We talked about circulating kits at the latest IFLS Youth Services Check-In.  Here are some things we covered:

STEM KITS, which include resources for experiments and exploring science and technology concepts and sometimes books and binders with additional cool stuff.  Some of these are purchased ready-made from companies like Learning Resources, and some are created in-house.  In St. Croix Falls, Laura created a River Science kit in conjunction with the St. Croix River Association.  Experience Kits:  Snowshoes, cake pans, bird-watching, sports.  Gaming Kits:  Samma talked about Cadott’s Role Player Gaming Kits (RPG kits, think Dungeons and Dragons) and Trading Card Game Kits (TCGs) for people to learn to play games like Yugio or Magic, the Gathering.  Rice Lake circulates board games.  Crafting kits:  Needle felting, embroidery, How to Draw (with a drawing pad that people are invited to add their drawings to) and more.  Social Emotional:  Grief and bereavement (with books and exercises), social-emotional learning kits for young kids.  Early Literacy: St. Croix Falls and Ellsworth talked about backpacks or bins with books, activity ideas, dress-up materials, and more.

We talked a bit about CIRCULATION of kits, and here are some common themes:

  • Yes, there are a lot of pieces.  Here are some tips:
    • A photo and good description of what is in each kit helps
    • Folks can set them aside to check in during a less busy time
    • Have replacements on hand for commonly misplaced items (marbles for the marble run, for instance)
  • Many kits circulate to other MORE libraries.  Many do not.  This may be a source for some confusion—more to come, possibly, about some solutions.

We talked a bit about PROMOTION of kits, and here are some fun thoughts:

  • Hudson has a Look-Book at the circulation desk with photos of the kits for people to peruse
  • There are some awfully cute backpacks out there that make the kits more inviting
  • St. Croix Falls moved things around so the kits are right by the circulation desk (in the “impulse buy” area)
  • Rice Lake creates TikTok videos about their kits and posts them on Facebook (oops, just spent a few minutes going down a RLPL TikTok rabbit hole!)
  • Reb (from IFLS) is thinking about more ways to promote.

We also talked a bit about the ways folks implement 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.  Please let me know if you’d like to discuss this or get connected to other libraries who are happy with the way their program is going.  And next time we meet (April 7 at 2 pm), we’ll be talking about all different ways to support families with early literacy and child development!