Teen Read Week is a good time for young adult librarians to reflect and reinforce why they have chosen to serve teens in libraries, school or public. Many of us who have committed our careers to the field can point to a person or persons in our youth that made a significant impression upon us. Maybe a youth group leader, a scout leader, a teacher, a coach, a band or choir director, or maybe it was a librarian, who took the time to connect with us. And it made a difference.

Becoming a young adult librarian allows us to “pass it on” to generation after generation of teens. We only get a few short, fast-paced years with each of our teens, so the time we spend with them is often intense, high-energy, and, for some of us “more experienced” librarians, exhausting. But what a satisfying feeling it is to put forth the energy and effort to reach out and then a teen takes the time to reach back! It might be immediately, like when they remember to say thank you when you hand them a book or ask excitedly after a program (when all you want to do is sit down and take your shoes off), “When can we do this again?” Read More →

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more you do, the more you can do… and don’t you forget it!”
Lucille Ball

One of the biggest excuses/reasons I hear from my teens is that they just don’t have time to read!

These teens are too busy practicing, traveling to events, studying, and being involved with a myriad of other things that enrich their lives, help them be well rounded and will “look really great on their college resumes”.’  When we think of reluctant readers, we don’t often think of advanced students, and yet – there is a reluctance there as well.
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What better way to talk about Teen Read Week than to talk to a teen librarian that is hosting several programs throughout the week!! Check out what Natalie Couch from the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries ‘ in Georgia is doing….

Tell us about your Teen Read Week Programming?
My library system is focusing on zombies and other horror/thriller/paranormal themes for this year’s Teen Read Week. We are hosting the followings programs at various branches: Horror Movie Makeover Workshop, Zombie Prom, and Zombie Apocalypse Survival 101. For the Horror Movie Makeover Workshop a theater major from the local university will be demonstrating grotesque special effects techniques such as scars, cuts and bruises, bullet wounds, and the general look of the “undead.” We’ll give out cheap makeup kits as door prizes.

Our teens absolutely loved the photo booth idea we had at our final Summer Reading Program party, so we are making another one for Zombie Prom. My husband, an artist, has been recruited to create a zombie cardboard cutout for teens to pose with. We will email the images out to the teens after the program. Zombie Prom will also include gory—yet still edible—food, games, and music. The library is encouraging the teens to come dressed up as a zombie or their favorite literary character. The Horror Movie Makeover Workshop is scheduled to occur about a week before the Prom so teens can try the makeup techniques on their own.
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One of the ways we celebrated Teen Read Week at Piscataway (NJ) Public Library was to createmonster cupcakes with our teens — using plain cupcakes, frosting (and food coloring!), licorice, candy corn, candy eyes, cookies, pretzels, sprinkles, and whatever else we could find that was FUN. Scary, friendly, and creepy creations were in abundance, and the program brought more teens into our two branches than we had previously seen for a food-decorating program. We had some great giveaways of ARCs, super creative monster bookmarks for all to put together, and even some gaming . . . and it all came from the library!

Hopefully many of you were able to make it to the #TRW12 tweet-up to share great ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. Often our teens get excited about what we’re doing because we’re excited ourselves! What are you doing in your schools and libraries to encourage your teens’ enthusiasm and creativity?

– Kate Vasilik, Piscataway (NJ) Public Library, Teen Read Week 2012 Committee

As you know, this year’s Teen Read Week theme is IT CAME FROM THE LIBRARY. This theme brings to mind all kinds of monsters and scary situations and one of the scariest monster situations I can think of is a zombie apocalypse. Just think, someone you have lived with all your life or gone to school with for years all of a sudden turns on you and attacks. All it takes is a bite or a scratch and you become infected. Scary stuff. ‘ Here is a list of some of my favorite (scary) zombie books just in case you haven’t found them yet.

THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin
Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.

