TRW 2011: Fine Amnesty


This year, I pushed for a “Fresh Start” fine amnesty for the teens, & with several meetings & lots of finagling with various policies, we made it happen!

Our idea for this was that there are lots of teens who can’t use their cards because of old fines or because of family issues, & quite frankly, that sucks! Our library is in a very high-poverty area, & as soon as they hit $25 in fines, they’re “sent” to collections. In some cases, that’s one book with some extra in overdue fines, & if you have no money, you definitely can’t pay it off. Add that to the fact that we can’t actually collect money from minors in collections, & we’re looking at a lot of money sitting that we’re never going to get. We went into meetings overflowing with positive vibes & just about everyone agreed! Some kinks needed worked out, but overall, it went swimmingly!

Here’s how it worked:
1. We offered this at every library location during Teen Read Week.
2. Because of how our library card policies are, we could only include teens ages 13-17.
3. I created a brief survey, & every teen with fines could fill it out & return it to our circulation desk to see if they were eligible.
4. We decided that we would waive up to $50 in fines.
5. Teens who did not have a card any more could have a new card free of charge, in addition to the $50 fine waiver.
6. As this is a one-time-only fresh start, the code “TRW2011” was added to their records. (I’m definitely hoping to make this an annual thing)
7. At our library, if any member of the family is in collections, we block all cards. For teens who could no longer use their cards because of this, if they completed the survey, they were unlinked & given access once more.

Over our five branches, bookmobile, & main location, we had about three dozen teens participate & waived approximately $1000 in fines. So many of my “regular” teens who are constantly here can check out books once more, & it’s just so thrilling to see happy teens checking out stacks of new stuff!

Books with Beat!

Teen Read Week is upon us! What are you up to this year? I’m running a month-long giveaway disguised as a survey of their music tastes. Music is probably the most challenging to figure out; you can’t just judge what’s on the radio any more. A good part of my “usual” teens just keep bouncing from Japanese star to Korean teeny-bopper week to week, & we can’t get a lot of that music in our library. In return for filling out a three question survey (favorite musician, favorite book, favorite part of the library), I’ve giving away a prize pack of books & other various stuff I’ve always got lying around.

As part of our usual “Teens on Tuesday” programming, I’m doing our own version of Silent Library.

Here are my notes on what I’m planning to do:

Silent Library

I’ll hand out cards; whoever gets the skull & crossbones must complete the challenge! You can only win a prize when you complete the challenge without laughing. NO ONE is allowed to make a lot of noise (silent laughter!), if you laugh too loud, you’ll forfeit your chance to win!

Round 1: Eat an oreo without your hands
Round 2: Wrap someone in toilet paper, using the whole roll, in two minutes
Round 3: Write your full name with your feet as legibly as possible within 90 seconds
Round 4: 3 pieces of bubble gum; blow five bubbles within 60 seconds
Round 5: Rattle Race: attach a shaker to your knee; make it to the finish line without making a noise. If noise is made, start again. Everyone who finishes within 2 minutes wins!
Round 6: Eat 5 brussels sprouts, one at a time, within 2 minutes

Final Round: Lifesaver Relay!
Includes everyone, divided into two teams
Everyone sit in a row at the table, with teams on either side. Put a toothpick in between your teeth. The first person, without using their hands, picks up a lifesaver with the toothpick. Once they get it, the next person does the same thing. First team to finish wins the prize!

For every challenge they complete, they’ll win a small prize (pencil, candy, etc). Nothing too bizarre, gross, or painful, but it ought to be fun!

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!! :)