Make Your Own Summer

For Adults and Teens

***Click here for our Children’s Program***

Summer at the library usually means one thing: Summer Reading!

But since the library building is closed right now and the world has been turned on its head, we thought we’d try something a little bit different this summer.

Starting July 1st, adults and teens can sign up on our website for our brand new program, Make Your Own Summer. Everyone who registers will receive a free Make Your Own Summer blank journal.

Each week throughout the summer we’ll issue a different creative challenge for you to work on in your journal. Once you’ve completed each challenge you can share it with the community by posting a picture of it on our website (or mailing it to us for us to post), or keep it to enjoy yourself.

The weekly challenges will draw on many different types of creative skills and will be simple enough that they can be done by anyone, with no prior skills or special equipment needed. Over the course of ten weeks your creativity will be challenged, stretched and expanded as you embrace the season and Make Your Own Summer.

We hope you’ll join us for this new adventure!

Click to Register.


Now that you are registered, you can pick up your free Make Your Own Summer journal during your next curbside pick-up of library materials. Just let us know when you arrive that you are also picking up a journal.

Don’t have curbside books to pick up, but still want to pick up a journal? Just drop by the library during our curbside hours and give us a call–we’ll bring one out to you! 


Journal Prompts

Journal Prompt #1!

Make an Educational Plaque

For this assignment think of some simple but useful information that you routinely wish you had. Use your journal to brainstorm what information you want to share and how best to convey it to others clearly and simply. Once you’ve got your wording set, transfer it to a piece of cardstock or cardboard and then “install it” in a public space for people to learn from and use. You are providing a service to the public. What will you share? It can be silly or serious, just something that is useful or interesting. Email us a photo of your installed plaque, a brief description of what information is being shared and the location where it is installed.

Journal Prompt #2!

The Proust Questionnaire

This week’s assignment is based on a once-popular French parlor game popularized by the writer Marcel Proust. Commonly known as The Proust Questionnaire, this set of questions is still frequently used in interviews by modern journalists. By answering these questions, Proust believed that individuals revealed their true natures. Take a look at the questions below and use your journal to record your answers. Is there anything that surprised you about how you answered these questions? Which were the hardest to answer? Which were the easiest? 

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire yourself, it’s time to put on your interviewer’s cap and find your first subject. Will you choose someone you know well? Someone you think you know well? Someone you’d like to know better? Or someone you barely know at all? When you’ve selected someone, spend some time asking them these questions. Ask the questions out loud, don’t simply hand them the questionnaire for them to complete by themselves. Explore any answers that especially intrigue you (or them!). Jot down your favorite answers in your journal. Afterwards, continue the conversation and ask your subject what surprised them and share with them what surprised or delighted you. Did you learn anything new about this person? If you’re feeling bold or inspired, keep going! These questions are great conversation starters and can be intriguing replacements for uncomfortable small talk in all sorts of situations. 

Take your time, enjoy your conversations and have fun. 

1.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?

2.  What is your greatest fear?

3.  What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

4.  What is the trait you most deplore in others?

5.  Which living person do you most admire?

6.  What is your greatest extravagance?

7.  What is your current state of mind?

8.  What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

9.  On what occasion do you lie?

10.  What do you most dislike about your appearance?

11.  Which living person do you most despise?

12.  What is the quality you most like in a man?

13.  What is the quality you most like in a woman?

14.  Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

15.  What or who is the greatest love of your life?

16.  When and where were you happiest?

17.  Which talent would you most like to have?

18.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

19.  What do you consider your greatest achievement?

20.  If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

21.  Where would you most like to live?

22.  What is your most treasured possession?

23.  What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

24.  What is your favorite occupation?

25.  What is your most marked characteristic?

26. What do you most value in your friends?

27.  Who are your favorite writers?

28.  Who is your hero of fiction?

29.  Which historical figure do you most identify with?

30.  Who are your heroes in real life?

31.  What are your favorite names?

32.  What is it that you most dislike?

33.  What is your greatest regret?

34.  How would you like to die?

35.  What is your motto?

Journal Prompt #3!

