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Begin by publicising it; talk to teens in your library and local schools, use social media and produce attractive flyers too. Once the club gets going then give the kids control and listen to them, give them snacks. Make it fun and enjoy it yourself too! Reading groups for young people can be run in all sorts of places most frequently in libraries and schools but also youth clubs, book shops, village halls and other places where young people come together to meet and share interests. Here are some of the things that young people involved in a reading group in Warrington that meets in the library, at school and at a youth project called LaunchPad say about their reading group and the books they have read.
Book clubs are one of the intersections between collection development and programming.
Ever wanted to start a teen book club at your library? Check out what several of us at The Hub have to say about ours! We of course have a lot of readers, so why not. They often suggest books to me and are happy to talk about books with one another and me. The 5th and 6th grade literature teachers and I all promote, book talk, and are eager to support reading so there was an obvious audience.
Jennifer: This is the second book club I have inherited! For my current library our Teen Advisory Board asked to start up the group before I started in this position. Although based on the of folks who attend meetings but have not read or even checked out the book, I think that maybe they just wanted another chance to come and talk. Diana: I also inherited a teen book group from a Reading clubs for teens librarian, but as the teens began to hit junior or senior year of high school, they began to stop coming.
It was harder to recruit new teens after the original set of core teens were aging out of the group. Thus, we took a break, but after some discussion, we are bringing back a teen book club in the spring.
Currently, my library out of 5 locations is the only one to offer a teen book club. We also opened up the age group to 6thth grade so junior high and high school could be represented. Emily : Our Teen Book Club was started to expand programming and spark more interest with teens in the community. I think these book clubs like many programs will be most successful when they are teen driven and something that they want. Dawn: I choose our books. I read all the books before I choose them to see if they are discussion worthy.
My teens tend to like realistic fiction above anything else so most are realistic fiction but I will break it up with a light fantasy.
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Instead, we do a book talk type of book club. Jennifer: I pre-read the titles and sometimes base my selection on what is available in our system or what I can afford to order more copies of. Their takes on older YA titles are always interesting! Susan: The structure of the club varied. I know for Holeswe did some activities, for Charlie Brown books, they did some impromptu skits.
We did Teen Book Jeopardy manually — came up with the books, questions, etc. Traci: I also choose all of our books. Eventually, the older teens moved on, and my younger teens asked me to start choosing the books. We are still following that method today.
I try to choose a good assortment of all different genres as well as books off the Printz list and Best Books for Teens list. We also always watch the movie adaptation of a book for our December book group. Emily: Every three months I prepare a list of twenty books and their summaries. I usually pick based on reviews and awards as well as books that teens in the library have recommended to me. The teens pick their top three choices from the list and the books with the most votes are our books for the next three months. Molly: When we first started, I choose the book after taking several suggestions from the teens.
My goal was to rotate genres so that we were reading a widely. Dawn: As of now, we have a budget so that the teens can keep their books.
10 virtual book clubs you can now—and how to start your own
We have about 10 teens. I get them from Baker and Taylor so I can get the discount. Jennifer: We either pull from other branches or I just started purchasing books just for my group. Traci: I have a budget for my Teen Book Group that provides money for food and books.
I buy 10 books each month the usual of teens who up. If we are out of books, teens are encouraged to check the book out of the collection; teens who own their own copy of the book are also welcome to attend. Diana: We use library copies of the books I put requests for them from our other locations so that there are some available to check out at each meeting.
We will be going from a book-specific teen book club to a monthly genre feature, so this should make finding books for everyone easier. I also provide snacks using the library programming budget which I have to request in advance. Emily: We have a small collection development budget so we have to interlibrary loan our books.
This limits us to backlist titles, but every December they pick one new release that I purchase for them to keep.
Club members myself included are encouraged to bring a snack to share. Molly: My library circulates Book Club in a Bag kits, with 12 copies of a book. I select the titles for our teen club and our YA for Grownups book club, and then they become part of that collection.
Teen book clubs in your library
To control costs our selections must be available in paperback. How would you describe the structure of your book club? Do you rely on discussion questions or activities? We let them socialize for 10 minutes.
The discussion lasts about 30 minutes. The activity varies. For December, we are playing White Elephants with books. Sometimes we have very special events. For example, we discussed Paper Towns and went to see the movie the following day. Sometimes we invite a local author. Our club is mostly discussion based.
Sarah: Crazy, fast, and exciting! We meet 30 minutes after school so everyone has to try and book talk their book in a few minutes. Also, our author visits and writing workshops occur during the school days for the whole grades so I sometimes showcase who is coming to the school. Jennifer: Ours in the public library after school. Occasionally I will branch out to a craft, but I try to keep these projects as process driven as possible. Traci: We meet on the last Thursday of each month for 1 hour from pm.
Before they get snacks, they have to write at least 1 discussion questions. The discussion questions written by the teens are what drive our discussion. Sometimes I come up with that fun question and sometimes my teens do. We usually talk for about 45 minutes, and then we talk about school, draw on the white board or talk about other books for the remaining minutes. Diana: When I originally took over the book club from a teen librarian, we had done discussion questions. However, we found that since not all the teens finished the book or we had new members of the Reading clubs for teens, it was more difficult to keep up a conversation.
Thus, for our new book club starting in spring, we are focusing on a genre and will be book-talking materials in that genre both teens and librarian. A snack portion was not part of the original club, but will be going forward in order to entice after-school teens. The program is held after school at the library in one of our program rooms. The hope is to add topical activities, as well. For example, January will be highlighting graphic novels and we will be talking about how to create a storyboard.
Emily: Very free-form and relaxed. I usually have discussion questions prepared in advance in case the conversation lags, but it seldom does.
A lot of my book clubbers are questioning their sexuality or have friends who are and this book really hit home for them. Jennifer: I missed out on reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London, when I was younger, so it was cool to read an older title for the first time with them and I totally fell in love with the book.
The book makes much more sense than the movie, and then we had a great discussion about film adaptations. My teens were so into that book — we spent at least 25 minutes talking about the time loop! With illustrations on the white board!