As Dave Barry once wrote, “Every now and then, some visionary individuals come along with a concept that is so original and so revolutionary that your immediate reaction is: ‘Those individuals should be on medication.’” Now, I have no knowledge regarding the mental or physical status of International Talk Like a Pirate Day’s founders, but I do know pirates* are a great way to inject some fun into your library programming.
Although I’m sure most of you, recognizing this, have been planning ahead for this major event all year, some of you may just be getting started. Here are a few pirate-related programs for inspiration:
- As part of Napa City-County Library’s summer reading program, “Make a Splash—Read,”
children’s librarian Ann Davis (also known as Captain Lucky Librarian) encouraged a crowd of about 30 children to talk like pirates. Three audience members also participated in a pirate-related skit, followed by craft time with kid-created pirate hats and eye patches. (Check out a video from the event.)
- The Bateman Library
offered extensive information on its pirate summer reading program, including details on planning, reading incentives, and cooperative programs. The final event was an outdoor pirate cove that included a (temporary) tattoo parlor, a pirate chest full of plunder (i.e., books and stickers), pin the patch on the pirate, a pegleg race, and a battle with water balloon cannonballs and water pistols as well as food and treats.
- Jackson District Library’s Carnegie branch held their own pirate event, with pirate books and movies, a scavenger hunt, crafts, a costume contest, and food as well as a pirate show with Pirate Sam Durocher.
- Willow Glen Library hosted a pirate treasure hunt! Children made their own pirate decoder rings and hunted for the treasure in the library by following clues.
- Sunset Library got deadly serious about pirates with “Murder Among the Mateys,” a murder mystery for teens (costumes encouraged).
- Pennsauken Free Public Library offered Picarillo Scientelling’s “Pirates: Curse of the Mutating Hand,” complete with spectacular special effects using science. “It’s the story of Hendricks the Hand, the most-feared pirate who was cursed with a mutating hand, which also gave him power. On his search to become more powerful and unstoppable, he must return to The Black Cave, where he was cursed. Famous pirate James Dauer, the hero who sets out to stop Hendricks, uses some science tricks to stop him.”
There are also a number of pirate resources online to help you out; I suggest starting at the International Talk Like a Pirate Day’s website. There you will find out now only how to talk like a pirate, but discover pirate fun and games, pirate performers, how to knit like a pirate, and a host of other links and ideas.
*With the probably unnecessary disclaimer, of course, that I’m referring to the caricature of a pirate, and not an actual pirate. Real pirates are not at all funny, and would probably not make good library guests.