Shared Story Provocation: Bookmaking & Kids’ Library

bookmaking station and kids' library

The Bookmaking Station and Kids’ Library are two new provocations I have created that have become a popular fixture for kids of all ages (as well as adults). This idea stemmed from my daughter’s sudden interest in creating her own books. This is one of her earlier creations that is “for kids at the library, but they have to bring it back”:

After watching the process she goes through in making her own books several times and 6 weeks into conducting the The Picture Show, I thought it might be an interesting experiment to create a space where the sole purpose is creating stories that become permeant fixtures in the library. I started collecting items I found around the library that I thought the kids would enjoy using for their bookmaking. The local history department donated all kinds of old library equipment: due date cards, card catalogue cards, envelopes, lots of stamps, a book-mending stapler, and a stamp pad. I found an old paper file and a lot of odds and ends around my own department and set up shop in the kids’ room.

bookmaking station for kids

bookmaking station

Kids' LIbrary

  The idea behind the Kids’ Library is that it would be a place to share the books made with other library patrons. It’s a non-circulating (books cannot be checked out) library entirely of books created by patrons. So far, 100% of the books have been created in-house. The images are of the library when it first opened and boy, oh boy, has the collection grown!

patrons utilizing bookmaking station   bookmaking for kids


Like The Picture Show, the Bookmaking provocation has become a place for self expression and community storytelling. Kids too young to write their stories down in text draw illustrations to depict their tale, or dictate their stories to caregivers. Those old enough to write leave story after story in books that sometimes are all text and sometimes text paired with illustrations. They thumb through other handmade books in the Kids’ Library, curious of the stories held there. The concept of shared story, whether it be physical or oral, is innate and goes back in time to the earliest social interactions. What is your story? How do we learn for one another? How do we grow from one another?

Bookmaking station

book by child

the famalie

the lucky dog book

bookmaking station and kids' library provocation

The bookmaking station has reminded me a great deal of Lois Ehlert’s picture book autobiography, Scraps. She describes a time during her childhood when she had a space to grow creatively:

scraps by lois elhert

It doesn’t take much, but we all need space to grow. It is my hope that this little wooden table in the library’s children’s room serves as a safe space for their dreams and creative exploration for all who visit it.


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