Tune In, Rock Out

By Deban Becker

Length of Program

One hour or longer

Program Description

Regardless of the type, music invades teens’ lives. It is as essential to a teen as breathing. In this program, teens will use various forms of music media to create works of art, as well as have the opportunity to participate in music-related activities. If you plan to play music in the library as part of this program be sure that the library has a public performance license. See the “Legalities” section of the Introduction to this manual for information.

Developmental Needs and Assets

Creative expression is an essential part of being a teen. Finding an outlet to express one’s self can be a truly worthwhile experience. The library is a great setting for teens to discover their passion for creativity. By participating in activities from the Tune In, Rock Out program, teens are exposed to a variety of creative activities involving the arts and music.

Books to Display

Flat-Out Rock: Ten Great Bands of the 60s by Mike Tanner.

Girls Rock: How to Get Your Group Together and Make Some Noise by Robyn Goodmark.

Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Punk, Underground, DIY, and Indie Bands by Travis Nichols.

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Beatles, Beatlemania, and the Music that Changed the World by Bob Spitz.

Books to Share or Booktalk

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson.

Born to Rock by Gordon Korman.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Bulletin Board

Transform the bulletin board into a musical haven by posting or hanging cut-outs of musical notes on the board. Add photographs of musicians and pages from teen music magazines.


Create a display of teen books related to music and media. Add DVDs, music CDs, and audio books with pairs of headphones to attract attention. If the display is in a secure cabinet, add musical paraphernalia from different eras, such as an old Victrola record player, hi-fi records, an eight track player and tapes, cassette and CD players, and an iPod. Borrow these items from staff and patrons or check local thrift shops.

Survey the teens about their favorite artists, songs, and music albums. Use the results to create a “teen picks” display in the teen area of the books, CDs, and magazines that the library owns.


Turn old CDs, tapes, and records into a promotional music mobile by hanging them from the ceiling of the teen programming space. Decorate the front and back of each item with information about the event you will be hosting. Instructions on how to make a hanging music mobile are available from CraftBits, www.craftbits.com/viewProject.do?projectID=1921.


A number of “rockin” refreshments can be served. Suggestions include Rockstar Energy drink (if this beverage is not available in local retail outlets it can be ordered online from Rockstar, www.rockstar69.com) or Pop Rocks candy (available in bulk from PopRocks, www.poprockscandy.com). If time allows, invite the teens to make old-fashioned rock candy using the recipe from Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/rock-candy-recipe-how-to-make-rock-candy.html.


Depending on the activities included in the program, include a drawing for gift cards to Best Buy, Target, or iTunes so that teens can purchase their own music.


Altered Record Album Covers

  • Old record album covers
  • Scissors
  • Color images
  • Exacto knife
  • Glue

In advance, gather covers from old record albums. Ask patrons for donations or check with local thrift shops. Also gather old magazines that have color images or invite the teens to bring photographs and images of themselves or favorite musicians. Use an Exacto knife to cut and remove the parts of the album cover that will be altered. Add the images that have been selected and attach them with glue. Lay the album cover flat and allow it to dry. The altered album covers can then be used as a wall hanging or as a folder.

Abba Greatist hits vinyl album. Two blond females are sitting on a bench with masks.

Pretenders Album Cover - Three men in black, and one female singer in red.

Gocks: Gothic Sock Puppets

(Adapted from Patricia Foster’s program Gocks! Gothic Sock Puppets: Most Valuable Creative Program.)

Gocks are gothic sock puppets, an alternative craft program to the traditional sock puppet craft. Teens can choose a variety of ways to make the puppet have its own distinct personality. Ask staff to donate some of the stray socks that are missing a match or purchase inexpensive socks from a dollar store or thrift shop. Use the materials list as a starting point and add any other craft supplies that are on hand that might add to the goth puppets personality and persona.

  • Socks (white or black)
  • Yarn
  • Feathers
  • Beads
  • Safety pins
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Buttons
  • Felt pieces
  • Cloth scraps
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue guns
  • Glue sticks
  • Pom poms
  • Ribbons/string
  • Scissors
  • Fabric markers
  • Fabric paints

Place all of the craft materials on tables and distribute a sock to each teen. Let them use the craft materials to create their puppet. Use glue to add eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Safety pins can be added to the nose, face, or ears. Feathers and yarn will become hair and fabric paint and markers can be used for body decorations and tattoos. After the puppets have been completed, set up a portable puppet stage or hang a backdrop and invite their Gocks to act in a “Gothic Sock Puppet Theater”. To view the Gocks teens have created at other libraries, visit the Mid-Hudson Library System Flickr site at www.flickr.com/search/?q=gocks. If desired, take photographs of the Gocks created at the program to add to the library’s web site.

Media Sling

(Adapted from FamilyFun.)

  • Old ties
  • Scissors
  • Self-adhesive Velcro-dot fasteners
  • Tacky glue
  • Waxed paper
  • Cord
  • Rulers

In advance ask staff for donations of old, unwanted ties to be used in making a sling that teens can use to carry their MP3 players, iPods, cell phones, or sunglasses. Cut the tie down to sixteen inches long. Slip a piece of waxed paper into the wide opening of the tie. Place lines of glue around the edges of one half of the tie. Fold the tie in half and curl the cut edge inside the opening at the opposite end. Glue the ends of the cord in place and attach a Velcro-dot fastener. Set a book on top of the tie to press it flat while the glue dries. Additional instructions are available at Make Digital, www.make-digital.com/craft/vol08/?pg=122.

Ipod holder made from a redesigned tie. This holder has the colors torquoise, blue, pink, and purple smudge look, long necklace.

