NPL's Youth Services

Most Memorable Moments in Youth Services
Posted on 12/10/2022
Rachael Ritter

Let's celebrate the year gone by with a look at Neill Public Library's Youth Service Department's most memorable moments and a look ahead at what is in store. Here are some of our most popular programs and youth services improvements for 2022. 


In January 2022, it was still being determined whether in-person Summer Reading would occur. In March, the decision was made to move forward with in-person programming, and through a whirlwind of planning and grit, we made the Summer Reading Program possible. Over 60 programs and activities were planned during Summer Reading, including bringing performers such as the Reptile Man, Magician Jeff Evans, and musician Eric Herman to the library. Over 300 popsicles were given out on our patio, a sailboat docked at the library as part of our Summer Reading kick-off, stories were read, crafts were made, and music was danced to - we even turned the library into a virtual reality gaming center for the day. We had the opportunity to collaborate with wonderful local agencies; Palouse Conservation District helped clean our streams, Palouse Discovery Science Center put on a Bubble Party, and Studio 509 made exciting Grab & Go Art Activities. We were also lucky to have Storytime guest readers, including Mayor Glen Johnson, Pullman City Council Members, Pullman Police Officers, Pullman Firefighters, and Pullman Maintenance and Operations staff. We had a wonderful summer of reading and connecting!


In-person programming came roaring back for youth of all ages. On average, four preschool-aged storytimes were held weekly, culminating in 170 storytimes with over 2,500 youth in attendance. Onsite programs for our older youth were also extremely popular; between teen-only and elementary-aged programs (including monthly D&D campaigns and Make & Take programs), we had 32 programs and over 630 in attendance.  


Providing variety and flexibility in programming was also a high priority for youth services. Passive programs created during 2020-2021 continued with over 5,500 Grab & Go Activity Bags distributed, numerous StoryWalk along the library path, and hundreds of books hidden during our Book Scavenger Hunt. Online Reading Challenges on diversity and inclusion were created through Beanstack. In total, six online reading challenges were held in 2022, and our readers logged over four thousand hours of reading!  


Outreach began again this year, with over 60 outreach programs and classrooms visited, reaching over 2,500 youth. The youth services department visited local elementary and preschool classrooms and participated in local events such as the Palouse Alliance Family Fair, SEL's Family STEAM Nights, Lentil Festival Parade, League of Women Voter's Art Contest, and recently Pullman's Holiday Festival. 


This year the Youth Services department prioritized rebuilding social connections within our community by increasing programming for all ages and improving the youth services library spaces that encouraged socializing. Funding provided by Friends of NPL provided much-needed seating in the youth picture book area. 2022 was also known for impressive library displays! Memorable displays included: 

  • Our 100 reasons we love NPL to commemorate NPL's 100th anniversary
  • Intricate butterflies and flowers for our spring display
  • Interactive Banned Book display
  • Rainbow self-care breathing practice


As we prepare to close the book on 2022, we are simultaneously excited to start the adventure of a new year! Looking ahead to 2023, we aim to increase our programming for older youth, improve our teen space, and continue to build community collaborations. We at NPL wish you a happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Rachael Ritter
Youth Services Librarian