A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we're looking at how libraries can use Instagram as a platform for readers' advisory. An interesting example that popped up this week comes from the UK. In the United States National Bullying Prevention Month takes place during October, but the UK holds Anti-Bullying Month throughout November with National Anti-Bullying Week falling during the third week (November 17-21 this year). As a way to raise awareness and spark discussions about bullying, Sarah Churchill, a bibliophile with a book-focused YouTube channel, started the Anti Bullying Readathon for which participants would read books with bullying themes. A Goodreads group was created and more than 700 members have created a list of 150 books that touch on bullying for a variety of reading levels. Participants engaged in discussions and shared their reading on social media using #AntiBullyReads. Engaging readers in an active discussion, developing themed reading challenges, as well as posting images of recommended books and resources available in the library are excellent ways for libraries to reach patrons on Instagram for readers' advisory.

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A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. From cupcakes to duct tape and candy sushi to spin art, this week we're looking at how libraries advertise for teen programs, show off what participants made, and recruit new members for TAB and TAG groups. Does your library have an Instagram account specifically your teen population or TAB group? Who decides what gets posted on there?

Secondly, we mustache you... are you doing anything special for MOvember? If yes, please don't shave it for later! We want to see your crafts, displays, and decorations in the comments section below.

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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Collecting Marvel and DC Comics for Teens

This October, DC announced its movie lineup through 2020, and Marvel did the same through 2019. Both publishers also have TV shows both on the air and in development.

The surge of adaptations has opened up the world of superhero comics to a whole new audience, as have recent reboots aiming to make these comics more accessible to new readers. (Note that I use the word "comics" as it is my preferred term, but calling them "graphic novels" is also appropriate.) Reboots make collection development easier for librarians who are understandably confused by the intricate histories, unclear chronologies, and intertwining universes of Marvel and DC. Librarian review sources tend to shy away from these publishers, making it even harder for us to know what to collect. Yet Diamond Comics Distributors's industry statistics show that DC and Marvel together make up about 2/3 of the market. (Diamond is the largest comic book distributor in the U.S.)

I collect comics for teens in two public libraries, and I have found that building a solid set of Marvel and DC titles has not only provided patrons with reading materials they want, but has also drawn in some teens who might otherwise not be reading for fun at all. It takes a little time and research to become familiar enough with these comics to build a strong collection, but it's well worth the investment. Here's some info to get you started.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians' navigating' this social media platform. This week we're all about those book displays! Are your displays getting patrons in the fall spirit, providing inspiration for costumes and pumpkin carvings, or taking' the opportunity to spotlight horror novels? What's the coolest non-holiday display you've put together? Share with us in the comments section. We liked these ones a latte.

In honor of Teen Read Week which kicked off yesterday, October 12 and runs through October 18, we're highlighting a few 'grams of programs in the works and a few ideas from last year.

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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“…as far as I can tell, a young adult novel is a regular novel that people actually read.” – Stephen Colbert

A PBS articleteenreadweek over the weekend looked at the growing popularity of young adult fiction with adults. To any librarian with YA experience, this news comes as no surprise. We all know that the amazing quality of good YA literature has broad appeal. There are times when I feel like I am getting away with something because the nature of my work involves promoting this genre. You might get this feeling, too.

Speaking of work, Teen Read Week is nearly upon us! The' AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Collaboration' (SPLC Committee for short) presents this Top Ten list of ways you can promote Teen Read Week. Please note that none of these ideas are uniquely ours, but rather are great ideas we have come across over the years:

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians' navigating' this social media platform. From #librarianproblems to fun programs and new books to book messes, librarians are sharing really neat ideas through their accounts. Following library hashtags won't just provide inspiration, but can also highlight different ways to showcase your library to the public. Is that just a photo of your desk or is it a behind the scenes look at the Youth Services office? Can that photo you just posted of your craft sample be turned into an advertisement for the program? You see new books to cover, they see a heads up on new books to check out! Which library hashtags do you follow most frequently?

This week we're also looking at posts for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and the upcoming Star Wars Reads Day III (October 11).

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians' navigating' this social media platform. This week we explore posts that serve to educate and excite patrons about about a few of those important annual library themes -- Banned Books Week (September 21-27), Library Card Sign-Up Month (September), and this year's teen summer reading theme, Spark A Reaction. While there is no shortage of summer reading posts to be found, the posts below spotlight teens in action or showcase a unique reading motivator. Would you eat crickets if your teens outread you?

