Teen Programming: Chat & Chew

Note: The concept of this program was inspired by the brilliant programming designed by The Show Me Librarian. To see her concept for her Chat & Chew program, visit: http://bit.ly/2hGdAYO

Developing a program for teens in our community might be one of the high points of my career (to date). As many teen librarians and small library directors know, getting teens in the doors of the library is a difficult and seemingly impossible task.

There are a lot of obstacles to tackle when trying to create a successful strategy for getting teens excited about the library, the biggest being the cool factor. If they don’t like it, they will not come. They could be sleeping in or binging on a Netflix show, so your program has to peak their interest! Secondly, you need to find a time that has minimal conflict with extra-curricular activities. Finally, you have to find a way to let them know about it, especially if they don’t come through the doors of the library regularly.

The basic concept for my program was to run a two-hour event on Saturday morning, beginning at 10 am. I have coffee and hot water, as well as breakfast treats available. From there, the concept changes monthly as to what the activity will be, but the time, place, and spread of food always stay the same.

In addition to book talks, we also just recently tried Sharpie art and it went over really well (see photo below for our handiwork).


Additional programs planned include Valentine’s Speed Date with a Book, DIY terrariums, and a hand lettering workshop. So far we’ve had 7 – 10 teens attend every program, which for a library our size is an awesome success!

With the recent success of our program, I wanted to share some of the strategies I used to develop our program, and here they are!

1. Find like-minded community members to help you reach your goal. 

This one came in the form of our school district’s librarian, who I absolutely adore. We’re both like-minded in wanting to create new and exciting programs for the community and frequently pool our resources together to help each other. Whenever I’m planning a program, I always send my information over to my school counterpart. She’s a great advocate for our programs. If you are not currently working with your school librarian, I highly suggest you set up a meeting with them!

2. Find a time with minimal conflicts. 

With the number of extracurricular activities out there, there is never going to be a perfect time free of other events, but I’ve found that Saturday mornings are a good time for us to host programming. I set the time of the event to 10 am (because most of us like to sleep in). However, maybe a weeknight would work better or an after-school program. Whatever it may be, observe your community, look over your school district’s calendar, and test out a time for a program. If you have low attendance, ask for feedback (many time teens ask their friends to join, so they’ll know why people didn’t come) and you can adjust the time of your events from there.

3. Ask for feedback!

Teens know what they do and do not like, and if you plan programming they don’t like, they are not going to show up. At my first program, I had a list of several program ideas I thought might be of interest and I spent a few minutes going over them and asking their opinions, which they gladly gave. Some they LOVED, and some they didn’t. Anything that didn’t get good feedback, I crossed off my list.

Another activity that went over really well was giving the group a list of books the library was considering for our young adult order, letting them read over the titles, discuss them, and then vote on which ones they wanted to read. The books that got the highest votes were added to our book order.

4. Bring food. 

I feel like I shouldn’t have to put this on every post about a program, but I will for good measure. Everyone loves snacks, especially teens. Feed them and they will come back.

I hope you find some of these strategies helpful when planning your own teen programming. If you have ideas for other projects you could do for a teen event, leave them in the comments below!



Under the Christmas Tree Book Tag!

Hey all! I decided to try by first book tag today, and this one has a Christmas spin to it. Hope you enjoy!

November Wrap Up | 2017

Hi all – sorry for my absence on my blog. It’s been a crazy month for me and December looks just as busy. I’ll post my other videos from the month of November and you can expect more regular blog posts at the beginning of the New Year. Thanks for being patient with me while I work on making sure everything I produce is top quality.

Happy reading!

Just For Teens: Book Giveaway

One of my goals for work is to create consistent programming for teens at our library. However, with busy schedules, and living in a smaller community, finding enough teens to make a successful program can be difficult. So instead of starting out with a 2-hour event, I set up a fun, passive program teens could do at their leisure.

After the announcement of John Green’s new book, I knew that a book giveaway would probably go over well with teens in our community. I mean, the guy is called the “King of YA” for a reason. After I landed on the idea of doing a book giveaway, I thought to myself, how cool would it be to do a SIGNED book giveaway?

So that’s exactly what I did.

Many bookstores are now offering pre-orders of signed editions of books, and John Green’s new book was one of them. I hopped on Barnes & Noble, pre-ordered my signed edition and set to work on coming up with a fun way to win the book.

With the help of Librarian on Display’s creative idea of creating a Library Scrabble display, I set to work on my very own. Teens could stop by every day to play a word to count towards their final score. They could also check out books for additional points. (Link to Librarian on Display’s post: http://librarianondisplay.blogspot.com/2014/12/december-library-scrabble-display.html?m=1)

Library Scrabble.png

This was a simple, easy program to set up and it got teens in the door and interested in what the library had to offer. I had teens stopping over almost every day to play, rummaging through a dictionary for a word that would give them the most points. The school’s library club even came over and I set up several stations so everyone could play a word on their visit.

