One of the best things about using Pinterest for me is that I never know when inspiration for library programming is going to strike. Whether it happens when I’m actually surfing through my feed of pins from boards I follow (and following a diversity of interests is key here) or when I’m combing through my RSS feed in the morning, I invariably find ideas that would make great programs. But how do you use Pinterest when you are actively trying to plan specific programs, particularly with Teen Read Week in mind?

Curating Information

The first use for Pinterest is as a visual board to present pre-curated ideas, one I use quite frequently with my Library Advisory Board when we are discussing possible ideas for special events. When we planned our Night of Writing Dangerously last year (an evening where kids came to do nothing but eat and write in a fun environment), I first projected my Writing Tips & Tricks Board as inspiration for their thoughts. Not only did my students have fun picking out the t-shirts and mugs that would become our prizes, but the infographics and tips had them asking if volunteer teachers could be “grammar police” someone could flag down with a question, or if we could use one of our glass walls to chart the rise and fall of a short story. My Hunger Games Library Programming Ideas Board absolutely made our party when the first movie came out (over half our school came to it) since it enabled students to plan Capitol hair and make up stations, Wii archery tournaments, and a Facebook Profile picture corner with life-size cardboard cutouts of the actors – and I owe it all to Pinterest.

Adding students or other faculty (or librarians) to a collaborative board is a terrific way of putting the power of idea generation in their hands. YALSA traditionally adds members of the Teen Read Week committee to the Teen Read Week 2013 Board and you can see the theme of “Seek the Unknown” played out largely in the areas of science fiction and mystery-related pins, the two pieces the majority of librarians identify as their intended focus for next week. Many minds are usually superior to a measly single mind, so collaborative boards often build off each other, and you can set your account to notify you by email when someone else pins to the board in question. There have been many instances that I see what someone pinned in an email notification and it makes me think of a whole new search term to try, a fact which brings us to our next (and most crucial) point regarding Pinterest. Read More →

Seize the opportunities!

Teen Read Week is a terrific opportunity to continue or begin a wonderful school and public library collaboration. October is a great month to implement good TRW programming as the school year starts to settle into its groove and students are interesting in getting involved. The sooner you plan your TRW program – even just brainstorming in the springtime, the better!

Some helpful tips for initiating that school and public library relationship:

  • Write a letter to your middle and high school librarians and school principals at the beginning of September.’  Introduce yourself if you are a new hire – and welcome everyone back to the school year! It will be a whirlwind for everyone in early September so allow ample time for response.
  • Follow up with a friendly email or phone call. Think of a good time to meet and enjoy a school/public librarian chat!
  • ‘  Remember: flexibility is key from the first phone call through the actual TRW programming!
  • ‘  If the school district has a librarians’ meeting, ask the coordinator or leader of the group if you may drop in and talk about the public library.

Brainstorm! Be sure to check out TRW activities and planning timeline!

  • Connect with teachers and librarians on judging a writing or “picture-it” contest. Allow time for creating the works, submission deadline and judging. Announce the winner(s) at a TRW party!
  • Hold a joint book discussion group after school at a library.
  • Present book talks in schools – have students film their own booktalks!
  • Public libraries and school libraries may be able to share resources such as equipment, meeting space, extra book copies for discussions, extra TRW bookmarks and posters, free books, whatever!
  • Host a joint author event! See if you can book the author for a two part program – a writing workshop at school and a large-scale author talk in a bigger meeting area (public library meeting room, school auditorium, teen rec center, etc.).
  • Teen Advisory Boards can bridge the gaps from the public library to the school library! TABs and teen school volunteers can help plan TRW events.
  • And one BIG incentive for teens: talk with teachers about offering extra credit on any TRW programs they attend.

Share what YOU are doing to make that school/public library connection during Teen Read Week.

Leave a comment and let everyone know!