Map Your Happy Place

This week’s assignment will have you getting in touch with your inner cartographer. Your challenge is to make a map of someplace that is personally important to you. This can be the place where you live now, your favorite place you’ve ever lived, your childhood hometown, or any place that you have a strong connection to. Once you’ve selected the place you’ll be mapping, create a very simple outline of the physical contours of this place in your journal. It’s fine if you just want to trace this from an existing map of the place or just draw a rough sketch that gets the basic shape down on paper. The actual outline of the place you’ve chosen isn’t the important part here. The key to your map will be in its details. When you’ve got your outline completed, go through your map and start to fill in the spots that make this place special to you. These don’t need to be places that would mean anything to anyone else. You’re looking for the spots that connect you to this place in a way that is unique to your life. What are these spots? Why are they important to you? Is this the spot where you had your first kiss? Is that the rock where you sit to watch the sunset? Is that the shop with the best peach ice cream you’ve ever eaten? Only you will know what these places are and why they are special. You are mapping a place that no one else will ever know in exactly the same way that you do. Be as creative as you like with your map. For inspiration, check out the maps featured in the book Mapping Manhattan, from which this challenge was adapted:

Email us ( a photo of your finished map and tell us what place you’ve chosen and why. You can also mail us this info the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

Happy mapping!

Journal Prompt #4!

Just Listen

For twenty minutes, close your eyes and do nothing but listen and jot down what you hear in your journal. Listen to everything. Start with the obvious sounds closest to you, then listen deeper and deeper to hear all the different layers of sound around you. Be sure to close your eyes and to sit and listen for the full twenty minutes. The longer you sink into this practice, the better you’ll get at it and the more you’ll start to hear. You can do this indoors or outdoors, somewhere familiar or somewhere new. Practice doing it in different locations. Take field trips to certain places, specifically so that you can listen to the sounds that they have to offer. Document everything you hear. 

Share your favorite lists of sounds with us by email ( and tell us where they were recorded. You can also mail us this info the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

Happy listening!

Journal Prompt #5!

Laugh a Little

This week’s assignment: Use your journal to keep a detailed list of everything that makes you laugh each day. It can be a tiny chuckle or a roaring belly laugh, but the laughter must be honest laughter, no polite laughter allowed! You don’t need to explain why something was funny if you don’t want to (because, well, what fun would that be??), just write about what happened that tickled your funny bone and what kind of laugh you had. Try rating the funniness from 1 to 10. Do you see any patterns? What really makes you laugh? How much do you laugh in a week?

Share your favorite funny moments with us by email ( because, hey, we could all use a laugh right now! You can also mail us this info the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

May your days be filled with laughter!

Journal Prompt #6!

Poetry? Don’t Mind if Haiku!

Time to get in touch with your inner poet this week. You may already be familiar with the traditional Japanese poetry form of haiku, but if not, here is a quick refresher: A haiku is a three-line poem, with 17 syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. This means that the first line will have 5 syllables, the second 7, and the third 5 again. Haiku often focus on images from the natural world and usually emphasize simplicity, intensity and directness of expression. It’s a powerful and beautiful form that packs a lot of poetic punch in a very small space. 

Every day this week, write three haiku poems. One should be about food or cooking — something that you ate or made. One should be about something you saw out of a window. And one should be about an interaction with another person. Don’t get overly bogged down with aiming for perfection. Remember that haiku should be composed quickly and spontaneously, without overthinking. Celebrate tiny moments. 

Be sure to share your favorite poems with us by email ( You can also mail us your poem the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

Good luck finding the poetry in the everyday.

Journal Prompt #7!

A Few of My Favorite Things

This week’s assignment is all about the things you love. Use your journal to make a list of 100 of your favorite things. These can be anything, from the very small to the VERY LARGE. Try to be as detailed and specific as you can. You can create this list quickly, rapid-fire style, or you can take your time with it and compile it slowly throughout the week. 

Once you’ve written your list, take some time to consider it. Was it hard for you to do this assignment? Did you struggle to come up with 100 things or could you have kept going for another 100? Do you notice any patterns about your favorite things? Are they things that you get to enjoy regularly or only much more rarely? Do you enjoy sharing your favorite things with other people? Are there things you love now that you didn’t used to care for? Does your list of favorite things paint a sort-of portrait of you? What do these things say about you?

Remember to share a few of your favorite things with us by email ( You can also mail us the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

May your days be filled with all good things. See you next week. 

Journal Prompt #8!

Letter Rip

This week you may be learning a new skill or reacquainting yourself with one you haven’t used in awhile. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone? Like, an actual, pen on paper, stamp on envelope LETTER? This week, your assignment is to write a letter to someone and then send it. You can write to someone you know well or someone you barely know at all. You can write to a childhood friend or to someone you interact with everyday, but never take the time to really communicate with. It can be someone who had a big impact on your life or someone you really admire. You could write to your mail carrier or to a neighbor. A favorite author or distant cousin. You could even write a letter to a stranger and leave it somewhere to be found. 

