What I learned at ALA: Part 3 – Passive Programming That’s Anything But: Reaching Young Adults Subversively

Taught by Jackie Parker and Kelly Jensen, this workshop offered ideas for low cost programs that require little staff time or supervision.  Here’s the link to their Program Prezi.  The basic idea is that you leave things out or post online and let teens do it on their own time.  This involves things like contests, promotions, surveys, art projects, and etc.  Great for introverted, self-sufficient kids that don’t feel comfortable joining in the group stuff.


Plan – They suggest you put in some upfront time to generate ideas and a schedule for the mini-programs.  Maybe use your teen council to help with this?

Incentives – If you want, they can be low cost things like tickets & coupons, or free books, free printing, fine reductions, extra computer time, etc.

Publicize it – promote it with flyers in the library, facebook, twitter, outreach visits, etc.  Emphasize that teens can participate at any time.  Ask your teen council for advice.

Tip: “Allow yourself to fail.”  Good thing, ’cause I had NO teen involvement for the Shelftalking idea.  Shelftalks are brief reviews attached to the book shelf.  You see ’em all the time at Powell’s.  I set out bookmarks that teens could write on and put in books.  Didn’t work for me, but then I don’t have a lot of teens that just hang out at the library.  Might work well in a larger, busier library.

Program ideas

In the library

  • Spine poetry
  • Games & puzzles
  • Photography
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Cover re-designs
  • magnetic poetry
  • origami
  • secret cards
  • “Guerilla Positivity” – leave out supplies for making pocket poems or heart cards that teens can leave around town for people to find.
  • Creative displays
  • Shelftalkers/tags

Using Technology

  • QR code treasure hunts
  • Book trailers
  • Book playlists
  • App reviews
  • Facebook contests
  • “Guess the book” contests – post the first line of a book or show a cover minus the title.
  • 5 word book recommendations

Create kits or programs in a box they can check out

  • shrinky dink bracelets
  • window painting
  • DIY scratch off cards (example on Pinterest)

Things to watch out for

  • Make sure staff know what’s going on!
  • Don’t put out anything you’ll miss if it gets taken.
  • Offer both low and high tech activities.

That’s it!  Have fun!

What I learned at ALA 2012: Part 1

Thanks to the YALSA Baker & Taylor Scholarship and our very own OYAN Scholarship, I attended my first ever ALA Annual Conference in sunny SoCal.   This month I’ll use the blog to make my scholarship report with a series of posts about the conference.  I attended a pre-conference, several workshops, all the banquets, several author events and the orgy of the exhibit room floor.  Hopefully, something will be of use to you!

YALSA Pre-conference: “Books We’ll Still Talk About 45 Years From Now”

We were given a short list of 30 titles to read in advance.  Luckily, there were only 10 titles I hadn’t read including (I’m almost ashamed to say), To Kill a Mockingbird, Nation, The Outsiders, and Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I know, you’re wondering how I could have NOT read The Outsiders, not to mention …Mockingbird?  Shocking, but true.  And if truth be known, I still haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird.  Something had to give and that was it.  Anyway, it was a really good movie!  ;>)

Shortly into the workshop I realized that it was more like a Printz award committee meeting.  Which would have been fine if I hadn’t been producing the OYAN Mock Printz workshop for the past 5 years!  However, it was an opportunity to hear Jacqueline Woodson, Mark Shusterman, and Allie Condie provide thoughtful and eloquent answers to questions about writing for teens.  The nuggets I noted were:

  • Characters have to be easy to connect with;
  • That books must deal with issues with which all people grapple;
  • Voices must be relevant and authentic;
  • Avoid using slang and specifics; and
  • Remember that we’re all 14 inside!

Shusterman quoted Madeleine LeEngle, “The essence of childhood doesn’t change” whether you’re writing realistic, dystopian, or historical fiction.

Of course, the hosts plugged the authors’ new books:

  • Shusterman: the sequel to Unwind, came out in AugustUnWholly,
  • Woodson: coming in Oct., a new picture book  – Each Kindness
  • Condie: coming in Nov., the 3rd of the Matched trilogy – Reached

Then we broke into small groups and using a weighted voting system, narrowed the list of 30 to one title we all felt would still be read in 45 years.  And the winner is…(drumroll, please)…Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Next up: Authors! Authors! Authors!