Curated news and ideas
for youth services.
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Welcome to Think Outside the Stacks. I asked librarians on Twitter and it seems like most of you do some, if not all of your own graphic design/desktop publishing work. I've included a few resources for Canva (a free design tool) today and I'll be keeping an eye out for similar things in the future. Canva has lots of tutorials to help you get started and make the most of it here.  As always I love to hear feedback and suggestions for content at or @BethReads on Twitter. 

Here's What I Have For You Today:

How to Create Worksheets and Workbooks in Canva (via Alyssa Barnes)
Whether you want to create worksheets as handouts for programs or to go with your own presentations, webinars, or blog posts this tutorial will show you how to create great looking ones in Canva. 

10 Ways to Use Canva for Ministry (via Tan Squared Youth Ministry)
Here are some ways you can use Canva to promote events and your library. 

Shape Lab (via MOMA) and more pictures 
Several years back MOMA had an exhibit called Shape Lab (click the link in the first post to see more pictures). I stumbled on it this week and thought it was instructional both in all the different ways they created hands-on experiences around shapes and also how easy it would be to replicate the magnetic shape walls for a youth area in the library. 
DIY Cloud Backdrop (via A Practical Wedding)
You can make clouds for a display or program using paper lanterns and fiberfill. Tip: It won't cost anywhere near their estimate unless you're getting super fancy lanterns. Check the party section at Target. 
Auto Shop Dramatic Play (via Pocket of Preschool)
If you're lucky enough to have space for dramatic play in your children's area or a play together type program here are some great ideas for an auto shop setting. 

Shrinky Dink Pins (via Design Mom)
No button maker? No problem. You've probably seen shrinky dink jewelry before, but this tutorial suggests using tie-tacks for backing which makes the project more gender neutral and coordinates nicely with the enamel pin trend. No need to limit this to Valentine's Day. 

Paper Plate Unicorn (via Glued to My Crafts)
This is SO CUTE! A paper plate unicorn with super-adorable yarn hair is a great elementary level kids craft to use with Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great,  Uni the Unicorn, or other unicorn books. 

Featured Book: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr is the only witness when her friend Khalil is murdered by a police officer despite being unarmed. Caught between accusations about Khalil's character and neighborhood protests Starr knows telling the truth about Khalil would put both her and her family at risk on several fronts. 
I know it doesn't actually come out until the end of the month. I know there has been a lot of hype around this book from the publisher bidding war to the movie already being in development.  

What I need you to know is that this book deserves ever bit of the hype. Starr's voice is extraordinary. The way that Thomas handles the good and the bad things about Starr's neighborhood, the little details of Starr's life like sharing a brother with someone you aren't related to are going to resonate so strongly with readers who don't see themselves in books very often.  


60 Picture Books with Diverse Main Characters (via Imagination Soup)
A great list to check against your collection and fill in some gaps, several titles went right onto my holds list. 

Kindness Bingo (via Toddler Approved)
A different kind of bingo game for summer reading? Have kids mark what they do and bring it in so the library can keep track and display a total of the acts of kindness. You can make cards with a variety of things that Build a Better World from sharing a book together to picking up litter. 

Girls as Young as Six Internalize Gender Stereotypes about Brilliance (via The Mary Sue)
A study showed that girls as young as six think of "brilliance" as a male quality. The write-up includes a link to the full study released in Science. 
DIY Rainbow Peg People (via The Imagination Tree)
If you have a doll house or other dramatic play items in your youth area these are a really cheap and easy way to replace human figures that might have wandered off in tiny hands. You can paint or stain the heads as well to have a more diverse set of people. Check out Pinterest for more elaborate versions of peg dolls as well. 

Museum Hack Fangirling

How to Avoid the "Target Audience" Trap At Your Museum (via Museum Hack)
While there is clearly a lot here for adult services people, as youth services I'm thinking about it in terms of both 11 and 12 year-olds and high school seniors.  Both of those groups are often hard to bring in because their perception is that the library is for "little kids" or that they are too old for the teen department. 

It might be time to make a new commitment to engaging them. Figure out what interesting things you have for those particular age spans and get the word out that you are here for them too. Do you have a way to recommend more complex YA to your 16+ crowd? Do they know about the databases that can help them prep for college and careers? Or was the last time they visited the library a third grade field trip? 

Also of interest: 
Sleuthing and Scavenger Hunts: InsideMuseum Hack's "Escape the Met" Experience
Six Tedx Talks on the Power of Storytelling

Just for Fun

Humorous New Contextual Street Sign Interventions (via Colossal)
Fun art installations in the wild, personally I wouldn't mind if public spaces came with a "solitude rating". ;-)

Look Closely: 

Hijabi Hooligan Cosplay  Great cosplay ideas incorporating a hijab. Cosplay is for everyone.
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