Once you’ve decided who you’ll write to, use your journal to brainstorm what you’d like to say to this person. Will you recount a shared memory? Ask them big questions? List your favorite things about them? Will you thank someone for something? Or tell them about the last thing that really made you laugh? You could send a photograph, or draw a picture. Share a recipe you love, or tell them about the last book you read. The possibilities are endless. Think about what you’d like to read in a letter you received out of the blue. Would you want encouragement? Reassurance? Kindness? Humor? Surprise? Your letter is a chance to brighten someone’s day and to remind them that someone is thinking of them. 

No cheating — emails, texts, and phone calls don’t count this week. Taking the time to sit down to write with pen and paper, then finding an envelope and a stamp and walking to a mailbox might seem a little inconvenient, but that’s part of this assignment. Performing these once commonplace rituals mean going the extra mile for the person you’re writing to. The care and attention and effort you put into this act is part of what makes it meaningful. 

After you’ve written and mailed your letter, don’t focus on getting a reply. You’ve sent a small good thing out into the world for its own sake. Instead, consider making letter writing a habit. What would happen if you wrote one letter a week to a different person? It would take less time than you think. And what would be the impact? What do you imagine people receiving your letters would think and feel? What would you feel like, receiving such a letter?

If you have any thoughts or reflections on your letter-writing experience this week, be sure to share them with us by email ( We love hearing from you! You can also mail us the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

 Happy writing, happy mailing. See you next week. 

Journal Prompt #9!

That’s a Reassuring Sign

As we head into summer’s home stretch, the only thing that can be said for certain about these past few months is that they have definitely been a LOT. From the pandemic to protests to politics, there has been no shortage of stress and strife this season. Collectively, our families, our friends, our neighbors and ourselves have likely been experiencing some anxiety and other difficult emotions during what is normally a light and easy time of year. This week’s assignment will help push back against those challenging emotions in a small but visible way. 

This week you’ll be making an encouraging banner or sign. Use your journal to brainstorm what you want to say to the world. Who needs encouragement right now? What would be comforting for them to hear? Your message can be as simple as, “It’s Going to be O.K.” or can be something much more specific. It can be whatever words you take comfort from that you’d like to share with others. 

Once you’ve decided on your message, it’s time to figure out your design. You can write your message on a large piece of plain cardboard, poster board, or wood. If you’d rather make a banner, you can glue, tape, or thread together pieces of construction paper or fabric, and then affix individual letters to each one. Be sure your lettering is a contrasting color to its background and remember to make your lettering large enough to be seen by anyone walking or driving by. Bonus points for bright colors or beautiful lettering. But if arts and crafts are not your strong suit, no worries — the most important thing is the message you’ll be delivering. When you’ve completed your sign/banner, hang it up somewhere where others who might need encouragement will see it. You can put it in a window, hang it between two trees, affix it to a stake and stick it in your lawn, or get really creative and hang it somewhere completely unexpected. Just make sure that the world can see your sign. 

After you’ve hung up your sign/banner, be sure to take a photo of it and share it with us by email ( You can also mail us the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

Signing off: It’s going to be OK! See you next week. 

Journal Prompt #10!

That’s So Random

As summer comes to a close this weekend, it’s time for your final assignment. But this last assignment is a good one to carry over into the rest of the year. This week, use your journal to brainstorm a list of ideas for random acts of kindness. These can range from the very small and simple to those that are much larger and more elaborate. Get creative, and try to think of little surprises that might bring moments of unexpected happiness to another person. What would surprise and delight you? Brainstorm some ideas that will work for people who you are close to, and also some that are for complete strangers. Consider these acts as happiness sneak attacks. How many ideas can you come up with? 

Once you have your list, well . . . you can probably guess where this is going, right? Take your list and start putting it into action. Unleash your random kindnesses on the world, one at a time, right when it least expects it. Can you do one act a day for a week? A month? A year? You may find that performing these random acts is like exercising. At first, it may feel difficult or uncomfortable, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, and you may find that with practice you’ll want to incorporate even more random acts of kindness into your days (or rather, into the days of others!). 

Be sure to tell us about a few of your favorite random acts of kindness by email ( You can also mail us the old-fashioned way, or drop us an envelope in our outside book drop.

We hope that you had a great time Making Your Own Summer with us this year! Thanks for participating, and remember that each of these assignments can be done again anytime you’re looking to explore your world and embrace your creative side. Be well and we’ll see you next summer!