A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week is all about the books! From “New Year, New You” book displays to reading challenges and mock book awards, Instagram has been full of images of books for the last week. The transition into the new year provides an opportunity to make resolutions and try something new in the upcoming months. Libraries are using the start of the year to their advantage by showing patrons everything they have to offer including print collections, digital resources, and language learning tools.

Patrons who make a resolution to read more may be looking for “something different” to read and be open to suggestions that expand their horizons. One fun way to encourage patrons to pick up books unlike their usual selections is to host a reading challenge. Popular reading challenges include Popsugar’s Ultimate Reading ChallengeBook Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge which all provide participants with a list of categories such as “A book based on a fairy tale” (from Popsugar’s list) or “A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller” (suggested by Modern Mrs. Darcy) to guide book selection. The Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge asks participants to state the number of books they would like to read during the year and other challenges, such as the Hub Reading Challenge, provide a list from which participants select titles.

While there are a number of established reading challenges that can be shared with patrons, some libraries opt to create their own list. By doing so, libraries have an opportunity to include items that highlight all areas of the collection, not just print materials. For instance, categories such as “Check out a magazine on Zinio,” “Download free music from Freegal,” or “Find a book to read through NoveList” can either remind or introduce patrons to all the library has to offer. This is important because, as the Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, today’s libraries should house collections that not only meet the needs and interests of teen patrons through print collections, but also through video and audio collections, databases, and e-content. Teens can even be involved in selecting the categories for the reading challenge which can drum up interest in participating.

Finally, leading up to the ALA Youth Media Awards, several libraries hosted mock book award groups who selected their picks for the 2016 winners. This is another way to engage teens in discovering books that they many not select under normal circumstances as well as an opportunity to educate them about the purpose of each award.

Does your library offer a reading challenge or mock book award discussion group? We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section below.


Watch the live webcast of the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 11 at 8:00am Eastern time.


About Meaghan Darling

Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library in Sparta, New Jersey.

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