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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Teen Read Week is coming up October 12-18, and libraries are encouraged to use the theme “Turn Dreams into Reality” to share our knowledge, resources, services, and collections with teens in an effort to promote reading for fun. As professionals working with teens in the library, each of us curates our own personal collection—in folders and binders, dog-eared books and browser bookmarks, or just in our haphazardly cataloged heads—of resources that guide us in promoting reading. Yet as we inform our patrons about the epic books in our collection, the multiple formats in which they can check out our materials, and the research on the college success of avid readers, let's not forget that some of our greatest resources are the very subjects of our resource-sharing: the teens themselves.

It's an easy thing to forget since, as library professionals, we like to think of ourselves as the experts. In many things, we are. And in some, we aren't. You know that book that won dozens of awards but you just can't get any teens to pick up? How about the poorly-written piece of fluff that they can't get enough of? In the end, we can only guess at what will go over well. Each person has his or her own individual taste, but more often than not, teens' tastes will be more similar to one another's than adults' tastes will be to teens'.

Our goal during Teen Read Week is to promote reading for pleasure, and the only way to do that is to help connect teens with books they like. There may be a time and place for encouraging teens to read “healthier” books than the ones they want—that's up for debate. But this week isn't that time. If we want teens to learn that reading is fun, we need to think like teens. And while we can't entirely re-wire our brains (and probably wouldn't want to, having been through that angsty stage of life once already), many of us are lucky enough to spend enough time around teens that we have easy access to two simple techniques: observe and ask. Read More →

I'm Rob Lockhart, the Creative Director of Important Little Games. ' If you were to follow me on twitter, I'd be grateful.

Any adaptation from one form of media to another is bound to cause friction. ' If you travel in the circles I do, you'll come across people who greet the various adaptations of the stories they love with either love or hate (and very occasionally indifference). ' You might meet someone who loves The Lord of the Rings films, but not care for the books, and disdain the mention of The Lord of the Rings Online MMO. ' Personally, I've always been of the opinion that a good adaptation is one that preserves the spirit of the work, rather than the specifics.

Recently, I've embarked on a project that combines two great loves. ' It is an educational videogame which borrows tone and themes from some of the greatest YA fantasy novels I've encountered. ' Researching that project has given me the opportunity to make observations about videogames, fantasy novels, and the commonalities between them.

In this blog post, I've undertaken to map some popular games to books which I feel carry the same spirit, if not the details. ' And while Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones inspired games of their own, many great games and novels in the fantasy genre have never crossed media boundaries. ' Lets take a look at some great games that might suggest some great books to read. ' Basically, I think if you like the game on the left, you'll like the book on the right.

A quick note: Some of the games on this list are pretty violent, and I'm not endorsing the violence in these games. ' But, given the reality that teens are playing these games, I'm perfectly comfortable using them as touchstones for book recommendations. ' Please consult the ESRB and PEGI ratings of a game to determine whether it is age appropriate.


Fable -> The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


Both Fable and The Name of the Wind depict a young boy, adrift and nearly alone in a hostile city. ' That is the lowest that the main characters get. ' From there, the characters use their wit and their skills to escape poverty and the city itself. ' After that, they learn to use magic, and to defend themselves against others who know magic, too. ' They also share a frame story - that all of this is a tale being told of a legendary hero.

Even beyond the plot, Fable and The Name of the Wind share a fundamental tone. ' There is, for example, an underlying optimism in both. ' A layer of tension and dread coats it over at times, but is always scraped off to let the hope shine through.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft -> The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill


Much has been written about this 10-year-old online gaming phenomenon, but there is much to learn just from the title. ' Though you may choose to play otherwise, the primary occupation in the World of Warcraft is War. ' War is also the subject of the Icemark Chronicles. ' In both cases, the war is turned mostly by diplomacy, as treaties must be made between factions in order to tip the balance of victory. ' In both cases the world is full of truly odd creatures (and you might be one of them).


Dishonored-> Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson


Dishonored is a fairly recent game about an assassin who gains magical abilities. ' In Mistborn, Vin finds out she has magical abilities and uses them to become, in essence, an assassin. ' Both have stealth and combat as major components of the experience, and the magical abilities wielded by the main characters are very similar in function. ' From what I hear, Mistborn is also set to become a videogame of its own. ' I can only hope they are as successful in portraying the power and the vulnerability of being Mistborn as well as Dishonored unwittingly did.


