With just two weeks left until Teen Read Week 2012 is upon us, it’s time to start putting some real enthusiasm behind your promotion! Besides the traditional print materials like flyers, signs and bookmarks (don’t have yours yet? There’s still time to place orders with the ALA store!), and paper press releases, how else can you spread the word to teens throughout your community?

  • Facebook reaches virtually all of your teen users. The simplest way to let your teens know about TRW through FB is by sharing some of YALSA’s posts and links. But you can also use Facebook to advertise the events going on in your building or classroom, promote some great reads like Teens’ Top Ten, and share pictures of teens “reading for the fun of it” around town.
  • Many libraries connect with their communities through Patch, an online news source featuring local news, events, and topics of interest. Many even welcome guest writers to submit articles.
  • Twitter is a great tool that your library may already be using. Get news out to the masses through words and images, featuring books, audiobooks, ebooks, free downloads, great literature and media apps, and more with simple, short tweets.
  • Interactive displays can really attract attention to Teen Read Week and Teens’ Top Ten. Make them flashy (with bright colors as backgrounds, or even some glitter thrown about), make them loud (maybe not, but be sure to include audiobooks!), and use more than just traditional library materials by including some fun props. Try displaying Halloween masks when featuring spooky titles or plastic food when displaying cookbooks, for example. Take pictures of your display and add them to your library’s tumblr or Pinterest accounts!
  • Programming in the weeks leading up to TRW can be great promotion, too. Prior to TRW, hold a Mock Award’  or book discussion event to hash out what your teens think the top 10 teen titles should be.

It’s not too late to put some of ALA’s Teen Read Week publicity tools to use. Tell us what you are doing to promote TRW in your schools and libraries in the comments!

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

This has been a rough week in my school. In our county, four teenagers have committed suicide in the space of a week, apparently unrelated in any way to one another. Yesterday, our school, which has thankfully been untouched aside from having students who were friends with some of the victims, had an assembly where we delivered the message of the resources the school had available, a brief religious message (we are a private independent school), and then sent our students into small advisor groups for discussion. Coincidentally, the entire U.S. Army engaged in suicide prevention education as well, having experienced in 2012 some of the highest suicide rates in its history.

When I heard of the army’s situation, the first thought which occurred to me was that the military is full of adolescents, the age group to whom I provide library services. Many members of the military are new recruits 18 or 19 years of age, placing them firmly in the age range of adolescent development. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Since the YALSA mission statement clearly states that its “mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18,” this at risk age group is our target demographic.

I guess the fact that I was thinking about suicide while also pondering the upcoming programming for Banned Books Week and Teen Read Week made me wonder how these two disparate ideas could be linked. But while intellectual freedom programming or celebrating recreational reading don’t seem to have much impact on preventing suicide, in a small way they do. In fact it relates to my personal mission as a librarian, which includes the statement.

There is no such thing as too many caring adults in a student’s life.

Hopefully our programming, no matter how fluffy or serious it may be, includes a plan to reach out to a variety of interests and personality types in our target group. My “It Came from the Library” brainstorming will include my Library Advisory Board (LAB), a group of students specifically chosen for their friendly personalities and variety of activities and interests. By constructing a board which possesses multiple layers of diversity, their guidance and ideas automatically assists me in reaching different groups of students. Add to that their goal of developing themed programming which includes as many students as possible, and I’m putting their brainpower to work making the library as inclusive as it can be.

So I’m turning to my TRW Manual and my LAB for ideas that will make my library a fun sanctuary for everyone in the hope that my efforts will be not only informative and enjoyable, but help every student who enters this space realize that he or she is deeply cared about. Caring can come from the library, too.

Courtney L. Lewis, Director of Libraries, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA.

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Teen Read Week is less than a month away! It isn’t too late to plan a great week of fun activities for the teens at your library. This year the TRW theme is It Came From the Library…Dare to Read for the Fun of It!‘  YALSA has created a Teen Read Week Ning that is full of information, ideas and events you can use in your library. You can also share your own ideas and let others know what you are planning through the Ning.’  YALSA has also created a TRW Pinterest board that includes hundreds of examples of activities to do with your teens throughout the week. ‘ 

The Teens’ Top Ten is a teen choice list and the top 10 titles will be announced during Teen Read Week 2012. Create a display for the 24 nominated titles and encourage your teens to read and select their own top ten. Here at my library, QR codes linking to book trailers are the “in” thing. More and more books have trailers created by the author or publishing house you can access via YouTube. The trailers that create the most excitement and traffic in my library are the student and teacher created ones using Animoto and iMovie. ‘ Create a QR code that will play the book trailer when scanned using a QR generator like i-Nigma and attach the QR code to the cover of the book.’  ‘ Hold a book trailer contest and let teens vote on their favorite trailers then announce the winners during Teen Read Week when the Teens’ Top Ten is revealed. Our winning book trailers will be placed via QR code onto bookmarks featuring the Teens’ Top Ten title to keep the excitement going all year long.