Two ipod holders side by side. One previously described as having color of torquoise, blue, pink. The other has four designs

Recycled Vinyl Record Bowls

(Adapted from D.I.Y. Girl: The Real Girl's Guide to Making Everything From Lip Gloss to Lamps by Jennifer Bonnell.)

Records are a part of our musical history but many teens may not be familiar them since they pre-date the downloadable music of today. This is a great way to expose teens to records and make something fun. Ask staff to donate old, unwanted records or purchase some from a thrift store. There are various sizes of records, but for this craft it is best to use 33⅓-rpm or 45-rpm LPs.

Kapp Vinyl Record without cover.

You will also need some cookie sheets, a metal bowl, and access to a conventional oven. Invite the teens to learn how to make recycled vinyl record bowls by watching a how-to streaming video entitled “Recycle Your Record Albums! Make a Funky Bowl!” from Metacafe at www.metacafe.com/watch/317156/recycle_your_record_albums_make_a_funky_bowl/. Written instructions with photographs are available from Thrifty Fun, www.thriftyfun.com/tf895928.tip.html.

Orange Vinyl Record folded over in the shape of a bowl.

Same Orange Record as previously shown, but the bowl is upside down.

If your programming space does not have an oven that is accessible, pre-make the bowls in the library kitchen or at home and bring them to the library for teens to decorate with markers, spray paint, acrylic paint, and puff paint.

Photo of kid spray painting vinyl bowls in various colors of red, blue and yellow.

Trace the inside of the record’s circular label and make circles from cardstock for the teens to use to design their own label for their record bowls. Have records available that have not been turned into bowls in case one of the teens wants to decorate the record only.

Decorated Vinyl Record. The rim of record has orange and pink spots. The text 'My Playlist!' appears in bright orange.

Rock Candy Players

(Adapted from the crafty lil’ thing. This project uses a box of candy to a make an edible iPod player. To read about the origins of the craft, go to the blog, crafty lil’ thing, http://craftylilthing.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html.)

  • Scotch tape
  • String or yarn
  • Miniature peanut butter cups or Hershey kisses
  • Boxes of conversation hearts or Nerds candy
  • Aluminum foil
  • Colored construction paper
  • Colored sticker dots
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • White printer paper
  • Fine tip Sharpies

Green Ipod made of craft material

Green Ipod with headset made with craft material and headset made of string and candy.


In advance, cut the string or yarn into 14-inch pieces. Cut aluminum foil into 4-inch circles (omit this step if Hershey’s kisses are used instead of peanut butter cups). Cut the colored construction paper into 4x7-inch strips. Print “scroll wheels” onto white printer paper using the template at Flicker, www.flickr.com/photos/22984053@N02/3251010520/in/photostream. Print blank iPlay Playlist templates similar to the pattern available from Flicker, www.flickr.com/photos/22984053@N02/3250182989.

Provide each teen with two pieces of string or yarn, two peanut butter cups or Hershey’s kisses, one box of candy, two aluminum foil circles (if using peanut butter cups), one strip of colored construction paper, one scroll wheel, one colored sticker dot, and one playlist template. Tape each end of string or yarn to a peanut butter cup or Hershey’s kiss. Tie one piece of string to the middle of the other. Tape the loose end to the candy box. If using peanut butter cups, wrap each cup in a circle of aluminum foil. Wrap the colored construction strip around the candy box and secure the ends of the paper at the back using a glue stick. Cut the paper templates for the cover of the player and write text for your scroll wheel if desired. Attach a colored sticker dot to the center of the scroll wheel. Use a glue stick to add the scroll wheel to the front of the player. Allow the teens to write in the titles of their favorite songs on the playlist template or print and use the list of song titles on the iPlay Playlist pattern.

Find the Tune-In iPlay List Template, the Tune-In iPlay List Blank Template and the Tune-In iPlay Songs Template at the end of this program.

Games and Activities

Battle of the Bands

Teens love to showcase their talent. Host a Battle of the Bands contest for teens at the library. For rules and ideas for setting up a competition, visit the San Jose Public Library web site, www.sjlibrary.org/about/events/bands.htm.

CD Swap

Invite teens to bring in CDs they no longer want and swap them with other teens. The swap could also include other types of media, such as DVDs, videos, books, or movies. The swap can be very informal but for more details review the program from EZ Library Programs, http://support.midhudson.org/ezprogram/display_details.php?id=498.


Combine one of the crafts in this program with a night of gaming for teens. Offer games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour to play.

Videos/DVS/Films to Show

Show these videos and DVDs or segments of them if you have public performance rights. Otherwise, display them for home use.

10 Things I Hate About You. (97 minutes)

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. (90 minutes)

Professional Resources

Tune In @ Your Library


This wiki from the 2008 Teen Tech Week has links, program ideas, book, and media suggestions related to a music theme that can be used in a library setting.

YA-MUSIC Listserv


YALSA's Teen Music Interest Group started this list as a forum for librarians to post questions, get answers, and discuss related topics in the field of music and media for teens.

Program Materials and Examples

Tune In – iPlay List Template

Printer Friendly PDF Version (size:172 KB)

IPlay List Template - 12 squares with the following text: line 1 'iPlay', line 2 'Playlist:', lines 3 to 6, 'Come Out and Play, Play N Skillz, Wanna Play, Play It like that'

Tune In – iPlay List Blank Template

Printer Friendly PDF Version (81 KB)

IPlay List Template - 12 squares with the following text: line 1 'Iplay:', lines 2 'Playlist:' and blank space for four songs.

Tune In – iPlay Songs Template

Printer Friendly PDF Version (121 KB)

IPlay List Template - 12 squares with the following text: line 1 'iPlay', line 2 'Playlist:', lines 3 to 6, 'Song 1, Song 2, Song 3, Song 4'

Texas Teens Read 2010! Programming Manual / Within Arms Reach: The Future is Yours!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 10, 2011