Click on the pic above to see the word cloud I created showing the most read Young Adult authors in my library in 2012. The bigger the name, the more popular the author. I pulled this information from the top 50 circulating YA titles last year. I’d like to print this out and put it up somewhere in the YA area to promote the collection and also let teens see what authors are hot right now.
Top 10 YA Titles of 2012 at Abington Free Library
- Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
- Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
- Divergent – Veronica Roth
- Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan
- What Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
- Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare
- Legend – Marie Lu (and my personal favorite!)
- Scorch Trials – James Dashner
- Matched – Ally Condie
I held a Harry Potter Quizzo program last Wednesday for teens at my library. It was so much fun planning it, baking and buying goodies for it, writing the Quizzo questions, and watching the teens really enjoy themselves and have a great time.
Each Quizzo round was based on one of the Harry Potter books, so there were 7 rounds total with 8 questions and a bonus question each. I was rushing to fit in all the questions before our time was up! Some of the teens were Harry Potter fanatics so I really should have made the questions a lot harder than they were. These guys were so smart that they were catching me on technicalities – like the fact that in the fourth book, the person who brought Harry back to the castle after his battle with Voldemort could either be Mad Eye Moody or Barty Crouch Jr, since Barty was disguised as Mad Eye. I was floored by the things they remembered from the 4,224 pages that they read of the series. Never underestimate your teens! They will outsmart you every time.
Some other highlights from the program:
- A group of 6 friends who dressed up in Hogwarts robes and Gryffindor scarves and ties, Luna Lovegood glasses, and even brought wands. They also baked some items from the Harry Potter cookbook and shared with everyone.
- New friends were made! Score!
- Everyone gobbled up my cupcakes and hot chocolate. I think chocolate is a BIG plus at events.
- Teams gave themselves awesome names: Hermoine and the Graingers, Babbity Rabbity and the Cackling Stumps, Potterlock, and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
- Get a big group of teens together and they are gonna chat it up. I almost lost my voice that night talking over them but I never wanted to shush them. I let them do that to each other.
- I had two wonderful volunteers who helped me to score each round. They made everything so much easier and I was so grateful!
My favorite research organization, the Pew Research Center, has come out with a new study showing the reading habits and library use of younger Americans aged 16-29. I was pleasantly surprised to see that older teens and young adults are reading more than I thought! A whopping 83% have read a book in the past year. Let me guess how many of them read The Hunger Games….
Older teens (ages 16-17) in particular are very interested in reading e-books on e-reader devices like the Kindle or NOOK. More than 50% of these teens who have not read an e-book don’t even know that they can borrow e-books from their public library. This is something I hear often from adults — “I had no idea I could get e-books here for free!” — but I don’t hear about from teens. In fact, I don’t hear much from my library’s teens about e-books at all, so I’m curious if they are as interested as the report says and they just aren’t vocal about it.
The report states that “some 58% of those under age 30 who do not currently borrow e-books from libraries say they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to borrow pre-loaded e-readers if their library offered that service.” I was just thinking about this concept of pre-loaded e-readers the other day. In Lafayette Hill, PA, the William Jeanes Library has 12 NOOKs pre-loaded with books that they loan out. I would love to find out how they financed this and how its working so far. It could be a big hit here at my library too.
So why, then, are some teens drawn to the idea of e-books and e-readers? It could be the idea of not having to lug around yet another book in their bags, what with all the textbooks and such they carry around at school all day. But there’s something inevitably cool and futuristic about an e-reader device (or any tech device that fits nicely in your hands, for that matter.) Who wouldn’t want to try it out? If you can’t buy an iPad or other tablet, the next best thing is an e-reader, which seems to be morphing more into tablets lately anyway. I also wonder if teens want to give e-readers a shot because they secretly like reading but wouldn’t be caught dead in public with a print book in their hands. Like a print book says “I’m a nerd” but an e-reader says “I’m trendy.” This is just speculation but I’m willing to bet a few teens think of it this way.
I’m going to ask my Teen Advisory Board about it, get their opinions, see if they are even interested in e-books at all. The TAB has started off very well, by the way, with our first meeting having 13 members! And they had excellent ideas for the library. I noticed I was talking too much at the beginning and steered the conversation so that they would be running the show. What a great bunch of teens! I’m really pumped to keep the meetings going and start putting their ideas into action.