Amanda Kordeliski

School has just ended this week, but plans are already afoot for next year – particularly working with my student library assistants on monthly programming ideas. After reading Teen Read Week posts from Courtney and Kate, I thought of ways I could collaborate with staff and students on projects that will have people in our school community saying “It Came from the Library.”

Students are planning a series of DIY projects for Lunchtime Learning Lessons (L3). They found a lot of great ideas on the TRW Pinterest board: personalizing bland book ends, découpaging picture frames, and creating paint chip bookmarks to name a few.

One of the big events we are collaborating with district high school librarians on is the Second Annual All School Read-In that I shared for last year’s TRW celebration. This day-long event combines a cozy spot to read with great books and fun treats. Considering how well zombies lend themselves to this year’s theme, I will make sure to have VooDoo doll doughnuts on hand – perhaps with some extra icing so students can customize these culinary creations.

To promote the Read-In, we are planning a silk screening session that will incorporate student artwork. One of my students, along with teachers from the art department, will be volunteering in the library to help make this program a success. Our main inspiration for this DIY-craft came from an event at the end of this school year. In preparation for a protest march decrying budget cuts, students designed a logo and spent time during lunch and after-school helping the school community print posters and t-shirts with this design. Having a central image helped create a shared message that united all the public schools in our city. We are looking to forward to creating the same buzz for recreational reading.

Our hope for all the L3 projects next year (whether we are sporting our rad silk-screened t-shirts or slipping an awesome bookmark into library books) is that people will stop us and ask “Where did you get that fabulous creation? ” to which we will exclaim “It came from the library!”

Paige Battle, NBCT Librarian, Grant High School, Portland, OR and Teen Read Week Committee Member

I just returned to work after spending three invigorating days participating in the New Jersey Library Association’s annual conference. I was able to catch up with some good friends and colleagues, meet some new people who traveled far and wide to present and attend the conference programs, and attended some fabulous presentations. And from all different corners throughout the conference, there seemed to be a resounding chorus of “Say YES!”

Last week, Courtney wrote about the importance of collaboration. Discussing ideas and perspectives with others – both inside and outside of librarianship – can allow for the creation of some unique and creative ways of doing programming, building collections, and interacting with teens in our libraries. Sometimes these unique and creative ways of doing things can be intimidating, whether because we ourselves are hesitant to try something new, or our administration is holding us back, or our building, staffing, or schedules are less-than accommodating. But at some point, we need to bust out our advocacy skills and stop taking “no” for an answer when we want to do something cool in our libraries for teens! And Teen Read Week is a great opportunity to create some fun within our libraries and our communities.

Take all of the creativity from your professional peers and your teens and start thinking outside the box. Host an after-hours or all-night event to kick-off (or wrap-up) Teen Read Week this October! Incorporate Banned Books Week and start discussions or demonstrations about censorship and the freedom to read what we want. Collaborate and host joint programs among schools, public libraries, and community groups outside the physical building. Expand to mobile spaces and incorporate technology in ways that will entice your teens to not just attend a program, but also actively participate in its development and execution. Big displays like library flashmobs, emptying shelves, zombie crawls, read outs, and library hugs all created buzz last year. What will your library do in October 2012?

Don’t JUST say “yes,” say “yes, and . . .” and keep thinking of bigger and better ways to create ways to promote reading and library usage to our teens. It is during this week that we take so much pride in encouraging teens to “Read for the Fun of It,” so let’s make sure to make it FUN! Interact with your teens, interact with your colleagues, interact with your administration, interact with your community and really DO something to create some fabulous opportunities to connect during Teen Read Week. Take a look at these slides from a presentation seen at the Connecticut and New Jersey Library Association Conferences; if you can incorporate these 50 Awesome Things into everything you do, be proud to share all of your ideas about programming, collection, displays, contests, services, and advocacy efforts . . . and loudly declare that “It Came from the Library!”

