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Piano, Soccer, Ballet, and the Public Library?

How to Attract Elementary-Aged Kids to Your After-School Programs

A presentation for the 25th Annual

NJLA, NJSL, NJASL Youth Services Forum

October 7, 2015

Monroe Township Library


Robin Rockman, Oradell Free Public Library


Lisa Taylor, Ocean County Library

Best Practices

Timing, Timing, Timing - Learn Your Students' Schedules

Too early? Too late? School holidays?

Marketing - to the school, the PTA, the town, newspaper, website, social media, signage, email newsletters, local shops, cross promote in programs, talk it up with patrons, MOMS clubs, provide informative bookmarks with transactions...

Images - Good images sell!  Use examples that are familiar, feature popular characters, etc.

Types of programs

Popular characters


Building - LEGO Club

Food (don't forget about allergies!)

Teen Advisory Board Sponsored

Popular books/series

Science Experimentation

Tap into local partnership: Dept of Health, Student Council, Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts, Rec Department, Schools/PTA ("fill gaps")

What are they into and not getting elsewhere?

Program examples

'Tween the Covers

(book club)

book trailers

author visits



Geronimo Stilton Club

Calling all Geronimo Stilton fans!  Do you read The Rodent's Gazette?  Care to share what you know about New Mouse City?  Come join our 4-week Geronimo Stilton Club and have some cheesy fun!  For kids in Grades 2-5.  Please register.

Diversity, and books, and fun!

Do you know Scratch? A 4-week programming series

M&M Math

Math and food!

There are so many resources for this one.  Your problem will be keeping people out of the program!

Healthy for the Win!

Perler Beads

Bedtime Math

"Drop-in" Crafts - Oh, the glitter!

Reading Buddies

Play with Science - FLOAM

Storytime and Bookclubs...with a Twist



Live music

Bring the book to life

LEGO Club: The theme was Halloween. Jorge built a candy factory. You can even see the little LEGO guys working in the factory!

Button Maker

Outreach- if they can't get to you, go to them.

Questions? Comments? Success stories?

Things to Keep in Mind

Go for the long term and build relationships with patrons starting with Baby Storytime

Staff accordingly to handle overflow and crowd control

Make sure the rest of the staff is on board and welcoming

Programs for children involve the whole family - think about the parents/caretakers and younger siblings

Homework Help & Homework breaks

Image Sources

Openclipart [http://openclipart.org]

Plain M&Ms Pile by Evan Amos (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

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Soccer, Ballet, and the Public Library?

by ltaylorrrockman


Public - 8/27/15, 11:45 PM