Passive programming is a way to engage with your library patrons (or students, dorm residents, etc.) that is unscheduled, informal, and does not necessarily require interaction from staff.

In highly staffed libraries, it can be great for teens (who tend to be a bit standoffish when it comes to librarians) or for introverted patrons who love the library but would much rather be left alone. In smaller libraries, it's a fantastic way to create unique experiences at each library visit without having to overextend a small payroll.


It’s oh-so-easy to set up a small space with a book and a craft or activity to accompany it. You have the option of making it entirely self-contained with no staff interaction, or incorporating a reward if they share.

Check out these book pairings with some simple printables.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, others in series - Laura Numeroff

If you give a _______ a ______.

Make your own comic book adventure with a simple [printable].

Peanut Butter & Cupcake - Terry Border

Your favorite foods take a delicious adventure in a simple [printable].

Pirates in the Library - Nadia Ali

Draw your own treasure map to a hidden treasure.

Make your own geocache.

Chalk - Bill Thomson

Make an alternate ending -- what really happened?

Open-ended craft with large paper, colored pencils, crayons, etc.

Liam Takes a Stand - Troy Wilson

You’ve just been given a thousand dollars to create your own stand. What do you sell? What does your stand look like? Describe it and then draw it with this [printable].

The Princess and the Pony - Kate Beaton

You’re a proper prince or princess and the royal family has decided to give you the animal pet of your dreams. What kind of animal is it? What does it know how to do? Describe it and then draw it with this [printable].

Barnacle is Bored - Jonathan Fenske

Barnacle has been bored lately... It's time for a grand adventure.

Show it with this [printable.]

Barnum’s Bones - Tracey E. Fern

Create your own dinosaur using glue, noodles, and construction paper.