Summer Reading Challenge Recap 2019


The Summer Reading Challenge, “A Universe of Stories,”  has come to an end. The programs I coordinated were geared toward grades 6th-8th. This was my first summer in my current position and at my current library. I was able to interact with middle schoolers and have provided a recap below.

Henna Program

Local Paid Performer who will show the youth how to create henna designs and each child will go home with their own cone of henna.

Final Thoughts:  This program went well the participants were able to take home a cone of henna to practice their designs at home. The performer was able do a small design on each participants hand.

Galaxy Solar Lights

Youth will be able to create a solar powered light jar by using a mason jar and yard lights. Each youth participant will take home a light jar and an additional galaxy sensory jar. I found information on how to do this online and adapted to my library.

Final Thoughts:  I wrote a full blog post that discussed everything I did for this program.  The participants enjoyed this program and were able to successfully complete the task. This program was easy to create and wasn’t costly.

Life Size Retro Gaming-

We will be doing life size pac-man. I am using painters tape on the floor, ping pong balls will be the points, and each child will wear the responding colors. This program was super cheap to come up with and complete.

Final Thoughts: It took about an hour to set up the pac-man on the floor of the meeting room. The participants enjoyed the game. I set up a table with crafts and additional board games.

A Magic Workshop

Local Paid Performer will show the youth how to do simple magic card trips. Each child will leave with a deck of card and new tricks to use on others.

Final Thoughts:  The performer brought decks of cards and a book of magic card tricks. Each participant took home a deck of cards and a book with magic tricks. The performer taught the participants three tricks during the hour performance. The performer went through the history of each trick.

Science Explosion

Local Paid Performer will do slime and explosion demonstrations for the middle schoolers.

Final Thoughts:  This performer went over pulleys and polymers with the participants. This was my highest attendance program with a total number of thirty attendees. The participants enjoyed the enthusiasm of the performer.

DIY Projector Box

Youth will create their own projector box to use at home. The program description asks the youth to come to the program with a smart phone to practice.

Final Thoughts:  I collected shoe boxes from the staff members two months prior to the program. I then purchased magnifying glass from party city to use in the projector box. I went over the instructions with the participants then let them create the box with the 5 easy steps.

Monster Movie and Slime Activity

The plan is to have them watch a alien movie and make slime to take home. This is the final program for the summer!

Final Thoughts:  The movie was only thirty minutes so I waited until fifteen minutes after the program start time to begin the movie. The participants also were able to make slime using glue, shaving cream, contact solution and baking soda.

Comment below your ideas or any feedback about this list. You can use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page to reach me or you can email me at Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Galaxy Solar Lights Program

The theme this summer at the library is A Universe of Stories. This a recap post from the program I did on June 13th. Here is a break down of the program including items used:

Program Description:

Join us with this out of this world mason jar activity. Create a solar powdered galaxy themed mason jar light that glows in the dark. Each participant will go home with one solar powered jar and a glow in the dark galaxy jar.

Plan/ Prep Time:

It took about an hour total to set up for the program and that was with the help of another staff member. We had to set up enough tables and chairs for 20 tweens.

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Total Number of Staff Used:  2 library staff members including myself and 2 volunteers

Length of Program: 1 hour and 15 minutes. This program can be done in an hour but keep in mind we did two activities in one hour.

How it worked: 

I started the program with the Galaxy Jar that was made using water, water color paint, and cotton balls. I explained to the participants that it was important for them to pay attention. I only placed the materials needed for the first activity on the table so that way they would not get the items confused. (Plus I did not want to have 8 glass mason jars on each table.)

Here are the steps for the Galaxy Jar:

  1. Remove the lid from the mason jar
  2. Fill the mason jar 1/3 of the way with water
  3. Add a large squeeze of paint or about ten-fifteen drops of paint into the jar
    1. I recommend them using colors like pink, red, purple, blue, and green together
    2. Colors like orange, yellow, and green don’t look well together in the jar.
  4. Put the lid back on the jar and shake
  5. Once the paint has mixed, open the jar and add glitter if desired
  6. Stretch out the cotton balls and add them to the water and paint mixture until the cotton balls have fully soaked up the water. We are going to repeat steps 1-3 until the jar is full and we don’t want the paint to mix.

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  1. Repeat steps 1-6 two more times until you are done. Filling the jar another 3rd of the way with water and adding paint.

