Budget cuts have affected libraries in many ways across the country, and in terms of children’s events this may result in less materials to work with. However, a successful children’s program might not necessarily require a plentiful budget, or complicated planning, simply a little creativity and some glue sticks.
Fortunately, a challenging financial situation like this can be a great opportunity for personal career development and also an opportunity to get really creative with resources for great library programming. Budget cuts are only one of the many challenges that we might have to face within the library world, and just as with any other challenge, it’s all in how you approach it.
When it comes to materials for crafts or even displays, everyday household items can turn into unexpected resources. Saving paper towel rolls, packaging paper, old holiday decorations, paper scraps, greeting cards and even old magazines is a great way to easily have a supply of materials available for creating crafts and displays around the library, without having to worry about making any big material purchases. Besides being thrifty, recycling materials this way can show children that a lot of times unexpected things can have great potential, while at the same time help them develop fine motor skills.
Crafting, along with programming, should be an enjoyable experience and should not require a fabulous budget, just a little ingenuity and maybe even a bit of mouse clicking! For the times when I’m low in creative ideas I like to visit the folks at Growing Up Creative, their fun blog posts offer ideas on how to use materials in interesting ways, such as with their paper roll wall art! Another personal favorite is The Crafty Crow, their beautifully organized website lets you look through different categories to find the crafts that you’re looking for. They even have a recycled materials category that lets you work with everyday household materials! A great suggestion, if you haven’t joined already, is to sign up for a Pinterest account, the social bookmarking site that lets you browse through their plethora of images, including craft ideas. I’m always pleasantly surprised at all the creative ideas that people have to share, especially when I can successfully incorporate them into the library setting.
Again, crafting doesn’t mean having to spend a wholesome amount on fancy construction paper, but really just working with what you do have, and how you can best include it in your library. Happy crafting!