Programming for Children and Tweens

Course Instructor: Penny Peck
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – Monday, April 1, 2013

Format: Online

Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.

(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)

Do you want to promote awareness of your library and its resources for children and their families? Entertain and educate children along the path to making them lifelong readers and library users? Increase library usage by under-served groups in your community?

Free programs are a natural and effective way to attract children and pre-teens, as well as their parents or caregivers, to your library. Your library’s programming efforts may include performances by professional entertainers, multicultural events, do-it-yourself craft programs, book-related movies, gaming programs, book discussion groups, and “dog buddy” reading programs.

In this online course, expert programmer Penny Peck shares her practical experiences with developing and delivering programs that will stimulate and engage children and tweens. As a result you will be able to:

  • Identify community needs and interests, as well as potential partners for programming
  • Work effectively with guest performers
  • Plan do-it-yourself activity programs
  • Organize book discussion groups and give simple booktalks
  • Visit schools to promote the library

You will take away from the course practical ideas and resources, as well as a sense of confidence in your ability to develop age-appropriate and engaging programs for children and tweens.

Course Description: In this four-week online course, the instructor will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately. You will be creating and sharing plans for a variety of programs including multicultural programs, craft programs, book discussion groups, and demonstrations of your library’s website. Discussion forums and optional online meetings are part of the online learning process. The online meetings provide opportunities to share ideas and questions and to connect and explore the material further in a friendly, convivial way. Those who cannot participate in person can listen to the archived recording of the meetings.

Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:

  • Week 1: Overview of Programming, Entertainment and Multicultural Programs
    • Overview and philosophy of library programming
    • Informal assessment of community needs, resources, and other agencies providing programs for children and their families
    • Identifying and working with community groups on programming
    • How to find, book, and host a variety of guest speakers and performers, free and paid, and how to budget expenses
    • Online resources for entertainment and multicultural programming
  • Week 2: Do-It-Yourself Programs: Craft, Holiday, Gaming, Themed Programs, and “Dog Buddy” Programs
    • How to organize a do-it-yourself (DIY) activity program on a theme
    • How to organize and host a dog buddy program for emergent readers (ages six to eight)
    • Using teen volunteers to assist with children’s program design and/or delivery
    • Gaming clubs and programs
    • Movie programs – are you “legal?;” how to add activities to a movie program to make it more meaningful
    • Online resources for DIY programming ideas, gaming events, and movie screenings
  • Week 3: Book Discussion Groups and Booktalks
    • How to conduct a book discussion group for older children and tweens
    • How to do booktalks at various programs or during visits to schools as a way to “advertise” specific books or genres
    • Online resources on book discussion groups and booktalking
  • Week 4: Visits to Schools and Online Programming
    • Basics of scheduling and conducting school visits to promote the library and its services
    • Tips and tricks to hold the attention of a class
    • Online programming including author visits using Web 2.0 tools
    • What to cover in a demonstration of your library’s website for children
    • Online resources on making formal presentations, and on library programs in an online environment

Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of 10 course hours. Each week’s module contains readings, discussions, and assignment options. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week’s work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.

Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff members who develop programs for children and tweens, including new children’s librarians or other staff who are relatively new to serving children. This course is valuable for support staff whose work includes children’s services responsibilities.

Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at:

Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.

Available for contracting: