This is Stacy Lienemann reporting for my first in a series of posts on teen programs. My library received $1,000 from a YALSA/Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant and in this series I will discuss the programs that the grant helped fund.
Breakfast of Books was the kick-off program for our summer YA programs. I hoarded two months worth of new books (I did not include series sequels as I did not want to be murdered in the library’s YA section) and have spent the past three months (thanks to NetGalley and YA publishers) reading nonstop.
During the program I booktalked all our new books while the teens enjoyed nummy breakfast foods and first dibs on the books. The idea for the program came from Joan Light (Reference and Teen Librarian for Montrose Regional Public Library) who hosts a Sneak Peek Breakfast Book Talk. This year she introduced video book talks and book trailers. Lalitha Nataraj and Joanna Axelrod (Youth Services Librarian and Teen Services Librarian for Escondido Public Library) hold a similar program three times a year called Burritos and Books. In Escondito they give away free books (advanced readers galleys and new titles). Next year I plan on incorporating book trailers and freebies (including publisher bookmarks and other such swag).
I broke the books into themes, from Aliens to We’ve Got Issues to Romance/Romcoms. I marked all of the books that were series starters or YALSA Teens’ Top 10 Nominees (our summer reading program gives bonus grand prize entries for reading the nominees). I started with all books face down and then stood them up after I finished the book talk. As I presented 60+ books, none of which I was able to read during work hours, I could not read them all (I’m no Michael Cart). The books that I was unable to read, I quoted from review sources and credited those review sources. Teens all received handouts and request slips so they could keep track of the books as I went through them. They also received bookmarks that listed all of our summer reading program events and an evaluation form.
The teens loved hearing about the books and especially leaving the room with stacks. Breakfast of Books was a great way to introduce new authors and sell teens on books where the covers don’t grab the teens immediately. The teens were most excited over Invisibility (Cremer/Levithan), Gorgeous (Rudnick), and 17 & Gone (Suma). Our library is trying to develop YA programming that fosters reading as a social activity as well as a personal one so the enthusiasm for the books and the comraderie the teens developed at this program by talking about their favorite authors/books with teens they don’t normally hand out with was quite rewarding.