Students gathered in the new wing of Armstrong Thursday to relive a part of their childhood. The conference room boasted tables full of craft materials and beloved 90s-kid book series, while the distinct soundtrack of Smash Mouth and “…Baby One More Time”-era Britney filled the air.
The two-hour Late Night Miami event was a collaborative effort between King Library and the Oxford Lane Public Library with the ultimate goal of rekindling the nostalgic flame college students feel for the less complicated times, when “reading for fun” was the only kind of reading they had to do.
The event revolved around five key book series: “The Boxcar Children,” “The Babysitter’s Club,” “Captain Underpants,” “Dear America” and “Goosebumps.” King librarian Laura Birkenhauer said that they wanted to choose a good mix of series, rather than single novels, so that people would be more likely to have read them.
Each book series was displayed at a table along with the materials for the associated crafts. The craft for the diary-format “Dear America” series, for instance, was bullet journals, a trendy planner-diary hybrid.
“We wanted to pick things that were nostalgic and make them relevant and current and functional,” said Birkenhauer.
The “Babysitter’s Club” table was host to a variety of friendship bracelet materials, a staple of early childhood jewelry for many 90s kids. The “Boxcar Children” station included button-making, while attendees could make their own Captain Underpants at its table, and make a slime paint necklace for the “Goosebumps” series.
Both 90s kids themselves, Birkenhauer and Lane Library coordinator Keely Moloney said it felt nostalgic to pick out the books and crafts.
“That was like my thing, getting all the ‘Boxcar Children’ books,” Moloney said.
“‘Babysitter’s Club’ was my number one,” Birkenhauer said, recalling her childhood love of the series. “I always wanted to be Claudia, but I think I was really more of a Stacey.”
Students were also strongly affected by the throwback.
“The event was very nostalgic for me,” said junior Emily Ward. “I hadn’t read all the books they displayed at the tables, but I recognized them all. I felt like I was back in elementary school.”
Though the selection of novels was a reminiscent bunch, there was one popular series that was noticeably missing: “Harry Potter.”
“I think it wasn’t included as a main part of the event because it’s more for all ages than it is specifically for children,” said Ward. “It’s also an obvious favorite, so they probably wanted to feature other series that are kind of taken for granted, in that everyone knows about them, but no one really talks about them anymore, which I can appreciate.”
For junior Julie Frymier, the event was not only rooted in memory, but was also a break from the monotony of studying.
“It was a nice stress reliever,” said Frymier. “Especially the bullet journals.”
Moloney also created a recommendation list of adult-level books based on the series featured at the event, giving participants an easy way to relive their childhood reading experiences.