Tweens in the Library: Getting Them Involved in Summer Reading Programming
I am a huge believer of keeping my patrons involved in our library. If they’re invested in the library and the community, they have a reason to come back, and feel like they belong. I’ve always felt that way, no matter what library I’ve worked in- large branch or small. Libraries are such a huge portion of the community, and when the community is invested in it, it takes on a life of it’s own.
I apply this heavily in my tween programming. I’m heavy in the middle of summer programming, and we (Texas) just switched from having a state program to investing in the Collaborative Summer Reading Program, so our theme for the tween set (which I define as eight through twelve years old, YMMV) is Dig Into Reading. If your tweens are anything like mine, it didn’t exactly inspire much enthusiasm (flowers, Miss? REALLY? Plants? WORMS?) So, it’s my job to GET them enthused- this is the age where reading goes to aliteracy, and they’re not old enough for the lock-in and teen things but old enough to WANT them. These are the ages where they get so BORED with summer reading, so to get them invested is the BEST thing we can do.
First, I took the CSRP theme and thought up twelve themes for tweens that I thought would work best- ones that I knew I could create some interesting programs for my kids. Then I created a ballot and had them vote. Looking at the programming calendar, I knew that I had three programs that I needed tween themes for. The three with the most votes would be the programs for the summer.
After two weeks of voting, I had my three themes: Mummies, Wizards, and Spies.
Next, I went through the PG listings of movies covered by our umbrella license, and pulled out movies that would fit the three themes, and highlighted them in different colors. I then let two of my tweens loose with my list and a computer set to IMDB.com, and had them put YES, NO, or 1/2 for their preferences (half being if they couldn’t come to a decision).
From their list of movies with definite approval, I pulled out ones that I knew I could stand to watch (a definite requirement for *any* program that I do) and have created our Tween Movie Ballot below.
This week is our school system’s spring break week, so they’ll vote for their favorite in each category, and the winner will be the movie we watch. I’ll tie it in with crafts, games, and other activities pulled from the Internet and the chaos that is my brain, and we’ll have a wonderful time.
And, not only have I gotten some of my summer programming done, but I’ve gotten a large group of my tweens interested in what’s going on, what the results are, and what we’re doing for the summer- and it’s mid March.
How do you get your tweens involved in your library? What programs are you planning for your tweens this summer? Share in the comments!
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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