Bioshock Infinite -> His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass etc.) by Philip Pullman

In all the most superficial senses, these two have nothing in common. ' The reason I paired them was because they both have a deep sense of--the word that comes to mind is brokenness. ' Both of these tales introduce a self-consistent world, and then break it. ' Only tiny cracks appear at first, but over the course of the story, the reality that the author has created comes away in shards and reveals a deeper reality beneath.

God of War

God of War -> Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I haven't seen the 'Percy Jackson' films, but two aspects of the books are, it seems, totally indispensable. ' The first is the presence of aspects of ancient Greek mythology. ' The second is the feeling of taking on an invincible enemy and, against all odds, winning. ' Battling Gods in forms that are a hundred times larger than oneself and infinitely more powerful is an exhilarating feeling (with the safety and security you can only get by experiencing a work of fiction), and both of these works illustrate that feeling exceptionally well.


Minecraft -> Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Minecraft has certainly become a phenomenon. ' You can hardly swing a pickaxe these days without hitting a grade-schooler playing Minecraft. ' Narratively, there's almost nothing going on in Minecraft. ' Players fill that void with stories of their own, literally crafting their experience to taste. ' So how, in his right mind, can someone recommend a book -- a linear narrative -- based on that?

Firstly, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an excellent book, and I hardly feel I need a reason to recommend it outside of its own merit. ' However, there is something I think that makes the link between them a logical one: The feeling of exploring a world anew and learning to shape that world, bit by bit. ' In the game, that's the virtual space you find yourself in. ' In Ms. Clarke's novel it's the realm of the supernatural that Jonathan Strange dives into. ' In both cases, that new realm is a hostile one, but after earning a measure of mastery one begins to delight in its strangeness.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy -> The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

An epic and well-loved series of games deserves an epic and well-loved series of books. ' While there have been a few games set in the world of Narnia, none truly captured the feeling of managing a group of people with unique strengths and weaknesses. ' Final Fantasy games are often chess-like in their tactical decision-making, and The Chronicles of Narnia, too, often feel like a game of chess being played against the White Witch.


The Legend of Zelda -> Redwall by Brian Jacques

The Legend of Zelda is one of the longest-running game franchises, created by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto (who also created Donkey Kong and Mario). ' The franchise stands apart in its depiction of a high fantasy world with an innocence that few others match. ' It's fairly unique to have a hero who wields so many deadly weapons and yet commits so few acts of actual violence. ' I think Redwall shares that innocence, not because it casts the characters as field rodents and other small animals, but in the manner of adventures they have. ' Freeing, unambiguously righteous, and always more about love than hate.


Skyrim -> Beowulf by Anonymous

Admittedly, Beowulf was not written as a work of Young Adult Fantasy. ' However, there are several modern translations which bring the prose into a similar milieu as The Wizard of Earthsea or Juniper. ' It is clearly a fantastical tale of heroism, with a healthy dose of Messianic prophecy. ' It's also a sprawling tale, involving travel to the bottom of a lake and across Scandinavia. ' Both are also primarily concerned with the business of kicking butt, including Dragon Butt.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls -> The Abhorsen Trilogy (Sabriel, etc) by Garth Nix

Behind enemy lines,the main character must use unique abilities to defeat hordes of undead enemies. ' The fate of the world depends on the ringing of a few magical bells. ' At this point, I could be talking about either Dark Souls or The Abhorsen Trilogy, which is why I think fans of Dark Souls will enjoy Garth Nix's fantastic series.




Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 2.30.06 PM
Title: Wattpad
Platforms: iOS and Android, also web-based
Cost: Free

This spring, a student asked me if I knew about After, the One Direction fanfic "everyone was reading on Wattpad." Then I saw Clive Thompson looking for people who were publishing on Wattpad... and I fell into the rabbit hole that is the reading/writing/commenting site.

After had already landed author Anna Todd a three-book deal, but that wasn't the only interesting thing about Wattpad.
Probably not surprisingly based on its fanfiction roots, YA is especially strong on Wattpad. The influences are somewhat predictable. One young writer named daven whose "story" (as all narratives as labeled) December I particularly liked, had a profile pic featuring her with Rainbow Rowell.
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