For many libraries, August is the month where summer reading programs ends. All the reading records are done, prizes have been distributed and programs have had their final bows. This provides for a little quiet time before the Fall brings new storytime and back to school programs. Across the United States, there have been several wonderful programs and ideas this summer. However, if time will permit just one more idea before children librarians close the books on One World, Many Stories, here's one that will do nicely. Every culture has a special way to "capture" luck. Each technique is accompanied with a story, which provides a glimpse of the country's culture. With this in mind, host a program entitled "Make A Wish@Your Library. The idea comes from the book Wish: Wishing Tradition Around the World by Roseanne Thong. It's fun, crafty and carries a wonderful message.
Wish begins with a wonderful question: How in the world do you make a wish? Thus setting the stage for traveling around the world to discover the different traditions, from Brazil to Italy to South Africa and finally to United States. It's a fascinating trip with tons of craft projects for children to make. Thong tells her readers that in Guatemala, children make colorful round kites made of strips of paper attached to a bamboo frame. The kites carry the wishes of the children up to the gods. This is a perfect opportunity for a family craft day featuring circular kites. Once the kites have been made, invite youngsters and their families to fly their kites outside the library. Remind them to make a wish before setting the kite into flight.
If kites are not a practical idea, try making a version of Thailand's krathongs, which are little boats folded to look like lotus flowers. The boats are filled with candles, coins flowers and incense and set afloat at a river edge. (For an idea on how to make this go to http://learn.jacksonhq.com/how-to-make-a-krathong/) The boats are said to carry bad luck way in order to allow the good wishes to come true.
Just one last idea for the perfect ending to summer reading programs. At the very last program create your own little version of the Trevi Fountain. It can be as simple as a kiddie pool with a little bit of water in it with a picture of the famous Italian fountain posted on the wall behind the pool. Legend says that if a visitor of Rome tosses three coins over their shoulders, they will get married. Two coins signifies that they will find love. If only one coin is tossed, it means that they will return to Rome. With a little bit of inspiration, tell patrons if they toss three coins over their left shoulders, they will find their favorite book of all times, two coins signifies that they will discover they love a new genre and one coin means they will return to the library many, many times. Of course, fake coins could be used, but why not try making this a fund raiser for the library? (Just a thought)
There are plenty more ideas that can be found in Thong's book. All one has to do is flip through the pages to be inspired. On a final note, when making the wishes at your library, it might be a good idea to remind patrons that wishes do come true at the library when given the opportunity to explore their world with the many resources that the library has to offer. As wishes fill the air around your library this summer, there is one wish that should come true for every library in every community. The best wish is simply this: that library doors will always be open to children of every age, in every community and in every culture.