I never thought I was going to have such a serious problem with a popular book that I almost didn’t put it on the shelves. I’m a cool, gay, sex-positive, pro-teen agency guy, I thought to myself when I was getting my MLIS, the parents may have problems with my selections, but too bad! I’m here to advocate for the students. And then I read Twilight.
I almost didn’t buy the Twilight books for my 7-8 school library. I don’t hate them because I’m a guy, or because of the excruciatingly bad prose, or the corruption of vampire mythology without acknowledging or commenting on the original, or even because Bella is such a waste of space. I hate them because of the sexual messaging they impart to teens, especially teen girls, robbing them of agency and normalizing stalking and abusive behavior.
Next month, many community organizations will have educational programs, ceremonies, and other outreach efforts to observe domestic violence (dv). While Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention week isn’t until February, there will be many awareness programs for teens next month experiencing dv. Finding out what a local dv organization is doing is a good fit for the ‘Get Active at Your Library’ theme for Teen Read Week.
At my library, a production of ‘Twist and Shout’ is performed by teen actors who tour the local schools to put on a gritty play on dating violence and then have a conversation with the student viewers along with representatives from a dv organization.
There is a great article and bibliography written this month by Tom Reynolds of Sno-Isle Regional Library in Washington available on NoveList, entitled, “Inexcusable: Rape and Dating Violence in Teen Fiction”
I had a program last year for teens where we watched the movie Speak, and then participated in a teen led discussion in partnership with a local sexual assault organization. Males and females alike, benefitted and the teens were phenomenal in guiding the talk afterward.
Wired for Youth has a bibliography and webliography for ‘Teens, Dating, and Emotional and Physical Abuse.’ They also participated in the Choose Respect Campaign launched by the CDC and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for teens to create a music video on healthy relationships.
Check out NY’s State Office for the Prevention of DV Teen Dating Violence Media Project last year.
Share your stories of working with organizations to bring awareness to domestic violence.
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki