We have had great success with cosplay workshops. The teens have made ears, tails, claws and even come dressed to the meetings. Anime conventions are huge around here, so I attend them for programming ideas.
Another successful program has been our Anime Cafe. I have done this program several times now and we are always 'sold out.'
One little tid-bit about me. I lived in Japan for four years. Because of that, I have a comfort level with presenting on the topic of Japan and Japanese Culture, along with my friend Etsuko who is Japanese. I met Etsuko in Japan and as fate would have it, she is now in Ohio in the same town as I am!
Each session goes like this: We prepare a menu based on the season. There are several dishes laid out buffet style, where the kids can sample the different foods. They are asked to try everything and know that some things might not be their taste. This isn't really dinner for them - it is more like a sampling event.
Then Etsuko and I show the teens how to make one specific dish. This time we made gyoza, which is really based on a Chinese pan fried dumpling. It is a ground meat, usually pork, mixed with vegetables and seasonings.
We taught the kids how to fill and seal the dumplings, and then fried them in the pan. It is fun for them to give it a try.
**On an allergy note, we work out our menu and have a list of ingredients on hand for registrations. We do not force anyone to eat anything, but we encourage kids to look over the menu before they register.
This library will be carrying on the tradition of Anime Cafe now that I have moved branches. Other libraries have talked to my friend about presenting to teens and adults. Any program with food is going to be a hit, but you would be amazed how many kids are quite fascinated by different cultures and want that hands on experience. I encourage you to learn a little about a culture, or visit your local cultural group, and ask them to do a little presentation at the library. I bet everyone would just love it!
Thanks for stopping by!