The newest issue of VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates, Vol. 35, Iss. 3, Aug 2012) has a great article about the status of humor in YA fiction (“A Funny Thing Happened,” p. 16-18). Why doesn’t humor get more respect in the YA literary world? After all, a lot of teens might want to read something that will make them laugh rather than sob hysterically. And yet, if your main character doesn’t have cancer, or isn’t trying to survive a deadly reality competition, or doesn’t have a life-threatening addiction, then the book doesn’t get as much press or clout. Don’t get me wrong, I love these deep, intense books. But I also like when an author perfectly mixes humor with real-life problems. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie does this spectacularly.
I’ve noticed teens in my library who want to read something entertaining that will make them giggle, laugh, or ROFL. So I decided it would be a great time for a YA book display on the theme of humor. Here’s some of the books in our collection that I recommend to any teen that needs to laugh it up:
- The Hunger Pains by Stefan Petrucha
- I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
- Flush by Carl Hiaasen
- Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
- There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff
- Attack of the Theater People by Marc Acito
Share your favorite funny YA books with me!
I’ve been running a program this summer called Abington READS! It’s a buddy-reading program where we match teen volunteers with beginning readers (Grades K-2). They read picture books and easy readers together. Teens are encouraged to let the children read to them. This builds children’s confidence as they start learning one of life’s most important skills.
It’s a great way to keep up children’s reading skills over the summer. Teens also feel empowered as they inspire a new generation of readers. I’ve loved doing this program and look forward doing this year after year.
Visit our photo gallery to see Abington READS in action!
The Pew Internet & American Life Project calls Millennial teens “networked learners.” Growing up in the digital age has altered the way they learn. The report says that teens are (my notes in the indented bullets):
- More self-directed and less dependent on top-down instructions
- more independent and forward-thinking
- willing to try new technology
- groan when assignments have a long list of instructions
- want more freedom in learning and in styles of presenting their learning
- more independent and forward-thinking
- Better arrayed to capture new information inputs
- used to new technology arriving constantly
- aware of the many multifaceted opinions on varying subjects
- aware of the massive amount of information that is created everyday, but they may not be great at sorting, analyzing, or interpreting it all
- More reliant on feedback and response
- numerous methods of communication (email, text, cell phone, etc) make the feedback process easier/faster
- have a hard time editing oneself, especially with the advent of editing technology such as spell and grammar check in Microsoft Word
- social networks are built on this
- More attuned to group outreach and group knowledge
- studying in groups
- look at crowd-sourced ratings of products online (starred ratings, customer reviews, Yelp.com, etc.)
- the collective writing of Wikipedia entries
- More open to cross-discipline insights, creating their own “tagged” taxonomies
- hyperlinks enable one to make connections among all kinds of topics
- Social networking sites that allow users to post their own tags for books, movies, etc
- non-linear media and learning experiences
- More oriented toward people being their own individual nodes of production
- self-publishing (blogs, twitter, etc) and the downfall of giant publishers and editors who are the “gatekeepers”
- create music, art, video, etc through easy-to-use computer software
- easier ways to start something new (a charity, a business, a website, etc)
Taken from Evaluating Teen Services and Programs by Sarah Flowers
We have a geocache at the Abington Free Library!
I can’t claim credit for setting this up, though I wish I could. A patron who loves geocaching has incorporated the Library into his newest geocache.
Don’t know what geocaching is? It’s like a modern day treasure hunt with a GPS device. They can be very simple or extremely challenging to find. Check out the official Geocaching website to learn more and join the worldwide fun.
Our geocache can be found only after an elaborate puzzle is solved. I don’t want to link to the geocache puzzle because that would give everything away! You’ll have to stumble upon the challenge on your own.
We are so excited that a patron asked us to be involved in his geocache. I see this as an excellent opportunity to get more people into the library, especially those who have never set foot in this building before. I recently read an article in an issue of YALS (Young Adult Library Services) about geocaching — I had never heard of it before. Then this stumbled into my lap and luckily I knew a thing or two about it.
In other news–
I have spent a lot of my time in my first month staffing the reference desk and working on developing the YA collection. Ordering books is a thrill! I love when the new titles come in and then immediately go out to a waiting reader.
I’ve set up an art program for tweens this summer (grades 5-8) through the ACPPA. They will be learning how to make a Pop Art Portrait in the style of Andy Warhol. Our summer annual Abington Reads! program is gearing up too. We have flyers printed out ready to be distributed to local schools calling for kids and teens to participate. It’s a buddy reading program in which teens help new readers build their skills and confident by reading books aloud together.
I have some ideas for new programs that I’d like to start planning. Hopefully fall will be a very full time for YA programming!