Monday, April 14, 2014

Egg Hunt: A 30 year tradition in New Albany, Indiana

Though libraries continue to change and grow (as they should!), there is something special about the traditions that it can inspire, especially when children grow up with the library and then bring children of their own as adults.  The New Albany-Floyd County Public Library has an interesting way to keep track of their generations of patrons.  Easter Eggs.  Abby Johnson is the Children's Services Manager in New Albany and gives some insight to their 30 year tradition.  

Tell us about the program. 

Our annual Egg Decorating Workshop has been held at the library since 1985. We invite families to come to the library to decorate blown-out eggs. (Blown-out eggs have the inside parts blown out so that they can be preserved forever… or until they break.) We ask each child to bring two blown-out eggs: one to take home with them and one to donate to the library’s collection. Of course, we provide extra eggs in case someone’s breaks or anyone forgets. The library provides egg dye and all kinds of odds and ends for decorating the eggs. It’s a great way for us to get rid of leftover craft supplies and I think it’s neat that you can tell by walking through our department what extra supplies we had each year. There might be a stretch of glittery eggs followed by eggs decorated with lots of yarn followed by 
eggs with lots of feathers.

Why do your patrons need or look forward to this program? 

Our free Egg Decorating Workshop has become an annual tradition for many families, so it’s great that the library can have a role in establishing fun traditions. If families donate eggs to our collection, that’s something they can look back on each year to remember the fun they had. We keep a binder with the names and years for all of the eggs. The eggs are hung on numbered rods, so we can easily look up and find someone’s egg, even if it’s been years since they did one. 

This program also satisfies a need for creative programs for children. We set out a variety of materials and allow children and families to use their imaginations to decide how to decorate their eggs. So often crafts for children are limiting by providing specific instructions or maybe a sample, dictating the “right way” for their product to look. Children need opportunities to express their creativity, which this program provides. 

What are some of the challenges to set up the program? 

In the past, our biggest challenge was providing extra blown-out eggs in case of breakage or drop-ins. This year, we discovered that you can buy plastic eggs at big box stores like Wal-Mart, so that’s really cut down on our staff time invested in the program. The eggs don’t work as well with the dye, but you can use markers, crayons, and glue on them, so children can use our other supplies. 

Another challenge is keeping the eggs safe and putting them up each year. Families always ask us how we put up the eggs. “Very carefully!” we say. The strings are hot-glued onto the eggs and the rods and each egg and rod has a number so we can keep them in order when we put them away. We hang the eggs up every spring, usually a few weeks before our program and leave them up until several weeks after the program. If we have anyone come in to do work on the ducts or lights we have to be proactive in offering to move eggs to keep them safe. 

What would you do differently or like to change about this program? 

Really, it’s a program we’ve got down to a science after so many years of doing it. Although there’s a bit of prep work with putting the eggs up and getting materials together, it’s really an easy program to run. My one worry is that we may someday be in a space that doesn’t have a drop ceiling (allowing us to display the eggs), but we’ll deal with that when we come to it! 

What's next?

Oh, not much… just gearing up for SUMMER READING! ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment