I find it wonderfully fulfilling to have a conversation with a bored young person who wants to hang out for a little while. Not everyone feels the same way, and some even feel at a loss for words when met with one who claims boredom when surrounded by all the awesome things typically found in a library.
This had already been on my mind for a while when I found a cute little wooden box, hardly bigger than a pencil-case, cast aside in a give and take area at a library conference. Shortly before visiting the give and take space, I had attended a talk on youth programming. With bored kids on my mind and a little wooden box in my hand I had an epiphany.
Handing over a box of something is often just the thing to piqué curiosity in bored people (and cats). What’s more, the things inside of the box would encourage staff at the desk to interact with these patrons on a personal level. I took that little box slapped a picture on it and filled it with stuff that my own kids were no longer using. Thus the Boredom Buster was born!
The next time I met a very bored young person who was seemingly disgusted with the concept of being trapped in the library while his dad used the computer, I was able to respond to it with some self paced pop-up programming! I told him I was trying something new and handed him a menu.
He chose Punxutawney Jedi off of the menu
Punxutawney Jedi includes: Tiny UNO, finger skateboard, tiny boggle, a little truck, a purple dragon, tic-tac-toe and a golf tee game called insanity.
He opened it up and I told him how the golf tee game worked. He took it to a table in the back and was seemingly less bored. SUCCESS!
After the original Boredom Buster I added two others.
Not only does each include stuff to do alone or with a friend, but they include suggestions for other things that can be done with library resources.
In addition to the kits, Boredom Busters has expanded to contain some randomly donated word searches, a box of crayons, drawing paper, Sudoku books, trivia cards, brainteasers and tangrams. All this no-cost self paced programming option required was a few found boxes, random trinkets and a drawer at the Info desk to keep it in!
What can you do to bust some boredom today?
For more ideas and library fun follow Bobbi deMontigny on twitter @BdeMontigny