I have sort of a unique challenge that I’m sure some of you have come up against, so I thought I might get your opinions.
Like a lot of libraries, mine has moved to virtual programs and take-and-make kits. We are in a low-income, low-tech area, which makes doing anything virtual live very challenging. We get very low or no attendance.
Recently, we’ve done paper circuit take-and-makes, which patrons seemed really interested in and seemed to enjoy. We’ve also got Scratch kits that can be checked out. However, there’s really no follow-up with these sorts of kits as far as how people interacted with them, what they thought, and what they made. We’ve found, over and over again, that our patrons are not interested in posting photos of their finished products, even if we try to encourage it. Similarly, paper surveys sent home in kits end up ignored and not returned.
Have any of you that might be in a similar position found a way to overcome this, or does anyone have suggestions that might help? We absolutely love the PLIX activities, and our patrons seem to as well, but we’re having difficulty marrying the idea of co-creating and sharing out your creations with the very personal, individual activity that is a take-and-make kit.
Is it that patrons are hesitant to interact on social media platforms? If that is the case, maybe there is a way to physically display their creations in a front window. Even Scratch could be displayed by screenshots printed out. I am thinking that the more physically concrete we can get with making and sharing, the better it is for kids, especially now. They are online so much. Or perhaps you can offer some kind of incentive to sharing, like more free materials, or some kind of modest prize? We have the same problem of not being able to reach all our patrons digitally. But I find that some kids are super stoked to even use crayons and paper at the library, get a sticker or library pencil and notebook…It is a challenge of this era.
I like these little doodles that an anonymous child left for me when I put out an empty sketchbook and markers on a table. Anonymous sharing or Found Art at its best.
A method that I have tried (and failed to get traction with) is asking people to send things via email and text. Do you have access to a SMS service, such as Shoutbomb? Shoutbomb has been willing to create a service where people text a number, the service asks their permission to share, and the responses (either text or picture) get forwarded to my email. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten much (re: any) responses in the hundreds of Take-and-Make crafts I’ve distributed.