As the school year winds down for me, it’s easy to get caught up in the last minute whirlwind of final exams, papers, coercing materials returns, and talking my wonderful faculty off the proverbial ledge.
But when I’m really on my game, I begin thinking about the first couple of months of the next school year and cataloging what, if anything, I need to do to lay a foundation for successful programming. Teen Read Week is always an event that sneaks up on me (and I’m on the committee, for goodness sake!) since it usually happens mid to late October and I’m in full project swing by then.
After over a decade of being a school librarian, I can chalk up my success to that much-overused word, collaboration. For me, collaboration just means using the network of relationships I already have with my teachers and students and searching for any new relationships in my community that will help me do my job which, in the case of Teen Read Week, is promoting recreational reading.
My Library Advisory Board and I have already tackled some preliminary brainstorming. Teachers have already been approached for posing with their favorite horror books and these will advertise our offerings and be showcased on the school website. We are going to have a community poll with various horror movies listed and the top two winners will be a “Creature Double Feature” complete with popcorn and blankets to make our own picnic style movie night.
We are also going to produce a short library video (showcased on the library website and the school website, and shown during an assembly to promote our programming that week) interviewing two of our English teachers who teach related classes, Science and Society and Novel to Film, about the meaning and importance of the horror genre. My LAB came up with the idea of also interviewing dedicated gamers who can speak about what they find so appealing about the recent trends in zombie or other horror games. A few book covers and promotion snippets about programming and we’ll have an interesting vehicle for TRW.
When we had our amazingly successful Hunger Games movie premiere party, the most popular stations were the ones where student volunteers taught flame nail polish effects and did Capitol-style makeup on participants. With that in mind, we will be offering a session prior to our horror movie double feature instructing students in horror movie makeup, complete with faux vampire bites, zombie face makeup and gory wounds. My theater faculty have friends in the local community and university theaters who are proficient in these areas and have expressed an eagerness to come and instruct. I imagine we are going to get some great pictures from this instruction!
If you can, begin talking up possible connections with teachers and students so everyone will be ready to leap into the fray of the school year. Join the Teen Read Week 2012 Ning and peruse the ALA Store items with them to help with brainstorming. You can be sure that in October it will be something great that “Came from Your Library!”
– Courtney Lewis, Director of Libraries, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA and Teen Read Week Committee Member