I had them clean up the table and put the first jar aside. The first activity took about 35 minutes to complete and clean up. Then it took ten minutes to pass out the supplies for the solar light jar. Here are the steps and the supplies used for the Solar Powered Light Jar:


  • 12 oz Mason Jars
  • Solar yard lights, just the light part
  • Mounting Tape
  • Cork-board cut into 6.5 in long strips
  • Mod Podge
  • Fine Glitter
  • Glow in the Dark Paint


  1. Grab the solar light but do not remove the orange tab that activates the light
  2. Grab the two strips of mounting tape and wrap one strip around the solar light
  3. Then place the second strip on top of the first one and wrap it around the light
  4. Then wrap the cork-board strip around the mounting tape. It should stick.
  5. Remove the center piece from the jar lid, leaving only the part that screws onto the jar. Insert the solar light into the center. There is enough padding where the light should fit into the center without problems.
  6. Now decorate the jar and you’re done.

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Items Used and Cost:

Item Cost QTY Total Vendor
Foam Mounting Tape 5.29 4 21.16 Office Depot
Mod Podge 11.97 1 11.97 Wal-Mart
Jelly Jars Mason Jars 12oz 10.72 2 21.44 Wal-Mart
Canning Jars 12oz 8.78 1 8.78 Wal-Mart
Solar Outdoor Lights 12ct 9.67 2 19.34 Wal-Mart
Glitter 0.38oz- 12ct 6.97 2 13.94 Wal-Mart
Folkart Glow in the Dark Green 8oz Paint 5.44 2 10.88 Wal-Mart

You can just buy four 12ct packs of the 12 oz mason jars but my library had a few on hand so I chose to not buy as many. We also used water color paint and cotton balls for the second activity.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the program was a success and I had about 18 kids show up with a max capacity of 20. The tweens paid attention to the directions and were able to take home two items. I would definitely do this program again in the future but I would try to set up for the program at least two hours before hand and try to have the supplies a little more organized.

Comment below your ideas or any feedback about this list. You can use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page to reach me or you can email me at Thanks for joining me on this adventure!



Back to School

Houston Independent School District Starts today!! As a welcome back I created these mini back to school survival kits. They include:

  1. Fruit snacks
  2. Internet safety tips
  3. Mechanical pencil
  4. Eraser
  5. Sticky notes

I came up with this idea and the staff at my branch helped develop it. I’m so excited to pass these out to tomorrow. This idea was super cheap. All the supplies came from Target and I made about 88 bags that cost about $25 to make! What are some of your fun back to school ideas to get the kids pumped?

For comments or inquiries, email me at

Thanks for reading!

Giant Games

Hi there,

Hopefully you know that I am a youth librarian. This week we played giant Jenga, wrote a poem using the letters in our name, and made shampoo in honor of Madam CJ Walker. Here is an image of giant Jenga.

I love creating new things and hearing my name from the kids that visit the library. Exciting things to come in the future 🙂

-Ariel the Librarian-

Book Displays

Here are images of my displays:

December- Sweets

I created this display with the idea of a sweet romance. The supplemental display was a new books display. I later added additional candy shapes. The entire month there was a great reaction to this display.


January- Brain Teasers

I created a Mario inspired display. I wanted the teens to want to complete brain teasers. I actually had two complete it and I watched people take books from the display.


February- African American Poets

This month I created a display that focuses on African American Authors and poetry. I created an interactive display. I wanted the teens to create their own black out poetry so that I could display them in March. I also created a blind date with a book display.

Thanks for checking out this post! If you would like to contact me you can email me at

My Full Time Job

I work full time as a Youth Services Librarian/ Assistant Manager. I’m sure you’re curious about what that means. It means I am in charge of programming from 0-18 and I am also in charge of the staff.

Awesome Parts of my Job!:

  • I get to create meaningful programming for the youth.
  • I get to create awesome teen displays.
  • I interact with patrons of all ages.
  • I am able to provide patrons with access to information.
  • I am able to connect with the schools in the area.
  • I love working around kids and I get to teach them new items each day.
  • I am surrounded by books. I love encouraging the youth patrons to read and explore new books.

I absolutely love working for a public library and love being in the customer experience field. Libraries are information centers and continue to provide access to information to patrons. My library does an after school zone and provides free meals to the kids in the area. I get to interact with parents and share the wonders of free access to information. My job is unique in a sense where I get to ensure meaningful program is provided to all patrons. I am always giving out my name and encouraging patrons to contact me.

The road to Librarianship:

I actually was a teacher and decided I would have a greater impact on the community in a library. I wanted to connect more with a larger population and feel I had a larger impact. I revived my MLS this summer and dived right into to librarianship. I’ve always had a passion for reading and now I get to share it with others every day. My job is a lot of work but it’s impactful work.

Thanks for reading and learning a little more about my day job!