Ways to Participate in #the2012project, the February 25th update
Now more than ever, advocacy matters. I am an advocate for libraries. And for teens. And for reading. I believe that amazing things happen in the lives of teens when they use their libraries: they learn, they grow, they are empowered. This is especially true in communities that support their libraries and their schools. The best communities are those that value their teens and their libraries. When these two elements come together you have communities where education works and teens experience a sense of value and hope that lead them to follow more positive paths (please see the 40 Developmental Assets). And yet we are here facing a crisis in our libraries, a crisis of funding and a crisis of support – which is why now more than ever we must be advocates. We must rise up to the challenge and show our communities that libraries have value and still matter. Thus, The 2012 Project.
The 2012 Project (also #the2012project on Twitter) is an attempt to collect 2,012 pictures of teens reading and using their libraries in order to make a visual statement: Teen use (and love) their libraries. Here I present you with 10 fun, creative ways to get your teens involved in the project – and have some fun programming.
1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
If you have read Miss Peregrine’s Home, then you know that the story centers around a group of mysterious black and white photographs. I spend a lot of time photographing my littles and once (no seriously, it has only happened once) accidentally took a photo that was completely framed and lighted just wrong and it came out looking quite peculiar. This led me to develop a whole program and book discussion around this book, which I love by the way and recommend.
2. March is National Craft Month
Have a craft program in March and submit pics of your teens being crafty. The pictures can even be a part of the craft as you can decorate picture frames or do some program using apps or digital photography. You can use pictures to make posters, bookmarks and more to decorate your teen space. Or make crafts that your teens can take home. Visit the TPIB TOC for a wide variety of photograph themed crafts that you can make. Also be sure and check out the TLToolbox and Teen Programming in Libraries Pinterest boards.
3. April is National Poetry Month: Book spine poetry
Book spine poetry is where you make a poem using the spines of books (see below). You can have teens create their own book spine poetry and take pictures of them holding their poems to submit.
4. Discover The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Debut YA author Jenny Torres Sanchez has written a moving book about a young man named Charlie whose life is spiralling out of control; he uses photography to help tell his story. Jenny has graciously agreed to support #the2012project by offering a generous prize donation of a Book Club Kit. The school or public library that submits the most pictures for #the2012project during the month of April will be selected to win this kit which will include 20 copies of The Downside of Being Charlies, a Skype author visit with Jenny Torres Sanchez and some other swag.
5. Summer Reading Clubs
You know you’re going to be doing a summer reading club of some type, so be sure to take plenty of pictures to submit. The greater variety we have the more clear our message is.
In September of every year libraries celebrate and promote Banned Books Week. Put up a BBW display and take pictures of your teens reading Banned Books. Intellectual Freedom is an important part of library services, as is the idea that we let individuals decide for themselves what reading material is best for them. How great would it be to have pics of teens with the statement “I read banned books”?
The Somerset Public Library group made signs with their self created memes. I love these, what a great idea. For those of you concerned about privacy issues, this is a great way to get your teens involved (although please note, no names are ever used to protect teen privacy).
8. Zombie Teens
Without a doubt, zombies are very popular right now in pop culture and teen fiction. If you are having a zombie related event, be sure to take a picture (or lots of them) and submit them in October. Author Jonathan Maberry has graciously agreed to offer a signed copy of Rot & Ruin (and amazing zombie series that you should definitely read) for zombie themed pics in the month of October, just in time for Halloween.
9. Photobooth Me
Want to make some fun strips that look like a photobooth strip? It’s easy if you have an iPhone, there’s an app for that. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still create photo booth strips with a little bit of lay out and design. But you can take some fun photobooth strips of teens in your library. Fun for you and create a powerful visual that shows your library is the place to be. Be sure to check out the previous article on iPhone apps for more ways you can creatively use your iPhone to take great #the20120project pics.
10. Get Caught Using the Library
Don’t forget to just randomly catch your teens using the library. I have asked many a teen just casually in the library if they would mind my taking their picture and using it for #the2012 project and all but one have said yes. The reason: teens really do use (and love) their libraries. And I think it is important that we show teens engaged – on their own – in the daily use of the library and its resources. Take pictures of teens reading, using the computers, browsing the stacks, doing homework and more. This is what the daily business of the library is. This is what we want our communities to understand: yes, we offer amazing programming (and we do), but teens use our libraries every day to be successful in school, to read on their own, to get online because despite what everyone thinks not all teens have computer access and smart phones. Teens need their libraries. They use them.
Imagine what an impact it would make to be able to show your staff, your administrators, your community and yes, even your teens, a photo album of 2,012 pictures of teens using their libraries across the nation. We live in a visual world and we need to make a strong visual statement. We need our communities to know that teens are using their libraries. And we want to let our patrons now that we are working hard to engage our teens and provide quality materials, services and programs that matter.
To date, we have 300 #the2012project pictures. You can see them all at the locations listed below.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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