Library Programs · Maker Programs

Peep-A-Palooza!

Peep-a-palooza displayMy library just finished our first Peep-A-Palooza Peeps diorama contest and, ohmygosh, it was so much fun! It was such a hit that it will probably become an annual program. The basic premise was that patrons could make a diorama, using Peeps marshmallow candies, on any theme they dreamt up. And the themes were quite varied, from Peeps at a dance club (1st place winner) to Peeps taking selfies (2nd place) to a scene from Frozen (3rd place). You can see photos of all the entries here.

Here’s how we ran the contest:

  • For a one-month period, which included spring break, patrons could pick up a package of Peeps at the library. Guidelines and the dates to bring the dioramas in were attached.
  • There was a one-week period in which patrons could turn in their entries. (We had 31 entries.)
  • The contest was open to all ages, and we did end up with entries from kids, teens, adults and family groups.
  • After all the entries were in, patrons voted for their favorite. We had 785 votes in a ten-day period. (785!!! In ten days!!!)
  • We tallied the votes and awarded prizes (gift cards to Barnes and Noble) to the top three finishers.
  • The dioramas will remain on display for another week or so, since patrons enjoy looking at them.
Dont Make a Peep at the Library
“Don’t Make a Peep at the Library,” done by a librarian on staff and her daughter.

We didn’t give any theme or size guidelines. I might rethink the size thing next year, because we ended up with one that was on an entire piece of foam board. It was awesome, but if we’d had more that size I have no idea where we would have displayed them. Room was already tight with just 31 entries.

Lake Zurich Fire Department
“Lake Zurich Fire Department,” done by one of our regular preschool-aged patrons.

So what’s amazing about this is that it required very little work from Michelle and me (we collaborated on this), but it garnered so much enthusiasm. The dioramas are on display in a prime spot by our front door and are very eye-catching, so they’ve gotten a lot of attention. Patrons (of all ages) are just fascinated by them and I’ve seen a lot of people taking photos. And every single diorama got at least a handful of votes, so people really seemed to enjoy them all.

Space Adventure
“Space Adventure”

We chose to purchase Peeps to give out, as well as prizes for the winners, but you could definitely do this for no money. You don’t even need to run it as a contest—it could just be a display. As a program, it’s a huge return on a small investment. If you’re looking for an easy, cheap program, look no further!

"Unicorn Kingdom"
“Unicorn Kingdom”

I was inspired by The Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest in deciding to do this program. If you’ve never seen the photos of the dioramas entered in that contest, check them out. They take this diorama thing to a whole different level (they’re amazing works of art!).

"Candy Bomber Peeps," inspired by the true story from World War II.
“Candy Bomber Peeps,” inspired by the true story from World War II.
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