Libraries offer a sanctuary away from the busyness of everyday life. They offer an abundance of resources for students, a safe place to play and explore for young children, and keep seniors engaged through adult education. It’s no wonder that February is National Library Lover’s Month. Expand your group’s knowledge this month with the activities below, inspired by our love for the library.
READING PASSPORTS – Issue a pretend passport to each participant at the beginning of the month. You can create your own pretend passports using craft paper. Challenge your group to read throughout the month of February. Give them a stamp for each book or chapter completed. Award a prize to the one who collects the most stamps by the end of the month.
COLLABORATE WITH YOUR LIBRARY – Call your library and see how your group can work together this month. Does your library need help reorganizing shelves? Do they send a newsletter that your group can assemble? Look for volunteer opportunities that are appropriate for your group at your local library.
VISIT LIBRARIES AROUND TOWN – Take your group on a weekly visit to libraries around your town. Check the library event page for appropriate activities or lectures that your group may enjoy. Visit libraries that offer a unique setting, interesting architecture, or are currently displaying works of art.
ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY LIBRARY – Use this month to organize your own community library. If you haven’t started one, ask members, families and friends to donate gently used books. (Specify what you do and do not want.) If your shelves are overflowing, ask member to help you sort through the shelves. Form a library committee to maintain your community library. Place a basket nearby where members can return borrowed materials.
ASK A LIBRARIAN – Invite a librarian to educate your group this month. Ask them to share all the resources available to your group, including apps that allow patrons to borrow books, music, or videos directly on their smart device. Are there any library programs that could be brought to your facility? Follow up by scheduling a tour for interested members to learn more about where to find such materials at the library.
CREATE A BOOKMARK – Gather an assortment of craft paper, such as scrapbook paper. You’ll also need stickers, scissors, glue sticks, a corner punch (not necessary, but adds a nice touch), hole punch, yarn, and laminator and laminating paper. (Contact paper works well if you don’t have access to a laminator.) Before the activity, cut the craft paper into strips 1 1/2” wide and 6” long, for each bookmark. Instruct participants to pick a strip of paper. If using a corner punch, round the corners of the bookmark. Use the hole punch to add a hole to the top of the bookmark. Then, let participants decorate their bookmarks with stickers or other embellishments. They can write an inspiring quote or use markers to draw a design. When finished, run the bookmarks through a laminator, trim the edges and re-punch the hole. Finish by stringing and tying yarn through the top hole. Trim the strands so that the tasseled ends are even.
BOOK VS. MOVIE SHOWDOWN – Select a book-turned-movie and ask members to read the book. Then, towards the end of the month, watch the movie as a group activity. Afterwards, compare and contrast how the book and movie faired. What was different? What was similar? Which was better? We recommend The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or Little Women.
BOOKS OVER COFFEE – If you’re looking for a twist on your usual Book Club, invite members to bring what they are currently reading to share with other participants. They can give a brief synopsis and share their opinions about the book. Serve coffee, of course, and act as a moderator so that each participant has the opportunity to speak. Once participants have shared, spend time reminiscing about book clubs of the past. Ask members to talk about their favorite books or books that changed their lives. If your group isn’t made of avid readers, use the time to reminisce about favorite childhood books or fairy tales.
STUDY BUDDY – Work with local schools or the library to arrange a partnership between your group and students. Members can sign up to be a tutor for students struggling in school. Other participants could sit with children as they practice their reading skills. Students can tutor your group in technology and can teach them how to use smart devices.
INTERGENERATIONAL STORY TIME – Similar to how libraries offer reading programs for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, invite a younger generation group to come to your community for Story Time. Reach out to local mom groups, preschools, or daycare centers. Then, find age-appropriate books for your participants to read to the kids. Members could bring their favorite childhood books to share, or act out a fairy tale.
MEMORIES OF THE PAST – Libraries have a rich history but have changed greatly over the years. Once a place where quiet was expected, the library now welcomes friendly voices and even has designated areas where groups can gather or children can explore without fear of being reprimanded. Revisit memories of the library with your group. Do members remember getting their books stamped with the dater? How much were library fines and how do they compare with today’s fines? Did they ever have to spend time researching in the “stacks”? What about looking up books in the card catalog system? What did their hometown library look like?
BOOK TROLLEY – Bookmobiles used to accommodate rural communities and villages that had no library buildings. During the 19th century, horse-drawn carts would bring the library to the people. Once motorized cars came along, large customized vehicles became a part of American culture, until the mid-twentieth century. Bring back the nostalgia of the bookmobile for your group. Purchase a cart or wagon and fill with a variety of books, word puzzles, pencils, movies, DVD player, music, CD players, or other independent activities. At a designated time of day, walk the book trolley through the halls, stopping to lend materials to members.
DISCOVER YOUR ROOTS – Does your local library offer genealogy resources? If so, organize a time for your group to trace their heritage. At the end of the month, ask participants to share what they’ve learned about their family history. Invite their family members to attend as well.
ENGAGING STATIONS – Finally, spend time this month creating independent stations throughout your community. These are fun ways to keep members engaged during down time or to support their independent leisure pursuits. Stations can be as easy as placing word puzzles or adult coloring sheets on the coffee tables in the lobby. Other ideas include sorting tasks, jigsaw puzzles, or building challenges. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, a station could include blank paper hearts on which members can write a note of appreciation to a friend.
FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS RESOURCES – 25% off in January
Stock up on some of our featured ElderSong products to help support your theme this month, and then use the resources the rest of the year.
Sing-Along with ElderSong, Volume 1 – Item #P501D. Regularly $17.95. Online sale price $13.45.
Combine music and reminiscing about visits to the library with Sing-Along with ElderSong. Volume one includes the song “School Days.” Sing this song with your group and let the music evoke memories. After singing, reminisce about trips to the school or public library. Did they study at the library? What sort of projects required them to visit the library? Do they remember getting their first library card? What other memories of the library do they treasure?
Mind Joggers, Volume 3 – Item #P215. Regularly $16.95. Online sale price $12.70.
Engage participants’ minds with trivia from Mind Joggers. Volume three includes a chapter called “Writin,” appropriate for this month’s theme. The book contains 49 other exciting trivia quizzes and word games so that you can continue the fun with your group.
You Be the Judge, Volume 3 – Item #228. Regularly $10.95. Online sale price $8.20.
Let your group be the judge as you critically think about real-life events. Volume three includes cases about schools, so be sure to feature these this month. Read the details of the case and ask your group the discussion questions. Then let them give their verdict before sharing the actual outcome of the trial.
FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS TRIVIA
- Where was the first U.S. lending library founded: New York City, Baltimore, or Philadelphia? Philadelphia (The Library Company of Philadelphia was founded in 1731.)
- Who founded the first American library: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson? Benjamin Franklin
- Named after its creator, what is the classification system used worldwide to catalogue library books? Dewey Decimal system
- What book of records ironically holds the world record for being the book most stolen from public libraries? The Guinness Book of World Records
- Which country allows you to return your library book anywhere in the country, regardless of where it was loaned: Switzerland, France, or Norway? Norway
- With more than 168 million items, which national library is the largest library in the world? The Library of Congress
- What do you informally call someone who loves to read? A bookworm
- There are more libraries in America than which popular coffee beverage shop? Starbucks
- In which European country can you find the Osmotheque, the library of smells: England, France, or Italy? France (The library contains the formulas and samples of every fragrance, new and old, marketed in France.)
- Which recent former American First Lady holds a Master’s degree in Library Science? Laura Bush
FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
“For the Love of Books” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2020 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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