For the past few years, the Youth Services team at MPL has been reimagining how we do summer reading, choosing to focus on creating lasting experiences, rather giving away one time prizes.
With that goal in mind, one reward for reading this summer was participation in Rock the Library! Where kids and their families could create their very own music videos complete with props, costumes, and green screen technology.
With the help from our team of youth services librarians, interns Jessi, Liz, and Kai, and Digital Media instructor Nate, kids prepared, recorded, and edited their own videos. When editing was complete, we rendered the videos and put them on to MPL thumb drives to take home and share.
The best part of the process was watching kids open up. Many of them were shy or uncertain when they first arrived. In fact, we were initially worried that making a video might be too out going for many kids.
But the big open spaces and loose format of the program allowed kids to build courage as they watched their friends or siblings go before them. Many of them often made "cameos" popping up in other friends' videos as they built up the nerve to make their own.
The wide variety of songs, props, and backgrounds also helped kids more eagerly engage. Not to mention
the many older siblings and parents who burst into silly dance moves or renditions of Raffi’s Baby Beluga as a way to encourage their kids to let loose.
We received many positive comments and thanks from parents and from kids. Our biggest indicator of delight was how many kids wanted to make ANOTHER video when then finished their first.
How do we measure success?
Creating Engagement Points
We succeeded in creating many opportunities in the program for kids to engage in learning. Starting with choosing their song and deciding on a background that fit the mood or setting. From here, they often chose purposeful props and prepared dance moves
or choreography with friends and siblings to better tell their story. Many kids even engaged before they arrived, bringing their own costumes and instruments with them.
Many were also keenly interested in the process of recording, editing, and saving their videos, often staying behind to watch others create and offering to help out our interns on other children's videos. There was a lot of "testing" of the green screen - waving hands, hoping in and out of the frame, and being amazed at how the mechanics worked.
Appealing to Many Ages
Last year, we received feedback that our summer reading celebration (Amulet creation parties) skewed towards younger audiences, while our summer reading program was designed for all ages.
This year, we wanted a program that would appeal to all ages. Rock the Library was very successful in creating worthwhile and fun experiences for kids 0-13. Through a wide variety of songs and props, kids were able to engage enthusiastically on their level.
Collaboration for Rock the Library happened both before and during the program. First, we asked kids and parents to recommend song choices to us online. While we only had 30 or so responses, we saw many of these families follow through with the program. One mom told us making the video was "all her son had talked about" for a week after they requested I was born by Hanson.
We also saw collaboration in videos through dance or play acting. The group on the right from Goodman Center is scene here planning their dance number to to Cardi B's I like It complete with coordinate pop and drops.