â€œâ€¦as far as I can tell, a young adult novel is a regular novel that people actually read.â€ â€“ Stephen Colbert
A PBS article 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:
- Create a display of contemporary or classic books that have been made into movies, with pictures of the movie covers, and copies of the book and the movie to borrow.
- “Speed Date” with books, where teens have a book they enjoyed reading and do a two minute book talk for another teen and rotate. Invite your colleagues from your school and/or public library to join you and help facilitate.
- Create a display of “Mystery Date” books, where teens wrap a favorite book in butcher block paper and then write words related to the novel on the wrapping. ‘ No title is included, but the barcode number can be placed on the book so it can be checked out anonymously…adds to the fun! Ask your fellow librarians at the public and/or school library to participate in their libraries as well.
- Host a â€œTeen Read-Inâ€ event, in the style of a beatnik coffee house. Students can read their own original poetry or fiction, or a passage from a favorite poem or novel. Serve coffee and refreshments (perhaps a local business might be willing to underwrite the refreshments). Invite your colleagues from the local school or public library to attend!
- Use the Tagxedo website to create book promotion fliers or images with Tagxedo word clouds. If you have a willing group of teens, they can do this by using words which are descriptive of the book. These fliers can be laminated and put in various locations for teens to see, as well as shared with your fellow school or public librarians.
- If you have access to LibGuides, create a page with video clips of popular authors of teen fiction reading from their books, giving interviews, or the like. Teens can help create the page by sending in links they find online. Create bookmarks with the guide address on it and give to your local public or school library for them to use with their teen patrons or students.
- Give teens bookmarks and ask them to write a book recommendation for their favorite book or a book they like on the back of the bookmark. Put these bookmarks out for other teens to take, or send them to your public or school library for them to share with their patrons.
- Code copies of an assortment of popular teen books with a note that the person who checks out this book is a â€œwinner.â€ (depending on your library software). The teen who checks out the book would win a small prize. Have your school and public libraries get in on the action.
- Host a t-shirt painting event. Have teens bring in a t-shirt and use fabric paint to have them make t-shirt designs promoting their favorite books. The t-shirts will need to be spread out so the paint will dry, so it will have to take place in a room where the shirts can be laid out flat. Play music or video clips from author websites while teens are working. Have teens who participate wear their shirts to school and the public library to receive recognition.
- Create a â€œTeen Read Selfieâ€ board, where teen selfies of themselves reading their favorite books. Use the selfies to create a bulletin board and display of the titles they are reading, or unusual places to read. Work with your school librarian to see if selfies could be taken within the context of an art class or other school assignment. Make sure you get permission to post their images from parents! Prizes could be used as incentives to encourage participation.
The talent in the library world is outstanding! We know you have other great ideas. Please feel free to share any below!
Dave Saia is the librarian and Heim Middle School, part of the Williamsville Central Schools, in Williamsville, New York. He is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation (SPLC). Email him at email@example.com. Currently, he is working his way through Brandon Sanderson’s The Rithmatist, and loving it!