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

As the school year winds down for me, it’s easy to get caught up in the last minute whirlwind of final exams, papers, coercing materials returns, and talking my wonderful faculty off the proverbial ledge.

But when I’m really on my game, I begin thinking about the first couple of months of the next school year and cataloging what, if anything, I need to do to lay a foundation for successful programming. Teen Read Week is always an event that sneaks up on me (and I’m on the committee, for goodness sake!) since it usually happens mid to late October and I’m in full project swing by then.

After over a decade of being a school librarian, I can chalk up my success to that much-overused word, collaboration. For me, collaboration just means using the network of relationships I already have with my teachers and students and searching for any new relationships in my community that will help me do my job which, in the case of Teen Read Week, is promoting recreational reading.

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The Burlington Public Library in Burlington, Massachusetts has planned some exciting Teen Read Week events.

This is what we’ve shared with our teens:
Help us celebrate Teen Read Week from October 16-22. This year’s theme is: Picture It @ Your Library!

Teen Read Week Book Talk, Monday, October 17th from 3:30-4:15pm. Come to the Book Talk and learn more about graphic novels! Feel free to bring your own graphic novels to share.

‘ Teen Animanga Club – with giveaways! Don’t forget to check out this month’s Teen Animanga Club! Drop by the library Thursday, October 20 from 2:45-4pm!

Teen Read Week Party! Friday, October 21st from 3-4:30pm. Celebrate the end of Teen Read Week with some food and fun!

In addition, we are running a: Picture It! Contest

The Picture It! Contest will run from Sunday, October 16th to Saturday, October 22nd. Choose a favorite scene/quote from a book and illustrate it. Entry forms (including contest rules) will be available in the library starting Sunday, October 16th.

Please click here for the entry form.


Our public library regularly hosts film festivals for teens, offering them a choice of a variety of movies and allowing them to decide which to view that evening. We provide snacks and some quality company. For Teen Read Week, we focused on movie choices that were stories that originated as novels, including I Am Number Four and Flipped (the latter title was a huge hit with summer reading this past year). The focus of the PICTURE IT Film Festival was to point out that movies and books are two different perspectives on telling a story. For many readers, stories are told beautifully with words that allow us to create our own scenery and become connected to characters in our own ways. For just as many viewers, stories are told through images, colors, actions, and emotions portrayed directly through our physical senses. The stories are the same, but the perspectives are often vastly different. Some readers (and viewers) simply enjoy a different method of storytelling over another. It’s up to the readers and viewer to internalize the story in their own way, whether it’s read, seen, or both!

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Cookies!Teen Read Week is the preferred week in our library calendar, largely because students refer to it as “cookie week”.’  I am not above using shameless bribery to get kids into the library, particularly during the first two months of school, and I am the first to admit that my killer recipe for chocolate chip cookies has played a key role in my success as a librarian.

To my mind, theme weeks are a gift from the ALA gods.’  Banned Books Week is my preferred method for teasing newbies into the library space in September (my library advisory board’s favorite display is all the books taught in our English curriculum which are banned in other schools or public libraries – it makes them feel like James Dean-esque rebels), but October is all about reading for fun, and that means playing up Teen Read Week in a big, big way.

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YALSA’s website states that Teen Read Week 2011 will be celebrated at thousands of public and school libraries, classrooms, and bookstores across the country. ‘ As Kool and the Gang might sing…YAHOO! Let’s all celebrate and have a good time!

There's a party goin' on right here!Unfortunately, when adults think about teens and parties, it often involves a mental connection to negative teen behaviors. ‘ Providing a safe and positive event for teens to interact socially can be challenging, but extremely worthwhile for teens and also the community that surrounds them.

This week, the library system I work for hosted its second annual Teen Read Week Lock-in, and over 120 students joined us for a massive celebration with games, dancing, face painting, scavenger hunts, crafts, and prizes. Across my social networks, I’ve seen hundreds of posts from other libraries about their Teen Read Week celebrations. These included DJ’s, concerts, read-a-thons, carnivals, costume parties, anime & movie showings, and so much more. ‘ Many of these events have been planned months and years ahead of time, and I am consistently amazed at the level of creativity & expertise of my colleagues.

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