One piece of advice that I’ve often heard given to new librarians is, “Never host an egg hunt in the library.”
As luck would have it, at my current branch, I inherited an annual Spring Party (including an egg hunt) from my predecessor. Each year, she would invite families with small children to come into the branch where she’d hide plastic eggs ALL over the library. The families and kids would ransack the place, overturning books everywhere to get to the eggs, but nevertheless, a good time was had by all.
Well. I must say, I wasn’t enthused about handling the clean-up after an event like this, so I set my brain to work on how to incorporate a really fun party with a minimum of havoc.
In general, I tell some of my favorite Easter/Spring/St. Patrick’s Day stories at the event. I do that for about 20 minutes. Then, storytime “ends” and I roll out some crafts. We do that for about 20-30 minutes. Finally, we do an “egg hunt” in the library.
My compromise was daringly inventive, if I do say so myself. Using my background in theatre I came up with a few ideas to make our egg hunt more workable. All egg hunts must take place within the confines of the community room. Those participating must move as silently as a bunny, with an exaggerated slow tip-toe motion. This was huge success. The kids loved it. The parents loved it. The clerks at the library loved it. Fantastic. Friends, you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed a group of madly, silently tiptoeing grade school children, eagerly scooping up armfuls of eggs.
This year I was able to book a very (very!) last minute performer, an Irish dancer, who came in, was low-key and charming, gave a few informative talks about Irish dance and a few demos. She also brought a wonderful, sequined Irish dance dress, which of course, the kids totally loved.
In addition, I put up a huge display of St. Patrick’s Day/Irish themed books, Easter, Passover and Now Rouz books, which all checked out, I also (in a fit of desperation) included additional books on flowers, springtime and even potatoes. They all checked out. I think we can call this year's Spring party a total success!