Teen Read Week 2009 ideas


Good grief, it’s the end of August already! & at least for me, it means my favorite time of year is just around the corner: Teen Read Week!!

I adore Teen Read Week for a multitude of reasons, number one being that I get to showcase, first & foremost, what I love most about my job: getting amazing literature into the hands of teens. Reader’s advisory (wherein I pull book after book off the shelf for a potential reader & invite them to choose from among them) is by far my favorite part of the job. I get a thrill seeing teens walking to the self-checkout (which is why they never know what fines they have, le sigh) with a huge stack of books in their arms – especially when I know they didn’t used to a reader. In my time here, I’ve been fortunate enough to watch several of my “regulars” go from just-computer users to voracious readers who will read pretty much anything I give them.

Just as an aside: I firmly believe that anyone who says they don’t like reading just haven’t found that one book that gets them going. For me, it was the Redwall series first, & then Harry Potter that rekindled my love of reading. For many teens of late, it was Twilight. For at least one of my teens, it was the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series. I take it as a personal challenge when a mom drags their teen to me & tells me they don’t like reading – that’s when the pile begins.

But anyways, TRW 2009 is creeping ever closer! I’ve been brainstorming some ideas for potential programs of late, & I thought I’d share them with you. This year’s theme is fantasy/sf-themed, & wow! The potentials are endless!

» Anime cosplay party! Let the teens choose the best-dressed & offer a gift card to their favorite place tp purchase anime & manga – usually Borders, FYE, Best Buy, or if you have one, the local comics shop
» Movies! Let your TAB or other group choose their favorite book-to-movie feature: Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Jumper, Star Wars, any of the comics movies – so many choices!
» Host a D&D campaign; invite local DMs to come & run the games!
» Get in contact with your local SCA & invite them to give a presentation on what they do
» Find a make-up and/or costume artist & create a program discussing costuming, etc in recent sf & fantasy movies
» Host a costume party & invite teens to dress up as their favorite sf/fantasy character. Be sure to invite those anime fans as well!
» Host a craft program & offer teens the chance to make their own dolls, felt plushies, or characterized teddy bears (or rubber duckies!)
» Is there an author or writing professing in the area? Host a sf/fantasy writing workshop!
» Hold a massive Runescape game at your library – the teens at my library are still obsessed with this!
» Hold a fantasy/sf-themed book swap at your library – mass markets are great for these!
» Wish a belated happy birthday to everyone’s favorite wizard, or host a Wizards’ Ball for everyone!
» Invite teens to a fantasy/sf book discussion – they can talk about their favorites, get recommendations, & connect with fellow readers!
» Invite teens to create their own trailers for books & books they’d like to turn into movies! Turn it into a contest, & have a “short film festival” where you watch all the entries!
» Host a “Battle of the Books” where teens can vote for their favorites fantasy/sf series – Harry Potter, Twilight, Protector of the Small, Mortal Instruments, etc. Have your TAB come up with the categories!
» Host a TRW Extravaganza where they can win books & play in a huge Jeopardy-style trivia contest!

Do you have other ideas? Share them in the comments!! :)

Sometimes, things just feel right.

In addition to feeling that what I do is important & enjoying teen lit, I honest-to-god love teens. I find them fascinating & wonderful in all their annoying ways – they’re just discovering so much for the first time & are finally old enough to emotionally handle most of the things life throws at them. I love talking with them, spending time with them, & doing as much as I can to make their lives all the more amazing, whether that means ordering extra copies of their favorite books, wiping out a few bucks worth of fines, or offering programs that make their days. I know that teen services falls below just about everything else libraries offer, & I know I’ll never get much recognition for my efforts, but it really & truly is my bliss.

So whenever I see teens with a big pile of books, or sitting about Teen Central reading, I always bound up to them & ask what they’ve got. Sometimes I’m met with a face that’s terrified to say anything (I am a bundle of energy when dealing with them, & since nearly every other adult who would speak to them in our library would do so simply to yell them, it’s understandable), but those who know me cheerfully let me know.

Today, as I was sitting at the desk, a guy around 13 or 14 sat down on the chairs near our desk, a teen book in hand. When I asked, “Whacha readin’?” I recieved this answer in response:

The second Triskellion book! You gave me the first one, & it was the best thing I ever read!

And then he buried his face in said book. Today, the Universe feels just perfect. No award could ever replace the feeling I have right now.

Quick Hit Resource: ReadyMech


I’m working on our “End of Summer Celebration” today, which we hold in leiu of a summer reading finale (I invite all teens to come, rather than exclude those who usually forgot [or were too lazy to fill out] their entry forms), & I finally remembered to check out a resource I’d heard about at a lovely crafting *workshop: ReadyMech.com.

Mecha are a bit like the Japanese version of Transformers, only brighter & wackier. Teens love them, & this site offers .pdfs of many varities. Although I would have prefered to use cardstock, I gave in to our color copier’s personality & used plain paper instead. It took a little finagling, but using a glue stick, I was able to get one together! You can see him on the right hand side of the picture below. It’s a little thing, but actually quite cute!


I’ll put the big stack in the middle of a table, & let them have at. We’re also going to be doing Guitar Hero & DDR, & decorating guitar pick necklaces. Mostly, they come to this for the pizza & prizes, but we always have a good time!

*presented by Mandy Simon, teen librarian @ Worthington Park Branch!

Five truths about teens

A lot is said about teens & the Millenial generation. Not all of it is true. Here are five truths, at least about the teens around here.

1.) They don’t use Twitter. They’d rather spend their precious minutes texting their friends, not a website.

2.) They’re really not as computer savvy as you think they are. Sure, they know how to do the stuff they like to do – downloading music, maybe futzing with their MySpace layout – but when it comes to knowing how to search Google & find the latest …whatever… not so much.

3.) Most of them are still on MySpace. They like the customization capabilities, & everyone they know is still there. Even though most of the college age & older considers MySpace the “Detroit of the Internet,” their younger counterparts haven’t made the switch.

4.) They’re unbelievably fickle. If it was Naruto last month, don’t think that’s still true this month – they’ve probably moved on to Deathnote, & now think the knuckleheaded ninja is lame. Everything changes at the same breakneck pace these days – even if Twilight shows no signs of relenting.

5.) The best way to figure out what’s going on is to ask them. I know a lot of teens are into Second Life, but the ones around here have never even heard of it. What’s hot in some places hasn’t made it big where you are yet – & maybe never will. I adore the Luxe series, but I can’t get any of them to pick it up.

I’ll do more of these in the future – just thought I’d start with some of the broader ones.