|Are you up for the Slurpee challenge?|
I love Reader’s Advisory (see how I capitalize it? I love it that much). It’s my favorite part about being a librarian and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’ll be bold and say it – I think my RA skills are an underutilized service, and my Slurpee Challenge is my gamble that there is an as-yet unmet need for good book suggestions in this town, especially for reluctant readers.
I issued this challenge to the teens in my community: If I can’t find you a book you enjoy reading by the end of the summer, I will take money from my own pocket and buy you a Slurpee at the 7-11 down the street.
Now tell me, how many hard case teens do you know who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to prove an uppity librarian wrong? It’s the book version of a dunk tank at the fair, plus they get a Slurpee out of the deal.
I’m willing to admit defeat, but only after a fair fight. There are conditions to be met! It’s only open to teens that have library cards with us, and it’s only good this summer. I get up to three tries, and promise to suggest five books each time. They must agree to read at least 30 pages from at least three of each of the books, and they have to agree to tell me what they like and don’t like. I have to accept that they’ll reject some (or all) of my suggestions.
By the end of the summer, for the toughest challenger, I’ll have suggested up to fifteen books (RA statistics!), they’ll have checked out at least nine (increased circ!), and in their quest to prove me wrong and claim their icy blast of colored sugar water, the most reluctant reader will have read 270 pages by August (summer reading!). I’d call that a win-win, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
At the very least, the giant poster with a cherry red Slurpee next to the desk is a curious enticement and a good opener to potential RA interactions. The Slurpee Challenge is detailed on the back of every “good summer reads” bookmark, and at the end of the Summer Reading Club promo material too.