ASHES and SHADOWS by Ilsa Bick
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
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I don’t know about your library, but in my high school library, crafts are king. After a stressful day, there is nothing students like to do better than to relax and use their hands to create in a group of friends. When we did our Hunger Games Party on the Friday of the movie premiere, the most popular station was the Hunger Games nail art and Capitol makeup, where over 100 students got themselves all gussied up – and then went to the movie that way!

So when I considered tying into Teen Read Week, I thought that, in addition to my displays and a horror movie night, I would add in a few crafts afternoons on our early dismissal days. What should I focus on?
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Today kicks off the first day of Teen Read Week and teen librarians everywhere are working hard to promote a culture of reading among teens. The goal of having the library become a place where young adults want to spend their time is one that is often talked about among librarians. This week displays will be created and promotions for teen reading will blanket libraries. This year at my library Teen Read Week marks the first major library promotion in well over a year.

Last year my school underwent a massive, much needed renovation. Students and teachers alike dealt with construction dust, displaced classrooms, bad lighting and crowded conditions. Before the construction began we had a firmly established culture of reading in our school. One day a week was a designated reading day in homeroom and the expectation was that every student always had a book to read. Reading was the expectation that became very difficult to continue during our renovation. The majority of the library was packed up and put into storage and I operated a very small temporary library in the former teachers lounge for the majority of last year. In my high poverty school where many students had access to books only at school, it became hard to make it a requirement to have a book when so few were available in the library.
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It is a wonderful thing when science confirms what librarians and book lovers seem to know instinctually. In March, a New York Times article noted research being done in the field of neuroscience about the effect that reading fiction novels has on the brain. See “Your Brain on Fiction”.

When we read stories with detailed descriptions, metaphors, and sensory words, beyond the language parts of our brains, other parts are reacting the same as they do during an actual experience, which is why some writing feels so alive. For example, reading words like lavender or cinnamon can evoke the same response in the parts of our brains that understand smells. Reading an emotional exchange between characters can affect the same areas of our brains as if we were doing the interacting. Particularly textural metaphors activate the sensory cortex, so that descriptive phrases using words that have touch meaning for us, like leathery hands or a velvety voice, makes our brains more active, more involved in what we are reading.
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Book displays. Every librarian has created one, with good reason. They work. It’s just like the candy, gum and other small impulse items located next to the check out. You’ didn’t’ know you needed that package of wet wipes until you saw it. The same can be said of a great display of books. It’s marketing genius, and it’ doesn’t’ cost you a dime.

With Teen Read Week just around the corner it’s time to create those awesome book displays that will highlight this year’s theme – It Came From the Library, featuring both horror and mystery genres. Below is a list of’ Gothic’ titles ‘ sure to entice the most discerning patrons.
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Hello YALSA, it’s Thursday!

We’re getting closer to Teen Read Week 2012, and after the fantastic’ tweetup‘ yesterday,’ I thought I’d start celebrating early!
Are you ready for a contest that is made of awesome?

I had the honor’ of meeting our’ Teen Read Week spokesperson, John Green at the’ National Book Festival‘ in Washington, D.C. last month. He was kind enough to sign a couple of’ John Green – Reading is Awesome Posters‘ for me (in green sharpie, for those of you who are interested in that kind of information).

The awesome part: I am going to pass these on to two lucky Teen Read Week 2012 participants.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

Follow’ this link‘ to the Teen Read Week Ning. If you haven’t registered ‘ and signed up for the Ning yet- it’s not too late! Once you’ signup’ and login, look for the’ Teen Read Week – Made of Awesome Contest‘ and just comment on the post!

  • Tell me why you think Teen Read Week is awesome (one entry)
  • Double entries if your comment has a TRW related picture attached to it.
  • Triple entries if your comment has a TRW related youtube video attached to it.

Feel free to comment on the Ning post as much as you like, but’ only your first comment will count towards the drawing‘ (so make it count). If you have more questions about this contest please comment on my post here.’ ‘ I will pick the lucky winners during Teen Read Week, at noon on October 18th. Good luck everyone!

Best wishes,

Sarah Russo,‘ Howard County Library System, Teen Read Week 2012 Committee