Star Bucks!


Kids will be kids! We spend a lot of time asking them to put their shoes on the boot rack, pick up and put away the games they have been playing with, put their garbage in the trash can... There are days when we feel like we are glorified babysitters! And so we launched the Star Bucks incentive program. We created simple little forms about the size of a business card (see photos). When we notice a child doing something good - like putting her shoes on the rack, or cleaning up after himself, we reward them with a Star Buck! When any child has collected five Star Bucks, they can then use them to "purchase" an entry for a prize draw. Puzzles, Lego, magic kits, books, games... fun stuff that kids will like.

It didn't take long for the kids to catch on. We do not give them a Star Buck every time they do something good - just often enough for them to keep doing it. And we try to reward individual kids for doing different things.

We did not advertise what kinds of things the kids needed to do to earn a Star Buck. We wanted the behaviors to come from them rather than be dictated by us. Once a few kids started receiving the Star Bucks, they quickly started "policing" their peers and encouraging them to follow suit.

We had a few prizes to start out with, but we are now seeking donations from businesses to help sponsor the prizes. In exchange we offer public acknowledgement of the business and invite a representative from the business to present the prize. There is no set time between prize draws. Once there are a sufficient number of entries (about every 2 or 3 months) we hold the draw and make it a bit of an event. That way it is easier to coordinate with prize donors to be there.
Source Library

Program photos

Program promotional materials


Primary Audience

Preschool (aged 3-4)
Primary (Gr. K-3 or aged 5-8)
Intermediate (Gr. 4-7 or aged 9-12)

Community partners

Local businesses

Funding (grants/foundations/corporations)

Literacy Grant, donations

Resources required (materials/supplies; food/refreshments, etc.)

Prizes! Star Bucks (easily created and printed in-house).

Highlights - what worked well?

NOT telling the kids what to do! By choosing kids randomly and rewarding them for doing different things that were respectful and helpful, we are able to reinforce the behaviors, make coming to the library fun and relieve the staff of having to nag at them.

What were the goals/objectives of your program?

We basically wanted to instill good behaviors in children that use the library, like putting shoes on the boot rack to keep the entry way clear and safe, cleaning up after themselves and taking responsibility for the games and other equipment they use while visiting the library.