Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Teen Read Week 2011: Book Quotation Celebration

The other day I stumbled across a cool Perks of Being a Wallflower Poster, and as I looked for a good copy to share with you my Google image search revealed a ton of amazing cool fan art that involved teens’ favorite quotes from the book.  When I read, I always keep a journal by my side and write down my favorite quotes so I understand the motivation to collect quotes.

That and a recent encounter with an awesome display at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History got me thinking about a great program idea for Teen Read Week 2011.

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

This year’s Teen Read Week theme is Picture It @ Your Library and it runs from October 16-22.

What a great program (or contest) idea . . . have teens take their favorite book quotes and turn them into works of art.  You can upload the artwork and share it digitally, use it to decorate your teen space, and let your teens walk away with a tangible remembrance of their favorite book.  Plus, this type of programming and decorating gives teens buy in to your library and teen department.

This type of programming is also a great way to promote creativity, literacy, and computer/technology skills which all teens need.  There are a wide variety of tools your teens can use to create images:  they can do it free hand or use any type of program such as Microsoft Publisher, PowerPoint, Gimp, PhotoShop or any combination of the above.  If you don’t currently have access to a good photo editing program you can download Gimp for free.  PowerPoint is a particularly useful program for teens as a lot of schools require presentations now with this program as a part of their technology literacy curriculum.

In whatever programming you do, it is important that teens are engaged and have buy in.  And it is always a bonus if they can walk away with a product in their hands, especially one created for them by them.

So here’s a general outline and suggested timeline:

Set a launch date and dates for the artwork submission and determine the structure of your program: I suggest artwork be submitted prior to TRW if you want to have a reception where you announce the winner, or during TRW if that is when you want voting to take place.  Also determine if part of your program is going to be to have a teen tech lab day where teens can come in and use the library’s computers and get assistance from you to learn how to use the software and create their images.  This is, of course, completely dependent on your library’s ability to offer this type of programming.  If you don’t the tools, I recommend spending some time researching and writing a grant so that your library can purchase laptops and provide this type of teen programming in the future.  Or ask your administration if it is possible to have an after hours event and let the teens use your public computers.

Set up a prize:  Maybe a local art or craft store can donate a gift card or prize packet.  Or put together a book basket of art books and tools.  Or something cool like a digital camera.

Set up your general guidelines: size, mode of submission, format, etc.  The main component would be that it has to include a quote from a book.  You can specify if you want to limit it to teen books, or only teen fiction.  I would love it open to any book because whatever moves you, moves you.  You’ll want to specify in the guidelines that the quotation also include the title and author from the book, so that others seeing the piece can know where to find the book should they want to read it.  Yep, it’s a great RA tool, too.  When working with teenagers I really encourage you to have online modes of submission so let teens send their artwork to your work e-mail address, or set up a free account specifically for this task.  You’ll want to specify size so that you have a standard format to work with.  I usually include some type of statement about the library reserving the right to disqualify any submissions that include inappropriate content to make administrators happy, but it has never been an issue.

Set up your promotional campaign: theme, timeline.  Create promotional posters and an entry form.  I will work on putting together a template you can download and share them next week, or you can create your own.  I usually include on any submission form a place for teens to sign saying that they indicate it is an original piece of art (or poem or short story) and it doesn’t violate any copyright laws.  It won’t necessarily stop all violations, but I think it gets teens to stop and think about it for a moment.

Set up your support team: contact your area art teachers and get them on board, give them entry forms to pass out to students.  I recommend doing this a couple of weeks after school starts.  The first couple of weeks are kind of busy, but you want to get the information out there and give teens time to create, create, create!  Contact your local paper and ask them to run an article about TRW, popular teen titles, and your contest.  Get signs up everywhere, especially in your local arts district areas, your schools and anywhere in your community teens hang out.  Also, keep in mind that most churches have youth groups and they may be willing to put your signs up and pass the word along.  Contact your local radio station and ask them to run a psa for you. 

Also, remember that all library staff are a part of your support team.  Make sure they understand the process and guidelines.  Make sure they have a plentiful supply of fliers to put in patrons hands – all patrons, they may not be a teen but they may be the parent or a grandparent of a teen who doesn’t use the library and this is just the thing to get them involved.  Don’t limite your signs to the teen area, put them up in public spaces and near your nonfiction collection of art and drawing books.  Keep staff updated with weekly e-mails and share some submissions with them.  Communication is key in working with staff and you want to acknowledge that they are an important part of the process.

Set up your voting mechanism:  Determine how, or if, you want teens to vote. It doesn’t have to be a competition, but it would certainly be a fun one.  I recommend uploading and promoting online voting.  You could also set up a display and ballot box in your teen area to promote voting.  Or, better yet, do both and reach a wider audience.

So, to get us all in the spirit of this year’s TRW, I am going to ask you all to create your own Book Quotation Celebration and share it here on the TLT Facebook wall.  Be creative.  Have fun.  And celebrate the books that move you.  Here’s mine . . .

Other variations could include:
  • Create your own book cover or poster for your favorite book
  • Create your own READ type poster
  • Create a poster (basically an “ad”) for the teen area using pictures of yourself and your friends at the library
  • Create a collage or comic book cover for your favorite book

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