Throwback Thursday: Time Capsule Edition

By: Lisa Blue, Teen Librarian 

December 28, 2023

As the Winter Park Library’s teen librarian, I’ve been fortunate to spend the past 18 years exploring, learning, and growing with teens from diverse perspectives and cultures. We’ve built Rube Goldberg devices with the goal to pop a balloon and constructed solar hot dog cookers out of Pringles cans. Designed our own signature tea blends and learned the basics of swing dance. Learned CPR, American Sign Language, how to change a tire and play a didgeridoo. Myriad topics, myriad experiences, and many of those experiences yielded a tangible something the teens could take home to share with family and friends. Those somethings that I created along with them were treasures to me but became impractical to stockpile as desk decorations. What better way to preserve those memories than in a time capsule?

The personal time capsule itself was a 2013 teen class in keeping with that summer’s theme, “Beneath the Surface. Although time capsules are usually buried away and preserved for 50 years or more, this particular teen group decided ten years would be perfect to capture themselves in their present moment and still feel nostalgic about it after easily transporting it from their childhood home onto the next chapter of their lives. Instead of typical time capsule contents, I decided to use my time capsule as a repository for some of those cool artifacts I made as “demos” for the teen classes to be taught. Each one not only captures my personal journey in creation and crafting milestones but also a tangible memory of a meaningful and joyous session interacting with the teens.

It’s been ten years since that class, and I was beyond excited to open up the capsule in June to discover what it contained. Below were some of the fun artifacts.



duct tape wallet

In our fast-paced world, where technology evolves at a relentless pace and disposable culture often prevails, the duct tape wallet reminds us of the beauty in simplicity and the power of transformation. And in 2006, it was also a suitable symbol of my transformation from an adult reference librarian into the new teen librarian, navigating her first set of summer programs. With patience and some really well-written instructions (by a veteran teen librarian, NOT me) the teens and I were able to take a dash of creativity, a roll of duct tape, and determination to turn an everyday object into something extraordinary.

In 2012, we broke away from the national summer reading theme of “Own the Night” in favor of a teen- suggested, “Reading Beyond Reality.” Amidst a summer filled with unicorn cupcakes, dystopia Survivor, and the ultimate villain smackdown, the teens also showed some Middle Earth love. Inspired by the book Sculpting Mythical Creatures Out of Polymer Clay, my own Fosco Hardbottle led the way through a creative session of molding and forming delightful Hobbits from wire armature and polymer clay.

clay figurine
sherlock cube

Fandoms for teens are a crucial avenue to finding a sense of identity, belonging, and connection. Fandoms also foster incredible creativity. We explored several fandoms popular with teens in the late 2000s and early 2010s through “Fandom Fridays.” In addition to just enjoying being surrounded by “their crew,” they also had the opportunity to express their love through crafting. Two such fandoms honored were the BBCs Sherlock series and the long-running Supernatural. Sherlockians folded blocky Cubeecraft models of the titular detective and his nemesis, while sipping MoriarTea…get it?

The SPN family used fuse beads (Perler) to re-create the beloved Winchester brothers, their angel pal Castiel and family friend Bobby. Both of these fandom Fridays took place after the 2013 time capsule sealing (Sherlock in 2014 and Supernatural, 2015), but I asked a colleague to add these artifacts while my eyes were averted lest I peek at the treasures I’d already assembled.

whostock poster

Speaking of fandoms, a huge milestone in the world of Doctor Who also occurred in 2013. At the time of its 50th anniversary, young Matt Smith as the then current Doctor sparked a fever pitch of fandom, especially in teens who were relatively new Whovians. To honor the occasion, our Teen Advisory Board (TAB) and I developed an mini-convention—Whostock—complete with panels, games, craft sessions, costume contests, and Doctor-themed concessions (anybody care for a Jelly Baby?). This promotional poster, designed by a teen, was intended to be reminiscent of its name inspiration—Woodstock—with guitar neck and dove transforming into the Doctor’s TARDIS (part spaceship/part time machine) spinning atop his arm wielding his trusty sonic screwdriver.

Speaking of TAB, the Teen Advisory Board has long been a vital part of the success of services we provide to our community’s teens. Their ideas and hard work not only earn volunteer service hours for them but directly affect meaningful YA materials and experiences. For a time, it was a tradition for the elected TAB officers to end the last meeting before summer with a Golden Pez award with a personalized assignation given to each active member. One year, they were kind enough to bestow a Golden Pez on me, and it’s much treasured.

Now that the time capsule has been opened, I look forward to starting a new one with new treasures acquired and new memories made, not just in summer, but all year long.