Category Archives: Event Ideas

Creative Writing: Zombie Poetry

It is a quiet evening in the boarding house (apart from being a school librarian, these days I also take some duties as a house master in the boys boarding house) I was reading the New York Times online edition and came across this extremely interesting article:

What Rhymes with ‘Undead’? Some Poets Know

It made for interesting reading.

I have worked with a number of teens that would respond well to the idea of creating zombie poetry. It is quirky enough to attract even some of the hardest to reach kids and with zombies becoming more mainstream it would not put off too many of the more normal young people.

Creating a Zombie-themed writing event could be run over two or even more meetings. It is a little-known fact that Night of the Living Dead – the movie that started the zombie movement is now in the public domain and can be shown freely in libraries without the need for permissions. The film itself is below:

The film can be used to discuss how zombies in cinema & on television have changed over the decades, from the slow shambling monstrosities of Night of the Living Dead to the faster shambling monstrosities of 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead. You can bill it as a mixed media Zombie poetry writing session, including movies, books, comics including The Walking Dead, Marvel Zombies and more. There are even musicians that have written songs about zombies but they may not be appropriate for the audience, for an example take a listen to Voltaire singing Zombie Prostitute.

There are examples of zombie poems online in case you need to provide inspiration, including the Little Boof of Zombie Poems by Tom Beckett.

Halloweek: Halloween Cosplay

For the manga and anime fans that use the library (and particularly if you have an established manga group) run a Halloween cosplay.

There are a number of gothicy, scary manga series including Rozen Maiden, Rosario Vampire, Hellsing, Reiko the Zombie Shop, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Cat-Eyed Boy, Hell Girl, Zombie Loan.

You can also encourage your manga fans to dress up as Sadako Yamamura the ghostly girl from The Ring movie. “within seven days of watching a normal videotape, you receive a phone call, saying you will die in a horrible and painful way” you could play pass the parcel with the “prize” being a video tape cassette.

Encourage the artistic members of the group to design and create their own manga horror characters. Almost anything that you can do during a standard manga meeting can be adapted for a Halloween special…

Halloweek: BOO!k Discussion

If your space and budget is limited you can fall back on a BOO!k discussion. You can put a Halloween theme on the proceedings by putting whatever snacks you provide for the group into trick or treat bags. You can also put a personalised joke into each of the bags, there are many websites that specialise in Halloween humour.
As a related-craft activity you could show off some Halloween origami skills.

Halloweek: All Hallow's Read

All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

Rather than read about it you can watch Mr Gaiman explain it below

This one can be done on a day or over the week, produce horror reading lists, see if you can get signed copies of scary books to give away as prizes – this is easier than you may think with the number of authors on twitter. It may be easier to stick signed book-plates into books as they are easier to post. Ask publishers if they can donate a copy or two or buy them and get them signed.

Anyway All Hallow’s Read is an idea that was dreamt up by Neil Gaiman, his written material can be used for a Hallowe’en event all on its own. Sandman (create your own Merv Pumpkinhead), Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book – there is so much creepy goodness is his back list you can go wild.

Halloweek: Día de los Muertos Tuesday 1st & Wednesday 2nd November

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

You can run calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) design competitions. You can follow the example of Jonathan Koshi and update the idea to pop culture items: http://bit.ly/ghyTGl & http://bit.ly/nq4s3R or print out a skull picture and have the young people create their own designs.

To keep the theme spooky you can also read Mexican Folktales to them while they work.

Halloweek: Monday 31st October Hallowe'en

Monday is Halloween so if you run a Teen Group or Chatterbooks group on this day it may be possible to run a pumpkin carving workshop or even a spooky story event – maybe combine the two. Think about running a creative writing event – spooky stories created by the group, or each attendee can suggest the scariest story they know and argue about which one is the scariest.

As I have suggested in previous years making a librarian mask is as simple as taking a photo of your face and printing it out on a sheets of cardboard for the attendees to cut out and wear. The October 2009 edition of Teen Librarian Monthly has a step by step process on how you can make the mask.

Library Myth Busters

This is an idea I have been working on that can be run with a Reading Group and also for breaking the ice for new users in the Library:

This event can be run by following the Myth Busters format of having small teams investigating various Library Myths and then presenting their findings to the entire Reading Group. If permission can be obtained for filming, a short DVD could be made of the proceedings. This could tie into a larger media and film-making programme that can be run over half-term or summer holidays. It is fun and educational – teenagers learn how the library works and what the staff do all day as well as debunking misconceptions they may have on what goes on in libraries.

