Fabulous Co-Bloggers - While not technically library related, I am so very grateful for my co-bloggers. This year has been rough, mostly because I had a baby a year ago and he doesn't sleep well. Hasn't for 8 months straight. There have been many times that just surviving the day was all I could muster. So, lots of love to Kat for stepping in and making sure we continue to post weekly and to Allie, who also has a little one, for being dependable with her monthly posts. This blog wouldn't have survived without you two!

Kat E., Children's Librarian

  1. My New Job - Just a few short weeks ago, I switched from one job to another. I am not here to badmouth my old position, but to praise my new one; talk about a dream library! The staff are all knowledgeable and friendly, the facility is nice, and I can pretty much come up with any program ideas and be given the enthusiastic go-ahead. The biggest perk this job has is that everyone who works here seems to genuinely want to be at this library: the bulletin boards are beautiful, the lunch room conversation is friendly, and the staff meetings include laughter. I am so incredibly grateful to my new supervisors and coworkers, and the opportunity to work for this fabulous town.
  2. Vendors - In my previous position, we had a policy that items could only be purchased from Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and Now, these are fantastic vendors, but relying solely on these outlets means that a librarian can miss out on all the amazing things from small publishers and lesser-known authors, and some amazing salespeople who know exactly what I'm looking for and can find it! AMAZING! 
  3. Social Media - I know, it can be overwhelming, but I love social media. In addition to all the wonderful outreach opportunities for work, it gives me a chance to connect with friends and family that live far away, or whose busy lives no longer have time for a weekly chat. I can see photos of my nephews and my friends' children growing up, even when I don't get to see them as often as I'd like, and can share my own excitements (and cat photos) with others. I have made friends with people I may otherwise not have met (especially on Twitter), and it really makes me feel more connected to the world, even when I usually have my nose in a book.

Allie C., Head of Teen Services

  1. Conferences and Symposiums - I attended YALSA's Teen Symposium this year and it was great. I love that librarians are so open and willing to share their ideas. I don't have to constantly reinvent the wheel and I can learn from what others have done. If you have a chance to attend a library conference I highly recommend it. It's great to be with others in your profession who just get it.
  2. Letting Go (of Books) - Now that I have a baby, sleep is at a premium, not to mention reading time. It's taken me many years to allow myself to stop reading a book that I'm just not into. It's disappointing when you've been waiting weeks or months to read a certain book and when you finally have the chance... you're no longer in the mood for that kind of book or it's not holding your attention. I used to drag myself through books because I felt I had to. Now, I give it a few pages or chapters and if it's not what I want to read right now I move on. I'll never be able to read all the books I want to, so why should I waste time reading something I don't want?
  3. 10 Little Dinosaurs from Little Tiger Press - My baby LOVES this book. It sings 10 little dinosaurs twice and he's always fascinated with it. I highly recommend it. Plus the illustrations are super cute.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Ready to Go Book Display: Lettering and Planning

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are getting ready to be more organized in the new year and make it pretty with planning and lettering books.

Adult and Teen Recommendations:

Nowadays planners are gorgeous, colorful works of art - one part organization, one part art journal and two parts keepsake. Loaded with projects, how-tos, tips, and tricks this book has all the information you need to tap into your creativity, take control of your to-do list, and craft a custom planner.

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll (Oct 2018)

The long-awaited book by the founder of the Bullet Journal organization system.

This book provides all the information you need to eliminate mental clutter, focus on goals, and enjoy a creative outlet.

Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller (Jul 2017)

It's a planner, a to-do list, and a diary for every aspect of your life - and Miller shows how to make a dot-journal work for you.

If you're looking for clever ways to spruce up your diary or build a planner from scratch, this book teaches you how to design fun and functional pages that meet your needs.

This guide contains an exercise for every day of the year, each taking 365 seconds or less to complete.

From selecting the best tools and supplies, to forming your first simple letters, everything you need to begin your calligraphic journey is here.

With 100 exercises divided into ten sections, this workbook offers a fun and friendly way to improve your lettering techniques every day.

