“Let ‘Em Be”: Passive Programs for Adults

The “Let ‘Em Be”: Passive Programs for Adults Mini-Kit was created to support libraries with adult users and visitors to engage adults with activities that can be done on-site or taken to be used elsewhere. CSL understands that librarians and library workers have a lot to do and creating puzzles or curating passive program materials can take up a lot of time and effort when those are already in such high demand. By providing passive programming materials for adult visitors, we hope to make your lives a little easier and provide your adult visitors something to keep their minds active and have fun while doing it. This mini-kit is intended for adult services librarians and library workers who would like to engage visitors and users with independent, self-determined activities at little-to-no cost.


  • Resource Kit binder
  • USB “flash” drive
  • Picture hanging kit (for displaying) 
  • Activities
    • 8 “Leave ‘Em Be” Puzzles master copies and answer keys (also in USB): 5 word search puzzles, 3 double puzzles
      • Be Kind Word Search
      • Book List Titles Word Search
      • Community Word Search
      • Familiar Palabras Word Search
      • Included Word Search
      • Friend Goals Double Puzzle
      • Giving Double Puzzle
      • Gratitude Double Puzzle
    • 6 Origami pattern master copies (also in USB): 6 origami animals from World Wildlife Fund 
    • Kindness bingo master copies (also in USB) from Random Acts of Kindness 
    • Random Acts of Kindness Coloring Pages (also in USB) from Random Acts of Kindness
    • Happiness magnetic poetry activity:
      • Flexible magnetic mat
      • “Happiness” magnetic poetry kit 
      • Magnetic poetry word list
  • 2023 Collaborative Summer Learning Program Adult Manual (modified) including information & facts pages, services to Spanish-speakers information, and adult reading book lists (fiction and nonfiction) 
  • Additional Resources 
  • Clipboard with evaluation form to complete (we really want your feedback)


Book: The Passive Programming Playbook


Brief description (From the publisher) 

This book offers 101 passive programming ideas that are extendable, adaptable, customizable, and above all, stealable—so your passive programming never runs dry.

Passive programming is a cheap, quick, fun way to make all library customers feel like part of the community. It can support reading initiatives, foster family engagement, encourage visit frequency, and coax interaction out of library lurkers—while barely making a dent in your programming budget. Passive programming can be targeted at children, teens, adults, or seniors; used to augment existing programs; and executed in places where staff-led programming can’t reach. It can be light-footed, spontaneous, and easily deployed to reflect and respond to current news, media, library events, and even the weather. But even passive programming pros run out of ideas sometimes, and when that happens, they want a fresh, funny source of inspiration.

Blog: Passive Doesn’t Mean Boring


Brief description

Though this is written by a school librarian with a [likely] intended audience of school librarians, the ideas and examples are ones that can be used in any library that serves a varied and diverse population. Ideas like the jigsaw puzzles and Zentangles (or other similar drawing kit-based activities) can come at a cost, but are typically low-cost and can yield a lot of use and engagement. Bonus for their ability to be used again and again. 

News: Reaching Teens Subversively through Passive Programming


Brief description

Again the word “teen” is used and the article seems geared toward non-adult users; however (again), the ideas for passive programming (bulleted mid-way through the page) are ones that can be done at any library for any user group. (Some are even included in this mini-kit!) 

More Resources & Ideas: Random Acts of Kindness “At Home”


Brief description

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) provides free resources – some of which have been included in this mini-kit – for fostering kindness to oneself and to one another in the different contexts and places we inhabit. The “At Home” section of their website includes the sign-up for their email newsletter, printable materials like kindness calendars and guides for developing kindness practices, and kindness activity booklets/ journals for ages 0-12, 13-19, and 20-99. Additional sections of the RAK website include “Kindness at School,” the evidence-based RAK curriculum guides and teacher materials; “At Work” for developing kindness practices in the workplace; and “Events.” 

More Animal Origami from World Wildlife Federation


Brief description

The kit includes print outs of origami patterns from the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Together activities site. The included patterns are “simple” but a variety of other animals and difficulty level patterns are available for download and use on the WWF site. You are encouraged to fill your paper zoo with as many animals as you’d like! And non-animal origami too! 

Video: Origami Tutorials (YouTube)


Brief description

This YouTube channel is one of many that result from a search for origami tutorials. It (and they) can be used on a tablet or laptop at your library – in addition to origami manuals and guides from your library’s collection – for guidance to library visitors and origami creators. 

Blog: Cultural Cooks from Programming Librarian


Brief description (From the publisher) 

The Community Cooks activities included in this kit are inspired by and borrowed from Programming Librarian blog’s “Cultural Cooks” post. Culinary programming can be highly interactive or passive with some or no recursive elements. Cooking programs are increasingly popular on television and streaming platforms, and are viewed across ages and locations. Food is a way we celebrate our cultures, traditions, families, and communities. Culinary-centered activities are perfect complements to the 2023 summer learning themes of togetherness, community, collaboration, and sharing. 


Binder Contents–Documentation, resources, and more (PDF)

Origami Print Outs (PDF)

Puzzle Print Outs (PDF)

Community Cooks Print Outs (PDF)

RAK Print Outs (PDF)