City of Bones (FINALLY!)

Why finally? Because my teens have into this series for far longer than they’ve been into Hunger Games. They are so, so excited! I know a lot of you are probably working on movie premiere parties, as I am, so I thought I’d share what I’m planning now! 

In case you hadn’t heard yet, the movie was moved to a Wednesday release, so now it’s premiering on August 21st. I always have my programs before the movie to lessen the chance of spoilers, so if you have the same concerns, take action now! 

  • Inspired by these pewter steles, we’ll be making similar ones out of polymer clay. All you have to do is completely coat the plastic, remove the ink before you bake, & you’re good to go! 
  • Henna tattoos of the runes, with official designs available at Cassandra Clare’s site. I’m going to get some temporary tattoo pens as well, for those wary of the henna. 
  • Tarot card readings 
  • Book prizes
  • Soundtrack listening party, sprinkled in with the trailers, as we always do. 
  • Jeopardy-style trivia (traditional at all our programs)
  • Food… honestly, I don’t know. I usually try to tie the food into the story somehow (we had wedding cake for the first Breaking Dawn movie, trail mix & other wilderness-type food for Hunger Games, etc), but so far, I haven’t really found any particular food that’s in the series, other than Jace’s fondness for tea. Anyone have any ideas?

So that’s what we’re planning! What are you doing at your library?

An Evening of Awesome

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Have Nerdfighters invaded your library? They’ve certainly invaded mine! So for our kick-off party this summer, I hosted our own Nerdfighter Gathering, “An Evening of Awesome.” 

What’d we do? So glad you asked! 

  • Pizza, because after all, the answer is always pizza.
  • Charms of John’s books & Hank’s CDs (print out 1″ images, cut out, glue onto folded paper for the “cover”, then staple 4-5 pages inside. Punch a small hole & loop a jump ring through – voila! Super easy & cheap craft your teens will spend HOURS making. It’s a great “merit badge” for book clubs, too.)
  • “Okay” bracelets with TFIOS book charms
  • DFTBA bracelets & keychains (you can get specific letters at most craft stores)
  • Stamped pennies (usually with names & DFTBA)
  • Viewing of the “official” Evening of Awesome (freely available on YouTube!)
  • General nerdiness: giant Jenga & Star Trek Monopoly

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How do you figure out what your teens want?

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Image by ILoveDoodle

TALK TO THEM.

It’s not a hard concept. You don’t even need to do this in any kind of “proper” setting – just walk up to the teen you always see taking out stacks of manga & find out what’s new that they wish we stocked. I can guarantee you he’ll give you a long list of stuff, both old & new.

Show them a picture of the Hunger Games cast & see what they think.

Ask the kids always glued to the Wii if there’s something new they’d like to try.

Ask the teens sitting in your teen area, wherever that might be, what books they enjoy. You might be surprised at their answers – Hunger Games isn’t all that popular where I am, but the Fallen, Hush Hush, & Mortal Instruments series are never on the shelves.

Find out how many of them have Kindles or Nooks or iPads, & if they actually want eBooks. Maybe that’s a budget you don’t need!

Ask the kids wearing the One Piece & Naruto shirts what other anime they’d like to watch. Maybe they know something you don’t!

Ask the teens on the computer what they do online. My teens had never even heard of Second Life when it was so popular on ALA a few years ago, & they’ve moved on from Runescape to a game called Vindictus. Some of them love Angry Birds while others are loyal to Facebook Scrabble or Plants vs Zombies. A bunch of them are on a new-ish social network called Plurk, which I’ve never heard of from anywhere else. Some of them are moving on to Twitter, but most are on all three. They all love Tumblr & some still use LiveJournal for pictures & fanfic.

After visiting Hot Topic (which ought to be a regular stop for you, no matter how awkward you might feel going inside), ask them about anything you don’t know or recognize. Fair warning: if it’s in Hot Topic, it might be heading towards old news, but it’s still something you should know about.

Some of this information I glean from our teen advisory board meetings, but honestly, a lot of things, especially all the new stuff, I get just from walking up to them & asking, hey, what’s your opinion on a bookcart drill team? (They all unanimously thought it was as lame as I did.) When I see a teen reading or carrying a stack of books anywhere in the library, I walk up to them & tell them (if I don’t know them) that hey, I’m the nosy teen librarian & I want to know what you’re reading.

I constantly see, across the listservs & workshops, people asking what’s popular, what’s new, begging for updates. Honestly, the only way to know what’s what where you are is to talk to them. The teens here are different from the teens there! Anime might not even be all that popular at your library – or maybe they don’t come to your gaming programs because they all have the systems at home. I’m lucky, now, that my desk is in the teen space so I can just ask any question to any of them whenever I want, but prior to that, I used any time I had off the reference desk to be in the teen space when teens were there. I know teens can be scary & annoying & smelly, but the only way to know if their needs are being served is to ask. Ask them as they check out books what they thought of the first in the series. Talk to them when they venture to the scary ref desk to put a hold on something if they know about the upcoming program, & what they’d like to see in the future. Have a conversation while you weed if that old project is still being done – maybe there’s a whole shelf of books you don’t need anymore! Pay attention while you shelve which books are going out – & coming back looking like they’ve been read a lot. Ask the teens around if they’ve read what you’re shelving & if it was any good. Talk to them, all of them, any time you’re around them.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Things they don’t prepare you for in that YA class…

I wear a lot of hats as a teen librarian. Guidance counselor (explaining what it means to “double major”), gaming expert (what’s this Runescape that’s on all their screens?), book guru (my daughter’s read every single vampire book out there; what else would she like?), bleeding heart philanthropist (will you buy another candy bar for choir?)

Yesterday afternoon? I took the tiny braids out of one of my African-American boy’s hair. He came to me during our usual Tuesday program in a panic: “It rained & my braids got wet they have to be taken down now!”

Now, usually, doing hair of a teenager is not something I’d ever do. But I know that his mom recently left his life, & his look was so pathetic & heartbreaking… so I attacked it with the pick he offered. What an experience! My fingers ached by the time I was done with his entire head, which was covered in what felt like a million tiny, tiny braids.

At least no one can say I didn’t rise to the challenge!