This week I was thrilled to attend the OLA Child and Youth Expo in Toronto. I was also thrilled to present my first ever poster board, all about how to build community at your library with Tween Club. I loved connecting with other librarians who serve tweens, and sharing ideas about how to improve their experience at the library. I promised to make a blog post summarizing my info, so here it is!
What makes Tween Club different than other tween programs? It is run every single week. It is in the evening. It runs consistently throughout the year. And, most importantly, the events are so outlandish that they could only come from the minds of tweens themselves. Give tweens a place to belong, and they will come. Every week. With mind blowing enthusiasm.
Who are Tweens?
We define Tweens as grades 5 – 8, not quite a child and not quite a teen. Social belonging is incredibly important at their developmental stage. It’s a transitional time when the world around them is changing faster than ever – they have increased responsibilities, more complicated friendships, and stronger emotions. They are looking for a place to belong.
Tween Club Goals
- To provide a safe and fun place for tweens to belong
- Ensure that the library does not lose library users as they transition from child to teen
- Change tween’s perception of the library
- Teach and promote valuable skills such as food prep, cooperation, critical thinking skills
Note: Every month we run one food-based event, one maker activity, one “other” party style event, and one movie night.
- Iron Chef
- Tiny Food
- Pizza Mania
- Blind Taste Test
- Smell Test
- Mug Cakes
- Candy Bingo
- Stencil Art
- Bad Art Night
- Nail Art
- Zombie Barbies
- Lip Balm
- Bath Bombs
- Movie Nights
- Fort “Night”
- Stranger Things
- Glow in the Dark Dance Party
- Escape Room
How to bring Tween Club to the next level:
- “Official Tween Club Member” buttons
- Collectible buttons or “badges” each week
- Let the tweens choose the events
- Do it every single week, at the same time, with the same staff
- Think like a tween, and don’t be afraid to be ridiculous. Having a tie-dye event? Dress in tie-dye from head to toe. If you are genuinely into the event, they will follow.
- Have very good snacks.
Twice a year I give my tween club members a survey where they can request future events, make suggestions, and tell me what they like about Tween Club. Here are some of the responses on my poster board:
What do you like about Tween Club?
- “You get to be creative and artistic”
- “It means I am special”
- “It is inspirational”
- “Good reason to get out of the house for once”
- “You get to meet people”
- “Cool events”
- “I get to do stuff and not be on my device”
- “Makes you not bored”
- “Makes me happy”
You can download the Tween Club Poster Session Handout. This document might be helpful for anyone trying to get Tween Club off the ground, or get the program approved. Here is a copy of the survey I give to Tween Club members twice a year: Tween Club Survey
During my poster session, I gave away packages of resources that libraries can use for Tween Club events. I also make all of my resources available on blog posts about tween events. Check out some of the posts below, or browse them all here.
- Tiny Food Party for Tweens: Program Outline
- DIY Lip Balm: Program Outline
- Homemade Layered Slime Jars with Ombre Effect
- Bad Art Night 2.0
- 3D Printer Escape Room at the Library
- How To Throw a Slime Party at the Library (and why you should!)
- Tween Club: Pizza Mania! Pizza jewelry, Pizza Tasting, and Dessert Pizza
- Stencil Art – Program Outline
- Tween Club: Zombie Barbies
- Galaxy Jar Workshop in the Library – Program Outline
- Bath Bomb and Sugar Scrub Workshop – Program Outline
- Tween Club: Taste Test Challenge
Wow, I should really write a book about this eh?!
If you have any questions, or are looking for ideas or advice, I would love to help. You can reach me by commenting on this post, or on the Contact Me page.