Sadly enough, I did not celebrate Teen Read Week this year.

I just started a new job as a youth services librarian a few weeks ago. Before I started, I was making all of these plans about things that I wanted to do and what teen services needed a lot of work. My friend, who is also a youth librarian, tried to convince me to not make any plans for at least six months because chances are, I’ wouldn’t’ be able to accomplish any of them. Of course, I’ didn’t’ listen. I was going to hit the ground running. That’s what I did. Tried to do. And now I’m running through molasses.

She was completely right. Almost a month after starting,’ I’ve’ done more work for toddlers than I have for teens. It turns out that the job that I thought was going to be teen-centric is more birth-through-teen-centric. Okay, no big deal. I can work with that. Little kids are adorable, and I love storytime. Plus, I have a middle school anime group that the high school anime group organizes. It’s not a whole lot of work for me, but at least I’m getting face-time. Read More →

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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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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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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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

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