Doing small programs like this are a great way to show teens that the library is meant for them and get them in the door to see what you have to offer. Coming up in November I’ve planned a “Chat & Chew” event where teens can come talk about books and make some bookish crafts together, but that is another post for another day.

Until next time, happy program planning!

Why You Should Own an E-Reader

Many people presume the idea of tablets and e-readers live in direct opposition to the mission of libraries and bookstores. Remember when the advent of the e-reader was heralded as the demise of the print book, only years later we found it was the exact opposite? Almost 13 years after the commercial introduction of e-readers, print books are still holding their own in the book market and print books, in many libraries, still rank first in circulation for e-books.

I’ve personally found some great reasons to incorporate an e-reader into my reading life and there are many others who benefit from having one. Let’s go over some of the reasons why an e-reader can be a great option for both the voracious and casual reader of all ages.

Expands your options for reading

Libraries and books stores are limited in what they can offer based on how much physical space they have to hold books. With the addition of being able to download e-books, a library’s collection can expand and add a whole new dimension to their service. For bookstores, the advantage isn’t as clear unless they have their own way of creating revenue from e-book sales (Barnes & Noble does, but even they have gotten away from producing their own e-reader technology).

Helping a patron connect with a title each time they visit is key because we want them to feel like their venture over to the library was a success. Having the added addition of e-books expands your options and allows librarians the opportunity to offer the e-book download if a physical copy is not available.

Creates convenience and brings the library outside its walls

Sometimes (though very rarely since I work at one) I will want a new book but the library is closed or I’m not working that day. In that case, having an e-reader available to borrow books from the library is a nice convenience. Having an electronic collection allows patrons who are not able to get to the library to still borrow titles, making it convenient to find something to read whenever you want.

This is also a great option for patrons that are house-bound and unable to get out as often as they would like. Some systems do offer outreach services and mail titles to patrons so having electronic titles is a great complimentary service.

Provides the opportunity to read advance readers

For librarians looking to get a handle on what they want to order for their collection or even if you’re trying to begin your own blog or video channel, having the ability to read advance readers is key. When you’re a part of a small system or are just starting out, it can be difficult to get your hands on physical advance readers. However, I’ve found that it’s relatively easy to read lots of great books pre-publication by requesting electronic advance readers.

I use NetGalley to make any of my requests for advanced readers. Netgalley not only has a great interface to use when requesting books and leaving reviews, but they also have a fantastic monthly newsletter that showcases books two months prior to publication. It’s a great way to get an idea, especially if you are in charge of book orders, of what is going to be popular or what titles are getting a lot of buzz.

Reading ARCs is an important part of talking about books with patrons and online because people want to get excited about what’s new in the book world. Using your e-reader to gain a better knowledge of what’s being published, and being able to read advance readers, is a really helpful resource.

Great option for large print readers

Readers that need books with large print often find it difficult to find books, especially new titles, due to their limited availability and their high price tag. A typical large print paperback book costs around $25.00 while a hardcover can be upwards of $40.00 to $50.00. This makes buying large print titles extremely difficult, especially if a library is on a small budget.

E-readers can convert the text of electronic books into whatever size desired by the reader, making it possible to make more titles available to those who need a larger print to read. Therefore, purchasing an e-reader can actually be a cost-effective practice for those in need of larger text.

E-readers can actually be an affordable alternative to buying books

Reading tablets (excluding tablets like the iPad, which is pricier) can actually be an affordable way to read more books.

Tablets typically range anywhere from $99.00 – $250.00, depending on what you want out of it. If you typically read 4 books a month with hardcovers costing around $28.00 per book, you spend just as much as it costs to buy a Paperwhite. Granted, this theory only really works if you’re not purchasing all your e-book titles and are borrowing titles or purchasing the occasional e-book deal of the day.


I’ve set parameters to only use my Kindle for borrowing and/or getting electronic ARCs. I do not purchase full-price e-books through my kindle because buying a book for your kindle and buying a physical book is not the same thing for one big reason: ownership. When you purchase a physical book, you are purchasing the copyright to own the title, to read it. When you purchase an eBook, you are buying the right to put that item on your device – you do NOT own it.

In a world of rapidly changing technology, perhaps these guidelines are shifting and changing, but I don’t see the upside to purchasing the rights to read something on a device when I’m guaranteed ownership when I buy the physical copy. The latter is a better investment.

I also made the decision of purchase a Kindle Paperwhite to keep myself on task when it comes to reading books. As much as I would like to think I’m a disciplined person, it’s not very difficult to distract me with other applications. Having a Paperwhite ensures that I’m spending my time reading more books, which is what I really want to do anyway.

Hopefully, you’ve discovered some good reasons for utilizing an e-reader. If you have other thoughts, be sure to leave them in the comments below so we can chat about them!

Happy e-reading!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