The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), has compiled a list of program ideas to help librarians celebrate National Library Week with teens in their library.
1. Teen Choice Award: Organize a favorite book drawing. Have teens drop their name in a box with their favorite book title listed. Have a drawing at end of week for winners. Ask local businesses to donate prizes. After the week is over, compile all the favorite books into a brochure or display.
2. Teens’ Opinions: Invite teens to write book, graphic novel, game, music and/or film reviews to post on the library web site, blog, or newsletter.
3. Teens 4 Libraries: Help teens create and film public service announcements about their local library to air at local schools or on the community public access channel during National Library Week. Organize a vote for the best announcement, and give a prize to the winner.
4. Teen Reading Contest: At school English classes compete all week to see which one can read the most pages. Reading will be done on teens’ free time outside of class and required readings for class will not count. Teens agree to be honest and accurate in reporting the number of pages they read each evening, and sign a pledge to that effect. Keep and announce a daily tally to heighten the competition. Ask local businesses to donate prizes for the winners.
5. Teens Get a Clue: Host a contest requiring the use of library resources, such as a scavenger hunt or trivia game. Give prizes for the winners that are donated from local businesses.
6. Teen DIY: Host an Extreme Library Makeover. Solicit feedback from Teen Advisory Groups about how the look of the library can be improved. Decide on a few manageable projects, then during National Library Week invite teens to spruce up the library. Sample projects: create tables or seating from discarded books (large, bound reference ones are best); give a fresh coat of paint to the walls or furniture; create a mural on a library wall; sew new pillows, seat cushions and/or curtains; create new signs to make finding library resources easier; plant a garden out front of the library. Ask local hardware and building supply stores to donate materials.
7. Teen Flash Mob: Work with your Teen Advisory Group to plan a flash mob during National Library Week. Ask teens to gather in a public place at a certain time. The mob activity could be reading, appearing as a favorite book character, or holding a sign like “libraries matter”or “got a library card?” After the mob disperses, host a Flash Party at the library. Be sure to take pictures of the flash mob and submit them to the local paper.
8. Teen Open House: Work with your Teen Advisory Group to plan an open house at the library. Make a special effort to invite teens who are not regular library users. Consider organizing transportation for teens who may need it. Provide refreshments and prizes. Ask a local band to provide entertainment. Be sure to display new library materials, and make sure everyone who attends gets a library card.
9. Teen Road Show: Go where the teens are. Ask your Teen Advisory Group to help you plan an event at a local mall, community center, fast food restaurant, etc. Secure a venue, and then decide what activity to hold, such as a read-a-thon or poetry slam. Be sure to have some high interest library materials on hand for check out as well as applications for library cards.
10. Teens Say Thanks: Have your Teen Advisory Group Host a party for library workers and volunteers on National Library Workers Day.
YALSA believes strongly that teens deserve the best, yet many libraries have inadequate numbers of trained staff and resources to address the needs of teens. Furthermore, studies indicate that teens are reading less often and fewer of them are obtaining critical literacy skills. More than 60 studies have been done that link increased student achievement with access to well-stocked and professionally staffed school library programs. To address these issues, YALSA’s mission is to advocate, promote and strengthen library service to teens, ages 12 through 18.