56 Pinterest-ing Passive Programming Ideas for Libraries Serving Teens

Are you a YA librarian looking for some inexpensive and self-directed but engaging activities for your teen patrons or students? Look no further!

Teen librarian Dawn Abron and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Teen Programming HQ Manager has curated a Pinterest board filled with ideas for passive programming.  What does “passive programming” mean, anyway? In the library world, it's a program or service that requires little or no effort or money for the library’s part, with simple set up and little to no supervision.

Whether they are introverted young adults who might be turned off by more intense and crowded activities or young people who are busy with after-school commitments, teens can engage with the library through these self-directed and inexpensive programs.

“If you are consistent with implementation and teens observe that, they will internalize the belief that the library is a place to do interesting things. Passive programming is subversive—teens see, engage, and connect with the library without ever once being told what they’re doing is good for them,”  said former YA librarian Kelly Jensen, now author and editor, in a piece for Programming Librarian.

Some of Abron’s favorite ideas include "fingerprint portrait," in which students enlarge photocopies of their fingerprints and then fill in the swirls with their interests, thoughts, ambitions, goals, and personality traits. "I like this activity because it allows teens to discover and share with others what makes them unique." The Throwback Letter Writing Station is a fun way to explore how technology has progressed while giving them an opportunity to do some old-school letter writing.

For these ideas and more, visit SLJ's brand-new Passive Programming board. Feel free to send more suggestions our way!

Dawn Abron is the teen services and creative space coordinator at the Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, IL. She is a maker, a Slytherin, a YA book blogger, a YA podcaster, and the YALSA Teen Programming HQ Manager.

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