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PA Forward: Share Ideas with Graffiti Walls

Adam Balcziunas

By Adam Balcziunas

Now that spring is finally here—please, please, let it be here—it’s time to get re-energized!  There are many ways to do this, such as attending your PaLA chapter’s spring workshop, catching up on some professional reading, etc.

Another easy and fun way to re-energize is to participate in a “graffiti wall” session.  Before you reach for your bandana and can of spray paint, let me explain that a graffiti wall is a group brainstorming activity.  The activity is low tech and can effectively leverage the ideas and enthusiasm of a group.  All you need are several large sheets of chart or newsprint paper, tape, and some markers.  The process is straightforward and can be used in a variety of settings.

As an example of how the process works, we’ll look at the graffiti wall activity offered as part of PA Forward training.  In the context of PA Forward training, the activity is used to share ideas and renew focus on the importance of partnerships and the five literacies of PA Forward.

First, label each sheet of chart paper with one of the following labels: Basic Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, Information Literacy, Civic/Social Literacy, and Partnerships.  Draw a line down the middle of each sheet and hang them up around a room.  These are the “walls.”

Participants are divided into groups and each group works its way around the room, visiting each “wall.”  On the right side of the paper, each group lists what they currently do to promote or support the specified literacy.  On the left side of the paper, the group should list ideas and plans for the future.  If a group discovers that their activity is already listed, they can simply place a check mark next to it on the chart.  Ideally, a person should be assigned as a time keeper to keep things moving and to ensure that there’s enough time for discussion after every group has made the rounds.

What activities are most popular?  Discuss possible variations on popular activities.  What partnerships were most successful?  Are there recommendations for how to strengthen them?  The graffiti wall activity, and the discussion that follows, present a great opportunity to share ideas and learn about what kinds of programs, resources, outreach services, and partnerships are working for other libraries.

For another source of great ideas for literacy skill-building, check out PA Forward’s literacy activity database on the PaLA website to see what other libraries are doing.

For more information on each of the five literacies, visit the PA Forward website.


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