This year’s Public Library Association national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, will focus on celebrating innovative learning opportunities and finding ways to make public libraries inclusive, safe spaces for everyone.
This vital work is also important to us here at StickTogether®, and it’s one of the reasons librarians and teachers have been some of our most enthusiastic fans since innovator Sylvia Stein first introduced the mosaic puzzle poster in 2015. These educators have found ingenious ways to integrate the colorful art puzzles into programs for all ages and abilities.
Here are five ways that the “Paint by Pixels” concept of StickTogether kits can bring people together in your library spaces:
1. Device-Free Collaboration: Instead of headsets, screens, and video games that can pit people against one another for short-term victory, StickTogether mosaic sticker murals encourage teamwork, collaboration, and a sense of anticipation over the long-term.
Each kit comes with a coded poster grid, a color key, and ~4,000 small, colorful stickers. Students and library patrons add their imaginations and become curious, wondering what image the tiny colored pixels will form.
Instead of impersonal connections, people form real bonds as they place stickers on the grid. They can also connect with other StickTogether fans on social media.
2. No Barriers: An Inclusive activity: Whether the creator is age 5 or 105, the colorful collaboration concept is one in which nearly everyone can participate. The average “stickerer” can apply 10-12 stickers per minute – but this isn’t a race.
In fact, the beauty of StickTogether is that patrons of any age, skill, or ability can participate. The activity levels the playing field so that everyone can relax and create something beautiful together. Gone are the pressures of competition and popularity.
Whether it’s five generations in a public library or multiple grades or levels in a school library, StickTogether is appropriate and enjoyable for everyone involved.
3. Rewarding reading and boosting attendance: Many libraries have reported using stickers for the murals as incentives for reading – or even for returning books on time.
One librarian from Grayslake, Illinois, said having the puzzle murals in the library significantly increased patronage and interaction with the staff.
“My favorite moments came when a student would come and use it as a ‘cool down,’” the librarian told us. “Often, they would be joined by a staff member with a few minutes to spare. This encouraged conversation and staff getting to know students they might not normally interact with.”
4. Promoting literacy: The popularity of the kits has led us to create more every year. In addition to themes that highlight holidays and animals, the “Let’s Read!” large-format kit is specifically targeted to library groups, with a goal to get kids excited about reading. The 60’’ x 36’’ poster grid comes with 7,040 stickers (as do all of the Large Format kits). Bringing the community or school together to celebrate “Library Love” will reveal students immersed in the joy of reading.
Many libraries have had success with this project as a community event, where guests place stickers a few at a time. You can also accelerate the process as a one-time event to watch it come to life more quickly. A focused, determined group can complete a large image like this in around three to four hours if they’re working continuously.
Standard Size kits (40’’ x 36’’) come with 3,996 stickers, but have just as much fun built into their design, and they can be completed a little sooner.
5. Love of the arts and science: Other favorite puzzles for library professionals are those from our Creativity Collection that inspire young artists to paint and the Masterpiece Collection – featuring the works of Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Munch, and Vermeer.
As pixels multiply to reveal these famous paintings, teachers and librarians can use them in their lessons to explain Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math concepts (STEAM) that will be crucial in future years.
As you exchange ideas during this month’s conference Feb. 25-29, the Public Library Association says you’ll enjoy “Nashville’s rich tapestry of people, voices, tastes, sounds, thoughts, and sights.”
What better way to bring some of that diversity and creativity home than with this hands-on, accessible project that has been lauded by librarians, educators, special needs and mental health professionals?
Our best endorsement are the customers who keep coming back for more fun.
We hope to see you at the conference. You can find us at Booth #126. Use the hashtag #WeStickTogetherTN while you’re there for a little extra fun!
Ready to get sticking now? Order here.
Or feel free to contact us with any questions.