Budget-Friendly Programming for High School Librarians

High school librarians have their work cut out for them when it comes to programming; they need to come up with creative and engaging ideas that will keep students interested and coming back for more, and when dealing with teenagers, they often have many other things to do on campus, such as sports, clubs, and so on. One of the biggest challenges that not only high school librarians, but all librarians face is budget constraints. However, there are many budget-friendly library ideas for creating fun and engaging programming for students.

DIY Bookmarks

Turn your high school library into a hub of creativity and literary exchange by hosting a teen DIY bookmark-making session. Provide a variety of craft supplies, from colorful paper to markers and stickers, so students can design and personalize their bookmarks. This hands-on activity will not only develop their artistic talents but will also foster a sense of ownership over their reading experience. To enhance the community spirit, combine this craft extravaganza with a book-swapping event. Encourage teens to bring in books they’ve enjoyed and trade them with their classmates, creating a dynamic platform for sharing literary discoveries. The combination of DIY bookmark-making and book swapping not only fosters a love of crafting but also cultivates a culture of reading and camaraderie among students, transforming the library into a vibrant center for artistic expression and literary exploration.

Genre Book Clubs

One simple idea is to start a genre-specific book club, such as an anime book club or a YA romance book club. This is a great way to get students excited about reading and encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas with others who share their tastes in books. This is a great way to get students talking and engaging with each other.

Podcasting Lunch and Learns

Spark a passion for storytelling and self-expression in high school teens by hosting engaging podcasting workshops at your library with a lunch-and-learn session that teaches them how to create their own podcast. Give them the skills to create, produce, and share their unique voices through the dynamic medium of podcasts. From book reviews to imaginative storytelling to discussions about issues they care about, these workshops provide a creative space for teens to explore the art of audio storytelling. The appeal of podcasting lies in its accessibility, and by guiding learners through the process, school librarians can provide a powerful way for them to articulate their thoughts and connect with a wider audience. Podcasting workshops not only increase technological literacy, but also provide an exciting platform for teens to express their perspectives, fostering a vibrant community within the high school library where every voice is valued and heard.

Game and Movie Nights

Another great idea is to host a game or movie night. This can be as simple as having a few board games available for students to play, or it can be more elaborate with organized tournaments and prizes. Game nights are a great way to build community and encourage students to socialize in a fun and relaxed environment. One budget-friendly idea is to host a movie night. This can be as simple as showing a movie on a projector and providing popcorn and snacks, or it can be more elaborate with themed decorations and costumes, such as a Harry Potter movie night. Movie nights are a great way to bring students together and create a fun and memorable experience.

High school librarians can create engaging and fun programs on a budget. Whether it’s starting a book club, hosting a game night, or hosting a movie night, there are many ideas that can help librarians create a welcoming and engaging environment for their students that will keep teens coming back for more.


Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .

Categories: Makerspaces/Learning Commons, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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1 reply

  1. Yay for high school Romance Book Clubs!!!

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