Creative Lettering and Beyond by Gabri Joy Kirkendall (Nov 2014)

Learn to create beautiful, hand-lettered arts and crafts with this interactive book full of creative prompts, exercises, and step-by-step projects.

Kids Recommendations:

This hand-letting workbook features hand-letting lessons for beginners, from playing with style and brush calligraphy basics to illustrated hand-letter designs and lettering styles.

Young crafters will be introduced to the joys of hand lettering through fun and inspired projects.

Creative Lettering for Kids by Jenny Doh (Jan 2017)

Some of the most accomplished artists present their favorite lettering techniques, illustrated with inspiring examples off their own work and accompanied by step-by-step instructions that kids can easily follow.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Library Services for Veterans

Veteran's Day is this weekend, and we would like to take this opportunity to note that, while we will all be making a point to thank our veterans for a day, there are services that libraries can provide that will be helping veterans and military families all year long.

Veterans Connect @ the Library

The State of California has created a very helpful website for librarians as part of their Veterans Connect @ the Library initiative, which has links to resources, programming ideas, training for staff and volunteers, and statistics about veterans services. They have compiled a "digital duffel bag" of programming ideas, arranged by degree of difficulty for library staff. This ranges from writing letters to veterans and servicemen and making paracord bracelets, to having a full-on spa day for female veterans.

They also have links to many other associations that may inspire or possibly host a program, including War Comes Home, a California-specific initiative to help veterans reconnect with their communities after military service, and WarInk, an organization that tells veterans' stories through their tattoos.

Following the Examples of Others

The American Library association published an article in 2016 about how "Libraries Help and Honor our Veterans" across the country, which includes some wonderful programming ideas that have been hosted at libraries across the country. The Portland [Maine] Public Library has hosted monthly legal advice clinics for veterans, while the library at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has two classes per semester about making the transition from being in the military to returning to education.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has a guide for librarians, archivists, and museum employees about providing services to veterans, as well, which can be found on their website.

What Else Can We Do?

In addition to any of the above programs, libraries can always be sure to have information on hand, or be able to easily find it. We can provide:

  • Help with forms - The Veteran's Administration provides help with housing, insurance, and many other things, and they all need complicated forms to be filled out.
  • Information about support groups - Many veterans suffer from PTSD and other mental health problems, alcoholism, and depression. The suicide rate among veterans is tragic; having a support system may make all the difference in the world.
  • Information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ( - this government organization offers a crisis line, health services, benefits for veterans, employment services, education and training, and pensions for many veterans
  • Information about memorial services and how to have a loved one interred at a military cemetery, if that is their wish
We can also help by collecting American flags for disposal. Because they are symbols of the country, one is not supposed to just throw away an old flag. Instead, organizations such as the American Legion, the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars will properly retire and dispose of flags (which is usually by burning, burying, shredding, or recycling). Libraries can have collection bins for people to donate flags which are no longer able to be used, which can then be picked up by or sent to one of the above organizations for proper disposal.

In some libraries, fines for military families are automatically waived when the materials are returned. 

Many veterans have written books. Even if they are self-published, hosting local veterans to do an author talk can help them share their stories.

Many towns have Veterans of Foreign Wars halls, or some kind of Veterans Services office. You can do some outreach and see if they are interested in hosting a library program, or having a staff member come to the library to present a program on veterans' services.

If you have any other ideas for services for current and former military members, please let us know here in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Holiday Programming Ideas

The holidays are fast approaching, and while this time of year can be stressful for many people, what with presents and guests, planning feasts and exercising them off afterwards, your programming doesn't have to be one of those stressful things.

We have compiled some of our favorite holiday programming ideas for all ages for you to peruse, with the hopes that something on our list may fit an opening you have. (We decided to post this very early this year, so you can sneak some into your December calendar.)

DIY Gifts

December is when the bulk of the world does its gift giving, and while everyone loves the idea of handmade presents, not everyone has the time to plan and execute the perfect item for each person on their list. By having a gift-making program, you're not only helping your own statistics, but also helping spread good cheer and decreasing holiday stress. 

