Greetings from the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library in Rancho Cucamonga, CA! We are honored to receive this year’s Teen Read Week Grant and are excited to share our plans for our upcoming programs.

Following this year’s Teen Read Week theme “It’s Written in the Stars… READ,” our programs are centered around an outer space theme. We also chose the book Railhead by Philip Reeve (which is set in several galaxies) to be our focal point. With the help of the grant, we will be able to purchase several copies of Railhead, which will be distributed a month prior to our programs to our teens. The goal here is to provide our teens with the reading material so they can discuss and analyze the novel while relating it to their hands-on experiences during the programs.

Since our library has two branches, we decided it would be best to offer multiple programs to reach as many teens as possible in our community. The first program on Tuesday October 9th, will include a Meet and Greet and Q & A session with local experts and students who work or volunteer with NASA and at JPL. This will be followed by an outdoor program where teens will learn the parts of a telescope and how to use it by members of the Planetary Society.  Teens will be able to explore the night sky through telescopes aided by augmented reality apps and professionals. Furthermore, if the weather does not permit viewing then teens will view the solar system through Google Expedition Virtual Reality headsets. The third program on Thursday October 11th, will consist of a book club format where the teens will have the chance to speak with each other and the library staff about the book Railhead. Teens will also get a chance to talk with the author, Philip Reeve, via Twitter. The fourth and final program will give the teens the opportunity to build their own spaceship models in either virtual design or with hands on materials.

The goal for each of these programs is to spark an interest in Language Arts and Literacy by providing different methods for teens to interact with the reading material. The different programs’ setup and instruction appeal to different and unique learning styles. By having real-life interactions with experts, the author, and hands-on experiences with building materials and tools, the teens will learn how these types of experiences can help them evaluate novels in varying ways. Lastly, these programs provide an element of socialization which will enable teens to connect with peers they may not have met before, or grow stronger relationships with their existing friends, and maybe even bond with the library staff.

Overall, we aim to provide the teens with a safe and welcoming space where they know that their thoughts, opinions, and feelings matter. In addition, we hope teens will walk away from these programs having learned something that they can apply in their future experiences or studies, and that they enjoyed themselves whilst having an amazing time at the library. We are thrilled to be able to provide these programs to our community, and we look forward to reading about and seeing everyone’s Teen Read Week projects!

Teen Services Team – Brittany Garcia, Janet Monterrosa, and Margaret Hatanaka.

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