When Scout Troops Come Knocking at the Library Door

Scout troops always present an interesting challenge when they contact us for a visit. The leaders are trying to have the kids complete a communications or reading or library or "?" badge - they often seem to be unclear on what they want/need.  The tours need to be scheduled in the late afternoon or evening when we tend to be either busiest or most lightly staffed. The kids are usually a little wild when they get together and the leaders a bit at a loss on how to reign in the natural exuberence of boys or girls not in school.

We have developed a tour that is fun and informative for the kids and inevitably helps them with their library visit. We usually start off gathering the kids for a very brief introduction to the library. At that time, if we can, we storytell either a funny or scary story for the kids to establish a rapport with them. It is always based on a kid's book so we can make the connection with them that the books in the library contain great stuff.

Since many of the kids on these visits have been to the library before on with their class or family, we usually next go to a "background" tour of the library. The outside bookdrop with hydraulic lift; Tech Services; our server room; back storage shelves; basement areas and elevator. While in Tech we chat a bit about the preparation that books need - cataloging into a collection; dewey numbers and barcodes.

Then we catalog the kids!  We ask them for a favorite subject or two, pick one and write a dewey number on a sticker and stick it on them. We also stick on a barcode. Then we head into the non-fiction and show the kids where we would shelve them. A wonderful result is that kids have already told us a favorite subject or interest so they head right back over to that area to find books they love and can relate to once the formal part of the tour is done.

We no longer sweat when the phone rings with a scout leader on the other end.  We got the goods!


  1. Hi Marge, We have Brownie packs visit, and although we're a few thousand miles away, it sounds as though we have the very same visitors, timing and boisterousness! I love the idea of bar-coding cataloguing the kids!

  2. We all share so many commonalities. That's why I love to hear from others what works - and doesn't - and am happy to share what I know!