Monday, January 5, 2015

Hi & Noon Year's Eve Party

Happy New Year! Or, in the case of this blog post, Happy Noon Year! It's 2015 and it's about time I started a librarian blog. I'll introduce myself quickly first, then get on with the Noon Year's Eve stuff.

First, my name is Laura. I have been a children's librarian at the Huntington Public Library in New York since April 2008. I got my MLS from Long Island University, where I specialized in all things children's and all things public libraries. I live in a fairly new house about 45 minutes from my job with my husband (Elliott) and my cat (Benjamin). I also work one night a week at the Hauppauge Public Library. At work, I focus most of my time on the children who are five-years-old and younger, although, having gotten the opportunity to watch some of the little ones grow up over the years, I really enjoy doing an occasional school-age program as well...which brings me to Noon Year's Eve!

My Noon Year's Eve Party was, to throw all modesty aside for a second, a roaring success. It was just perfect-- really-- it just worked out great on the first try! The room was set up with a few key elements, the most important of those being (a) the balloon drop (specifically this one, $10-ish) and (b) a countdown to noon projected on the wall to build anticipation (made with, no fills necessary). I also had a backdrop (this one from Oriental Trading) hanging on the wall so I could photograph the kids against it. The parents wound up posing against it too when they came in to pick up their children, which was fun! Here's a picture of the room set up:

When the kids came in the room, after getting over the initial joy and anticipation of seeing the balloon drop hanging from the ceiling, they started by coloring "2015" crowns (which I had pre-cut for them).

I had also created a two-sided worksheet which I called a "time capsule." On one side of the sheet it asked kids to list their favorite things (favorite color, favorite book, favorite movie, etc.) and on the other side it asked them to draw a self-portrait. When they were finished with it, I had them fold it up small and put it in a bag. Then they sealed it up with a sticker (which were just printed on blank labels) that said "Do Not Open Until January 2016."

This all happened from 11:30am to noon. The more meticulous kids didn't finish everything by the time I dropped the balloons but I told them they could finish up after that. Then... the count down! At 11:59, the whole room got very excited. Without any instruction from me, the kids made their way over the to the balloon drop, placing themselves strategically as close to directly under it as they could. Then we counted down from 10-seconds. I was super grateful for the clerk in the room and the one mom who decided to stay with her kids, because ripping the bag open and fishing all the balloons out was wayyyy easier with a few extra sets of hands-- especially because I was afraid to pull the string too hard and rip the whole bag down completely. The kids loved it. The bag's a little glitchy (although for $10, can you expect much more?) but with extra help in the room, it was totally fine. The kids didn't care one bit. They were so so so excited about the balloons, grabbing for them as they fell to the ground, like they were pieces of candy falling from a piƱata. It was awesome.

Then I served the snacks (fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, water bottles, and sparkling cider served in plastic champagne glasses!) and the party wrapped up with the kids snacking and finishing their time capsules. As the parents came in the room to pick up their children, some of them posed against the backdrop together, which was really fun actually. I wound up offering family photos around as the adults all came in.

A few minor things to note:

1. I forgot to hand out the instruments. I wanted there to be noisemakers and I thought I'd save a few bucks and just use the instruments that I use with the little ones in storytime. But in the heat of everything, I just completely forgot to pass them out. It didn't matter though, really. I don't think they were missed. I might even skip taking them out next year just to keep it easy.

2. I didn't know how to line up the music with the timing right. In my head, I wanted "Auld Lang Syne" to start playing when the balloons dropped but I couldn't figure out how to get the timing right. And therefor, it wasn't. But again, it didn't matter. It played a minute later as I was passing out the snacks and I don't think anyone knew it.

Anyway, they're not all this perfect. But it's nice to open this blog up with a post almost entirely made up of successes. Until next time! Happy New Year, Happy New Blog!

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