The age of your patrons may dictate what you're making, but easy doesn't have to mean tin can pencil cups (unless you're into that sort of thing). Some ideas for children include:
Photo from Organized Christmas
  • Hand warmers, made with dried rice inside a flannel or felt pouch (when I did this craft, I had felt pouches pre-sewn on 3 edges, with a friendly librarian on hand to sew the fourth side after they were decorated and filled). Be sure to include instructions! All you have to do is put the hand-warmers in the microwave for 30 seconds, and they will stay warm for 15-20 minutes.
  • Coffee/cocoa stirrers, made with chocolate and crushed candy, like our friends at
  • Bracelets or necklaces
  • Decorate trinket boxes (paint, stickers, and washi tape all make great decorating media, and you can get blank boxes at most craft supply stores)

Photo from Adventures In All Things Food
In addition to the above, teens can also create:
  • Homemade bath bombs, sugar scrubs, or other spa items
  • Homemade lip gloss from Kool-Aid (like the ones at Adventures In All Things Food)
  • Decorated picture frames 
  • Recipe-in-a-jar kits (cookies, soup, or cocoa!)
  • Decorated mugs (permanent markers work very well to dress up dollar store mugs!)
  • Personalized decorated notebooks

Related imageIn addition to the above ideas (some of which are amazing for all ages), your adult patrons may also enjoy making:
  • Homemade candles or soaps
  • Etched glasses for drinking or glass jars for holding cookies, dog treats, tea bags, etc.
  • Stovetop potpourri (we love these ideas from!) 
  • Cloth bookmarks (have you seen the amazing elastic ones with the buttons?! We love the ones on ).

Holiday Crafts

Of course, any of the above gift ideas can also be wonderful craft programs, but if your goal is pure fun and decoration, there are probably ten million ideas out there, including several on last year's Holiday Crafts post. You can always make...
  • Ornaments - the sky is the limit here
  • Wreaths - out of ribbon, cloth, paper, foam, pine cones, or anything at all!
  • Cards - hand-making cards can be as easy as crayons and paper, or as detailed as embossing powder, lace, and sequins. 
  • Folded paper trees - Paper crafts are a hobby of Kat's, and she wrote a whole blog article about how to make these awesome folded paper trees, which you can read here.
  • Gingerbread houses or cookie decorating

Gift Wrap Party

Just because the decorations are up and the gifts have been purchased doesn't mean the work is over. Now you have to wrap them! What better way than to have a Wrap Party? This can be so easy, and yet so much fun. In the past, I have set aside the meeting room for a whole day, set up tables and chairs, and put holiday movies on to play while people got into a holly jolly mood while wrapping their gifts.  All wrapping paper was donated - we kindly asked patrons for spare rolls, and were inundated with more paper, ribbons, bows, and tags than we could use in one year. 

You can set things up so that a children's wrapping station (or gift bag decorating) and an age-appropriate holiday movie plays in the morning, while teens and adults enjoy movies and wrapping later in the day, or just play classics that everyone enjoys. Maybe have a cocoa and cookies station, to keep the patrons fortified.

This can also go hand-in-hand with...

De-Stress Night

Holiday stress is no joke, particularly for your patrons who put it upon themselves to make everything perfect and magical for their whole families. Why not give them a treat with a stress relieving evening? (This would also work well if you're open on Black Friday!) You could provide:
  • A Hot Cocoa and Cookie Station, to enjoy the flavors of the season
  • Therapy dogs, which are proven to reduce blood pressure
  • Perhaps you could put a crackling fire or yule log video on a tv screen
  • If it's in the budget, you could have a masseuse come in to give quick back or hand massages
  • Coloring pages or other easy crafts

In Conclusion

Whatever you celebrate, remember that it's supposed to be fun - for you and for your patrons. We hope these ideas have put you into a holly jolly holiday spirit. If you have other ideas, please post them here or on our Facebook page, or mention us on Twitter.