Celebrating Teen Read Week at an Urban Independent School

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Reprinted courtesy of: YALSA

By: Kristyn Dorfman

I work as an independent school librarian in Brooklyn, NY. Our school serves grades PK-12 with two separate libraries. We have a PK-4 space and a space for grades 5-12. Our Non-Fiction is integrated with stickers signifying approximate age range. We have three separate fiction sections which are Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult.

As a school librarian, Teen Read Week is often blended into the background but that doesn’t mean it is not celebrated.  In October, we are just getting into the groove of being back at school, the book clubs have just begun gaining momentum and the bulletin boards are in their full display glory.

I often like to keep things on my desk because it sparks student interest. I have lot of tsotchkes that the kids often look at or ask to play around with. In that same vein I often keep signs, displays and bookmarks on my desk. I buy a lot of supplies from the ALA store and make sure to have those out at least a week before. I also buy extra things to give out to my book clubs.

For my library regulars I often set up small table displays as well. These triple sided displays depict important school events and are eye-catching when you want to take a break from homework. Students who may come to the library just to study or do group work may become interested in what is happening. These I usually make myself and often include book lists on my desk to go along with it.

Here is an example of one of these signs I have done in the past:

 

One of my favorite ways to catch student attention is to include a display on our bulletin board right outside the library. Since our library is on the first floor in the main hallway, students often pass by while entering and exiting the building. To spark their interests further, I try to make the display interactive. One of my favorite interactive displays has been posting the first line of a book and having students lift the flap to see the book title. It is a simple but fun display. Last year, I simply did popular titles but if I were to do it again I would probably make it more thematic. For example, in 2012, I could have focused on horror books including both classics and popular YA titles.

I run a few lunchtime book clubs outside of our library classroom and I like to do special activities around this time. I am very fortunate to live in NYC and attend events such as Book Expo America and School Library Journal Day of Dialogue. At these events I tend to accumulate a lot of arcs. I give quite a bit of them away at the end of the school year but I often have some left over to give away at special times of the year. The early fall is also when many publishing houses host their spring previews where there are a handful of arcs provided. I love to share these with my book clubs and if I have had time to read the books, discuss them. The students are great at giving on the spot book talks and I love their enthusiasm about the books.

Kristyn Dorfman is in her fourth year as one of the Middle/Upper School Librarians at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to working at Packer, she spent some time working at Brooklyn Public Library with much younger children. She is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Hudson Valley Library Association (HVLA), her local library organization geared toward independent school librarians. She occasionally writes reviews for School Library Journal. Feel free to contact her on Twitter @MollyTyn!

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