5 Ways to Make the Most of Winter Break at Your Library

Dec 20, 2018 | Articles

With winter right around the corner, parents will be looking for ways to keep restless kids busy, educated, and entertained over the school break. This provides a great opportunity to bring families into your library by offering festive and fun programming for community members of all ages. From board game events to healthy new year’s resolutions, we’ve compiled a list of holiday programming ideas to get you thinking about how your library can draw patrons in and keep them coming through the new year.

Promote Inclusivity with Community-Driven Events

Winter is a great opportunity to explore how the many different cultures in your library celebrate a new season, so consider hosting community-driven events as one way to extend your reach this season. Community-led librarianship will help ensure your library is offering programming that the community wants and needs. Consider holding guest storytimes featuring winter-based folktales or stories from around the world, or host a guest educational series where patrons can learn about the various winter holidays celebrated within your own community. This provides an excellent opportunity to network with community leaders and invite them to your library to share their culture with the community at large.

Host Winter-Themed Gatherings for All Ages

Colder weather outside brings parents and children of all ages inside, so be sure to host engaging activities that have something for younger and older patrons alike. You might be able to rebrand events you’ve held in the past by infusing them with a winter theme. For instance, consider having a winter-themed bingo event.

To keep your youngest patrons in the reading spirit, a stuffed animal sleepover might be in order. Invite kids and their favorite stuffed animal to a storytime, after which the kids leave their pals behind for a “sleepover.” The next day, when the kids return to pick up their stuffed friends, they’ll be amazed to see the photos your staff took of the animals reading and getting into mischief around the children’s section of the library!

Spread Cheer with Food Drives and Fundraisers

Encourage community engagement throughout the winter season by hosting a book, clothing, or nonperishable food drive in your library. Feel free to get creative with this idea, like the Huntington City-Township Public Library in Indiana did. They invited local businesses to create structures made entirely from donated food items and then had patrons vote on which structure they liked best. After the contest, all the food was donated to a local charity.

Keep Patrons Engaged with Arts and Crafts

Bring in do-it-yourselfers of all ages by offering craft activities that the whole family can engage in. Set up stations for making paper snowflakes, building homemade snow globes, or creating seasonal decorations. Older patrons might enjoy crafting handmade gifts, such as cloth bookmarks, candles, soaps, bath bombs, or sugar scrubs. Sweeten the pot with treat-based events, like sessions for making recipe-in-a-jar kits (for cookies, soup, or cocoa) or cookie and recipe exchanges.

Promote Well-Being with Healthy Living Programming

Encourage healthy living within your community this winter by hosting a variety of health-based programming events. Host programs that focus on healthy cooking and eating, or feature programming that covers how to stay in shape during the colder winter months. Along with healthy bodies, find ways to promote healthy minds, such as introducing community members to BrainHQ, which features online brain training exercises that can help them think faster, focus more, and enjoy life.

The holidays can also be a stressful time for many, so consider hosting mental health and stress relief programming, such as inviting patrons to create memory boxes for loved ones who are no longer with them or hosting a yoga event at the library. Consider the unique needs of your community, and take the opportunity to network with local organizations that are supporting your community’s health needs.

As patrons make new year’s resolutions and goals, health-based programming can bolster community engagement well into the new year and beyond. Ready to help your community have a happy and healthy winter? Download our free guide, Create Health Programming that Makes a Difference, for a step-by-step walkthrough of how your library can launch an impactful community health programming series.

Kayla Fargo

As Demco Software's Marketing Director, Kayla champions our efforts to educate public libraries on the need for a robust community engagement strategy. She works alongside our other teams to ensure that Demco Software's solutions effectively complement and amplify libraries' community engagement efforts.