Teen Read Week: Focus on Dollar Store Grant Winner, Cathy Andronik

In honor of Teen Read Week and all the creative ideas librarians are busy planning and implementing this time of year, the Teen Read Week committee decided that we would post interviews with some of the winners of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Teen Read Week grant. Ten librarians won $1,000 to implement their idea for Teen Read Week within their communities, but why only list their names in the official press release? We know you want to know what their grant-winning idea was, so this week and next week, be sure to check the YALSA blog as we pepper you with the interviews where we give you all the details.

The lovely Cathy Andronik
The lovely Cathy Andronik

First up, is Cathy Andronik from Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, CT. The two high schools in this urban area about an hour north of New York City each serve around 1700 students and the librarians frequently share good ideas, including their lunchtime book clubs. This could very well be because they used to work in the same school, as Cathy explains. “Until about three years ago, there were two librarians at each high school; then budget cuts forced a staff reduction to one per high school.’  Seniority enters the picture, and my wonderful colleague ended up at our crosstown rival.’  She and I had run a lunchtime book club together for several years already, sometimes through a YALSA grant, other times scrounging money wherever we could find it.’  We worked so well together, we promised each other that somehow we would find a way to combine our two clubs.”

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Trading Spaces: Visiting Each Other’s Libraries

Gretchen came up with the idea of visiting Erin when we found out that our libraries (in southern Connecticut and southwestern Massachusetts respectively) are not terribly far from one another. We were looking for a cultural exchange: to see what was new and exciting in each other’s libraries and teen programs. It’s also just fun to meet Internet friends in real life. (Thanks for introducing us, YALSA and Twitter!) Here’s what we found.

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Give them books, give them wings

The title is a quote from Paul Hazard’s groundbreaking work, BOOKS, CHILDREN AND MEN. I saw evidence of how books give teens wings yesterday when I spoke to an after school book club of about 100 teens. At the end of my booktalks (and their reaction was too terrific; you can read more at my blog: www.professornana.livejournal.com), they each received door prizes. They had choices of books and there were also some passes to movie theaters, iTunes cards, Starbucks and the like. The things left until the bitter end were the gift cards, folks.

This school district spent lots of money getting books into the hands of kids and then bringing in some visiting authors. Nothing too technical or elaborate. The results, though, are incredible.

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne