A Very Special Teen Spa Party…in the Library!

Spa parties are one of the things that are almost universally loved. They are a great way to relax and socialize at the same time. With my local teens just finishing some grueling final exams and Valentine’s Day around the corner, I decided to have a unique version of a teen spa party as my February pop-up program.

Thus, Teen Spa-Tacular was born!


Instead of a general spa party where we did some basic stretching and tried out various products, I wanted my teens to take ownership of their products. We made our own sugar scrub and bath bombs! It was amazingly easy and very cheap. I even created a Pinterest board with all the recipes we used and several that we didn’t have the opportunity to try (check it out here). All my teens were encouraged to mix and match the sugar, oil, and scents for their sugar scrubs–along with trying out different scents and color combinations for a unique bath bomb. The coffee sugar scrub was the clear favorite though.



I used the sugar scrub jars as a branding opportunity so that the teens would remember where they made the scrub and that the library could be awesome! Then, to keep the bath bombs as simple and cheap as possible, I used plastic Easter eggs rather than buying bath bomb molds. Since the bombs needed to dry for 12-24 hours, the teens simply took home the egg to open when they were ready.

Once we were through making all our amazing spa products, we went through some simple stretches and my favorite guided meditation for relaxation. Having trouble sleeping since I was in middle school actually led to something good that I was able to share!


After we were relaxed and calm, it was time for the manicures. This was the perfect place for some library material placement. While I love book promotion as much as any other librarian, I definitely don’t believe in shoving it in every single program–especially for teen programs and especially when not every program needs book integration. However, manicures and a bucket of various nail polish colors (courtesy of one of my besties) meant that I could pull out all of our nail design books! ALL of the books I put out were used to at least find ideas and a select few were popular for figuring out techniques.


To make things even more cool, I encouraged the teens to make “book manicures.” These are essentially manicures made to match select books (whether in book themes, characters, or even simply matching the color and design of the cover). I got the idea from Nite Lite Book Reviews and her Manicure Mondays. Take a look at her amazing work for more ideas here!

zodiac book manicure

Overall, it was a great and fun-filled evening with 7 stunning teens. While you might expect all girls, you would be wrong! There was one boy–a regular of mine who just celebrated his 13th birthday and is obsessed with bath bombs. Keeping the raw materials to a minimum was mostly a money saving measure, but it actually helped the program itself by turning the creation of spa products and manicures into a communal activity. Everyone was sharing materials and helping paint their elusive dominant hand.

However, my favorite part of the evening was with a grade 10 girl who had never been to one of my programs before Spa-Tacular. Before leaving she came up to be and said, “I thought I would regret coming to this, but I regret NOTHING!”

Definitely a great warm and fuzzy moment, and I can’t wait to do this program again. I’ve even had many adults begging me to set one up for them too!


Valentine’s Day Is for Zombies

If you are familiar with my blog at all, you know I have a slight obsession with the undead. Zombies just totally float my boat.

Which is why I’m so EXCITED about this February! Rather than shoving ooey gooey romance down our throats, oddballs like myself and my husband get to choose something different–zombies!

The movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes out this Friday February 5th. Then, The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday February 14th. Honestly, can you think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to see if that idiot kid calling for his mom gets the group ripped to shreds? I certainly can’t.


This resurgence of zombie power in February has led me to pull out the YA zombie program that I did at my primary library branch this past Halloween.

Let’s start by saying it was pretty killer–HA! Couldn’t help myself.

This particular library branch has had a great problem with getting teens to it, despite the fact that one of the local high schools is just half a mile away (barely 15 minutes walking). One of the issues is that the branch doesn’t really do teen programming–this program was in October while the only other one that year was in April. Also, the branch is very popular with seniors due to several retirement homes in the area and a seniors rec center just two doors down the street. Teens tend to consider it the “old people library.”


zombie tshirtsPicking a very high-interest program (zombies) and making it as interactive and different as possible, I created Teen Zombie Night. One really different arrangement was in the promotion itself. I was able to get a promo set-up a few days before the event at the high school library and recruited one of the students to wear a “zombie-fied” t-shirt while I wore one myself.

tzn8Talking to the teens and making the program seem like a grand endeavor really helped.
The actual night of the program as had 12 living breathing teenagers (ranging from grade 9 to grade 12, including FIVE impossible-to-get teen boys). By comparison, the last program had only 4 (only one teen boy brought by his girlfriend).


zombie maskThe set-up was relatively simple. We performed a scavenger hunt of sorts, similar to the Jurassic World Scavenger Hunt, but on a much smaller scale. Rather than a dinosaur, teens had to complete the scavenger hunt while not having their flag taken by their not-so-friendly neighborhood zombie librarian. The winning team won Tim Horton’s gift cards for each team member.


There was also an obstacle course with the person who completed everything in the fastest time got a gift card for Tim Horton’s. Several of the challenges were physical (literally jumping through hoops) while others were “survival” in nature (create then fire a pom-pom launcher at a zombie target).

Our last activity was a zombie makeup tutorial where I performed two styles of zombie makeup on two volunteers. The teens could then choose to do zombie skin or the shadowed ghoul. The zombie skin was WAY more popular with only one girl doing shadowed contours on her face to look ghoulish.


We finished with zombie food (rice treat brains, blood splatter sugar cookies, and relabeled soda like “spinal fluid” for Sprite) and watching YouTube videos about The Walking Dead.

Overall, would I do it again? In a friggin heartbeat. It was an amazing night and really helped to earn the respect of the teens–showing them that the “old people library” could offer plenty of fun programs just for them.