Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Verb Up Your Image

Everything you do is another building block in creating the overall image for your library and teen services program:  Every piece of paper you put out.  Every poster you put up.  The overall look of your area (Is it neat and organized? Are you merchandising titles face out and filling holes and straightening throughout the day?).  The number and types of programs that you do.  Think of it as a piece of pointillism art:  Each action is one small pointy stroke of your art brush and as your teens pull away from the canvas they begin to see the whole picture.  What do you want that picture to look like?

When putting your copy together, you need to think about your audience: teens!  Teens are active.  Even if they are just sitting around, they are still “hanging” and “chilling” (or chillaxin).  So what you want to do is tap into this desire to be active, to be a part of something and lead all of your copy with verbs.  Verbs are an important brushstroke in your marketing plan.  You want to let teens know that there is something unique, amazing, powerful happening at your library – something they want to be a part of.  Don’t tell them they don’t want to miss out, show them in your marketing materials and let them come to that conclusion on their own.

Think of the awesome verbs you can use: capture, engage, feed, explore, discover, crave, win, delight, share, fascinate, captivate . . . You can even use hang and chill, depending on your overall goals.

The temptation is to use being/helping verbs.  Or to use the verb Read.  Of course we are promoting reading, but you want to present a more multi-faceted image.  Libraries are not, after all, only about books.

Even though it is not grammatically correct, you want to start everything you put in the hands of your teens with a verb.  You are inviting them to DO something.
That something can be a guided activity, a program, or it can be a moment that is self guided, using your materials and resources.  It can be an event.  It can be a process.  But your overall message is this:  when you step into this public library, you will DO.
More about using verbs in your marketing materials:

Geek Out Your LIbrary

Geek (n.) – a person with enthusiastic interest in a particular interest or devotion.  Typically technology, science fiction and fantasy, comic books, etc.

Urban dictionary defines Geek as: The person you make fun of in high school and wind up working for as an adult.

Right now, geek is cool.  This past weekend was a Comic Con extravaganza with the cast of popular movies and tv shows present.  This year alone there are Thor, Captain America, and The Green Lantern movies.  This weekend we will see the release of Cowboys vs. Aliens.  And of course there are HP and Twilight movies, can’t forget them.

So this is a great time for teen librarians to embrace their geek coolness and geek out your library.

How, exactly, does one “geek out” their library and get their geek on?

Get out your graphic novels and manga and put them on display

Create your own creative and geeky comic book style fliers for programs, services or materials
     Do you use Photoshop?  Here are 20 photoshop effects
     Don’t have Photoschop?  Download GIMP, it’s free.  Here are some GIMP tutorials.
     Have an iPhone?  There’s an app for that.

Created with the iPhone app

Share fun tools with teens to create their own comic strips
     Comic Strip Creator
     Captain Underpants Comic Creator

Share information about comics, graphic novels and manga

Geek out your webpage.  Entertainment Weekly has done a fabulous job of creating the whole package on their website, follow their lead.

Get someone in to do a drawing workshop

You know your teens that come in and are doodlers, get them to let you share their work on your website or FB page.

Send out a poll, reviews, and discussion questions on your FB page or website about their favorite books, movies and tv shows.  Think Twilight trailers, magazine article links, and more.

Create a fun, interactive contest: drawing contest, create your own comic, give this picture a caption

Lots of popular teen fiction titles are also being released as gns, put the two together
     Some titles include Alex Rider series, Artemis Fowl, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, Twilight,     
    Vampire’s Assistant and Vampire Kisses

Host your own Mini Con!
Invite your teens to come in dressed in their favorite cosplay.  Set up displays, panels, games and other events throughout the day.  You can include any of the above as part of your Con.  Bust out your video game console – and board games, there are lots of awesome board/card games that would work.