Here are a a list of library myths that can either be debunked or confirmed:

  • Librarians have lots of time to read on the job
  • All librarians are fast readers
  • Public libraries are only busy during the school year
  • Public libraries are only busy during summer holidays
  • Libraries are used only by those who cannot afford to buy their own books.
  • Librarians have no stress
  • Librarians have read every book in the library.
  • Librarians know the answer to everything
  • Everyone who works in the library is a librarian
  • Libraries are just about getting books
  • Libraries aren’t necessary because everything’s available on the internet
  • Libraries have plenty of money because they get so many donated books and charge so much in fines
  • The librarian can be held responsible for everything that kids check out because they work for the government and must protect young people from bad things
  • School libraries aren’t needed because kids can get everything they want at the public library or online
  • Librarians wear their hair in buns, have wire-rimmed glasses, and say shhhhh! all the time
  • Librarians only issue books
  • Everything in the library is free
  • You have to know Dewey to use the library
  • Libraries are serious and quiet all the time
  • It is difficult to get a library card
  • Libraries are for English readers only

The list is by no means complete and if anyone would like to add library myths in the comments you are most welcome.

HeadSpace Efford

Create a Comic project
HeadSpace Efford took part in this online Manga storyboard activity in preparation for their first ever Manga RE-con at Waterstone’s in Plymouth. The theory behind the activity is that young people who are interested in Manga but unable to draw to a high standard can take part in constructing their own Manga storyboard. The site also provides similar pre-designed graphic novel templates and blank comic strips for young people who are talented artists. All this can be found on the Create a Comic Project website.

“The Create a Comic Project (CCP) is a youth literacy activity that uses comics to promote creative writing. The CCP uses two kinds of templates for instruction: blank panels, allowing kids to draw their own, and pre-drawn comics with the original dialogue bubbles blanked out. Pre-drawn templates use art from comics all across the web, representing a broad swath of the online cartooning community. The CCP is arguably the single largest multi-comic educational collaboration of its kind.

This website is dedicated to hosting the creations of the students who participated in the CCP. Both original and “remixed” comics are posted here for all to see. Every comic here is the work of one or more children. While I provided guidance and technical knowledge (what a dialogue bubble is, how to read expressions, etc.), I was always careful not to tell the kids what to write. So each comic posted here is the free and open creation of a young mind.”

The group really enjoyed coming up with their own stories and reading them aloud to each other. As with most projects that involve young people they are keen to come up with something with a professional finish. We were able to print their designs in colour for them to take home.

Meet Mangako!
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HeadSpace Efford launched their very own Manga group, hosted by Abi our resident Manga enthusiast. Abi came up with the plan for launch party, prepared the activities, made cakes, designed posters and promoted the group at the Manga RE-con event. The group is made up of four new HeadSpace members and three existing members who love all things Manga.
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It was a great to meet new members at the launch and everyone enjoyed learning to speak some Japanese, trying Japanese food and even listening to Disney songs in Japanese.
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Mangako meet on a fortnightly basis during HeadSpace time and in the next few weeks will be coming up with their own design for a Manga library card, performing a Manga sketch and sharing their favourite Anime.

To keep up with all our activities follow us on Twitter and check out the HeadSpace blog, written by young people for young people.


Article & photos provided by Superlibrarian Emma Sherriff of Plymouth Library Service

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

The brilliant Barry Lyga is running a competition ahead of the release of his new book Goth Girl Rising. You have to create a video trailer for one of his books, upload it onto Youtube, Myspace Video or anywhere you can host a video and send him the link.

Full competition details are here

This is worth promoting to any Teens who frequent the Library where you work, it could even be good for a Teen Group Library Project! Be quick you only have until the end of August!

It is easy – and to prove this I have entered the competition. My trailer is below!

ToshoCON

In Japanese the word for ‘Library’ is Toshokan.

In the UK over the past few years interest in manga and anime has grown (and grown and grown). The number of events and conventions around the country, including Kitacon, the MCM Expos in London and the Midlands, Auchinawa, EirtaKon and Fuyucon. This list is not exhaustive but just to illustrate that there are Conventions occurring all over the UK and now is the perfect time for Libraries to start thinking about staging an event or series of events.

Due to the fact that we are dispersed across the country it will be next to impossible to gather us all in one or two locations my idea is for as many libraries as possible to run events over several days and hopefully link up over the internet with videocasting of events and online chats. This can raise the profile of Libraries as places that run events that appeal to young people (and not so young people judging by the wide range of ages I have seen at other conventions).

All ideas welcome via e-mail or comments