29th Annual Joint Youth Services Retreat!

August 31 & September 1

Swanson Center

Camp Carol Joy Holling (near Ashland)

Register Here!

The complete schedule for the retreat is as follows:

Thursday (August 31)

8:30 Sign-in

9:00-9:50  Fund Your Program with a Youth Grant for Excellence with Christa Porter

 Do you have an idea for a youth or teen program, but you lack the funds to make it happen? The Nebraska Library Commission’s Youth Grants for Excellence could be the answer! Christa Porter will provide an overview of the grant, including eligibility requirements and grant guidelines, the application process and grant review, timelines and deadlines. She will also share other youth and teen services grant opportunities that can make your programs and projects a success.

10:00-10:50  “Booktalk” Your Favorites (But Not Books).

We invite you to come to the retreat ready to share a favorite website, craft, resource, program, etc.  Usually we are able to allot about 5 minutes to each person who “booktalks,” depending on how many have something they would like to share.

11:00- 11:50 The Nebraska Golden Sower Award with Kelly Warehime and Aura Sewell.

This presentation will address the nature of the award, describe the award process, and provide updates.

12:00 Lunch

1:15-2:-05  Bring Your Creativity to Life…for Free. 

Central Plains Library System will show you how to find a plethora of free images, fonts and sublimation ideas to use in your makerspace for tween, teen and adult programming. Then Geneva Public Library will give us the downlow on how to use the Extension/UNL offices to your advantage when programming tween/teen food program activities as well as different games and activities they do for teen nights that won’t break the bank.  And finally, Ashland Public Library will help you harness the power of Canva to promote your library and your programs. Unlock Canva Pro for free as a non-profit.

2:15-3:05  Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive ways to Organize a Successful Teen Night with MaryJo Froid.

Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive ways to keep teens returning to your library again and again. Hopefully keeping your sanity all at the same time!

3:15-4:05 No Zombies Were Harmed in the Making of this Teen Event with Amanda Winkler and Chelsea Foust.

After Covid restrictions further beleaguered engagement with tweens and teens, we wanted to put on an event that would reach this demographic and strengthen the library’s relationship with the neighboring middle school. Enter zombie prom! We expected an attendance of around 50, but 120 teens showed up. Amanda and Chelsea will describe their highly successful experience and one of the retreat participants will get a Zombie makeup wound before our eyes.

4:10-5:50 Activity Possibilities:

Participate in a digital scavenger hunt at Ashland Public Library.

Get made up as a Zombie (limited to about 5 people)

Bring your favorite board game and rope some other librarians into playing it with you

Take a walk


6:00 Supper (For those staying overnight)

Friday’s Schedule (September 1)

For those staying overnight, please check out of your room before 9 am

8:00 Breakfast (for those who stayed overnight)

8:30 Sign-in (for Friday-only participants)

9:00-10:50 Taking STEM off the Shelf: Incorporating Informal STEM Learning Experiences into Library Programming with Dr. Ren Renke

Librarians will learn best practice for the seamless integration of STEM initiatives into their existing services. We’ll explore the value of STEM education, examine successful STEM library programs, discuss potential resources, and delve into the importance of inclusivity and accessibility

11:00-11:50   Creative Problem Solving with Group Brainstorming:

As part of your registration, you can submit one problem you struggle with at your library. At the retreat we will break into small groups and use submitted problems for small group brainstorming. Then the small groups would report back to the large group on possible solutions.

12:00: Lunch

1:15-2:45 Author Presentation and Discussion with Bidong Tot. 

Bidong recounts a portion of his childhood in the book A Boy in Akobo, South Sudan. He is working on an additional book about the 5 years he spent in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before immigrating to the United States. During his presentation, Bidong will read his book(s) and speak about his work, talk about his experiences, and answer questions. He will also be available for conversation and to sell and sign books (depending on his current supply) throughout the day on Friday.

2:45-3:15 Time to finish evaluations, last chance to buy books from, and talk to, Bidong.