Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Elephant & Piggie's EXCELLENT Summer Vacation

Since starting my new job, one of the things I'm most proud of is "Elephant & Piggie's EXCELLENT Summer Vacation," a program I managed to get implemented system-wide.

It started with these guys:

Last year I got a second set for Christmas and, as much as I love E&P,  even I don't need two sets.

This was around the time that that article about the library that was lending out an American Girl doll was going around, and I thought, "What if we had Elephant and Piggie for kids to check out?"

I was really invested in this idea for several reasons:
  • The program, while fun, would be tied to books and reading rather than something commercial. E&P don't have a TV show, but they are hugely popular and recognizable BECAUSE OF BOOKS. Hello circ boost.
  • The program encouraged families to interact together outside the library--playing, writing, talking, reading, (and yes, even singing!)--and gave them a concrete framework to accomplish those goals while having a LOT OF FUN.
  • Beyond initial set-up, the program was basically no work--and you know how I love THAT sort of thing. Stealth programs FTW!
E&P were available for checkout for a about a week at a time (not cataloged). A parent had to be there for checkout (since we did have a replacement fee involved). E&P traveled in a blue drawstring backpack, and came with a special scrapbook that explained the program and had lots of prompts for writing, drawing, and sharing pictures.

The results were impressive. E&P went on first plane rides, and visited California and Niagara Falls. They participated in all sorts of real-life summer fun like family reunions, trips to the cabin, plays, picnics and restaurants (think of all those real-life conversations started by E&P). They met a former MN state Senator in the Skyway, and went swimming A LOT. They read bedtime stories, had dance parties, and played dress-up.

Ziplock baggie: #LOLForever

This program completely surpassed my hope for it in terms of at-home learning and PLAY. The level of 'buy-in' from patrons was truly amazing.

Some of my favorite submissions:

"We ate some tasty seaweeed!"
"We read books and snuggled"
"When we got homesick, we visited the Little Free Library"
"Piggie slept in a special place (hand-drawn picture of an exersaucer)."
"Grampa and I read a book to them. It was about them! I read the pink words and Grampa read the grey words"


  1. The Ziplock baggie!! HAHA. Also Anna Kendrick GIF?! YESSSSSSSs

  2. So, I'm dying to know. Are Elephant and Piggie machine washable?

  3. I'm in LOVE with this idea! What kind of scrapbook did you use?

  4. Fortunately, we didn't have to put any of the ten sets into the washer to find out!

    Librerin, we just used three ring binders and page protectors to create the scrapbook

  5. Brilliant! Congrats on a great idea and success. Many thanks for sharing. I love our job!

  6. LOVE this idea! What a great program!!


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