Sometime last year I started BookTalkers Book Club.
I noticed that the teens in my library were avid readers - many of them reading in between the stacks, browsing (and messing up) book titles, and stanning for the latest books. So I started BookTalkers - a book club where we don't just read one book - but we talk about a variety of books in a particular genre. At the first meeting, we discussed Dystopian young adult titles. I had 2 teens show up. A guy and a gal. But I was hopeful because at least someone had shown up!
Since then, no one has been attending the book club until....yesterday.
Yup. Just after I had taken all of the other meetings off the calendar, and had resigned myself to thinking that a book club just wasn't what the teens wanted...turns out...they do.
Even though no one had been attending the meetings - I always prepared for the book club just in case they do. I usually pick out about 15 of the most popular and eclectic book titles in a particular genre. I always provide
snacks and I make sure to prepare some type of activity so that it's not too much like school. Teen book clubs are supposed to be fun!
My activity for yesterday was Coloring Pages! That's right! And the teens LOVED IT! I acutally found some YA inspired (fan art) - coloring pages from Eleanor and Park and John Green, along with some Manga coloring pages, and Hip Hop coloring pages!!! That's right!!! HIP HOP!!! And the 6 guys...that's right...6 GUYS...LOVED it! I had Color-By-Number Nikki Minaj, Connect-the-Dots Biggie, and Draw-On-Eyebrows Drake! I put some Neo-Soul music on in the background, and we talked about Romance YA!!! Yes!!!! ROMANCEEE!!!!!!
I had done a survey when I first started at EOPL asking the teens what they wanted in the library. And the survey suggested that they wanted more Romance....Fantasy Romance, to be exact. But they also said they wanted a writers group, poetry workshops, and they wanted to be their own security guards - To date, they have not showed up for the writer's workshop, open mic nights, and have not showed up to be security guards. So yesterday impressed upon me that maybe that survey wasn't complete bull....and that I may need to try a different route to give the teens what they want.
My teens are predominantly African American males between the ages of 14 - 17. Sometimes, as professionals we project what we THINK they would like, and what they actually like are two very different things! Because, so often no one asks them what they like - the teens themselves don't always readily know what they like either. I'm just going to continue to expose them to a whole bunch of stuff, and see how it goes.
Yesterday nearly shocked the fabularian out of me! So...I'll need to revisit my calendar, and but the Book Club meetings back on.