Ok...admission time. I HATE teen summer reading. Summer time for teens can be complicated -- volunteering, working, summer school (for extra credit to get ahead even), babysitting younger siblings, and having fun with their friends. If teens enjoy reading during their leisure time, the simple fact is that they will do it anyway. Reader teens might appreciate prizes for doing something they would already do, but no free books or gift cards will make them read more. Also, no prizes are going to make teens read during the summer when they don't like it or have other things that they need to do. I know this might seem anecdotal, but I have actual numbers to support this once we got rid of teen summer reading for something else...so hold on to socks!
Maker Fairs in the library are a great way to attract multiple demographics at one time -- whether children, parents, or even teens! Creativity coupled with risk-free exploration and real-life results allow for Maker Fairs to be well-loved and well-attended.
Yet, times when teens would want to enjoy the Maker Fair and times when families with younger children want to attend can vary wildly. So...how exactly can you frame this type of event to aim directly at teens and make SUPER SURE that they stop by?
Displays are definitely a way of life in many libraries. The ambitious library staffer might be creating anywhere between 10 and 15 each year -- some might be making even MORE!
However, others might be designing less displays due to being spread thin elsewhere. It is really hard to keep up with displays when you are stuck in a swirling vortex of programming entropy.
These arrangements, of course, can vary from year to year or even month to month.
I've gone through all the displays that I've made over the years...and here are my top six:
Even though it was only the later books in the series that were classified as Y.A., Harry Potter really exploded the teen book-to-movie phase in Hollywood. Soon after the Harry Potter movies became ubiquitous, we got Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Fault in Our Stars, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Giver......I could go on and on.
However, with the downfall of BOTH the Divergent and Maze Runner movie franchises (especially in such quick succession), movie executives seemed to get cold feet about teen books becoming films. The ones that did come out were low-budget and tended to lack any real marketing support (Darkest Minds, much?).
Things seem to be turning around this year though! Here are some of the Y.A. book-to-movie adaptations that I'm looking forward to...
Live Action Roleplay (LARP) is generally considered a hardcore nerd past time. Participants usually spend days, weeks, or even months creating their character, costumes, and weapons. Then, they join their friends "on the battlefield" (usually an outdoor park) to complete quests, conquer campaigns, or simply have a battle royale.
Rather than making a traditional LARP program though, I simply took the concept to make a game framework which can be re-themed for fresh, new events.
I'm one of those people who needs more than a paycheck to be happy at my job (like most librarians). It is the moments where I truly make a connection with someone or the times when I'm able to help a patron find something that they didn't even know was possible that really make me feel at one with the universe.
These moments of course don't happen every day. In fact, since I've worked in multiple public library-secondary school shared facilities, super special connections don't even happen every month -- just note, it's naturally difficult to have these moments when you are having to kick out 10 girls from a three stall bathroom when a mom can't get past the gauntlet to change her baby's diaper on the change station or when you have to notify the vice principal about students skipping classes to vape in the stacks.
With all these daily struggles, it is even more important to remember those good times -- the moments that make it all worth it.
On those bad days when I start to doubt everything in my career path, here are the 10 best warm and fuzzy moments from the past decade that I think about as a pick-me-up:
The Forest of Reading was founded and is currently spearheaded by the Ontario Library Association. The goal of the program was to get kids of all ages excited about recently released books by Canadian authors. Each division of the Forest of Reading covers several grade levels and is named for a different tree (Red Maple, Silver Birch, etc.).
The White Pine division is for high school students (grades 9 - 12). Basically, the committee scours through newer Y.A. books written by Canadians to find the best 10 picks of the year.
I'm going to be completely honest here...
Originally wanting to be the love-child of Kathy Reichs and Indiana Jones, Brooke was pulled into the magical world of library service over 12 years ago. Finding that her ultimate passion was in teen services, she did what she normally does in a heart-fueled endeavor -- ran in head-first and never looked back! Cosplayer, movie fanatic, binge watcher, Disney Worlder. Proud cat mom of Evelyn (named after the librarian character in The Mummy ).