Starring TAB favorites!

Every winter my TAB teens work themselves into a frenzy finding books to “star” during our annual “star” meeting.  It’s a fun activity that helps them “own” the YA collection, via special stickers, and highlight the books they think are special and wish others would read.

Setting up this meeting is easy.  I have a “star” template for stickers that I make in-house.  On the rectangular form, one side features a star and the other says “Northbrook Teen Recommended 2011.”  Each year I change the sticker’s background color (and of course the year).  Each teen gets ten stickers.  They may pick a book from anywhere in the library, but only YA and Juv books get the sticker on the spine (Adult ref and reader’s advisory prefer the sticker to go on a book’s inside cover.)

Once they’ve collected their books, they bring them back to our meeting room, put the sticker on the book, and then fill out a form listing all ten books.  I use the list later to make up teen lists or bibliographies.

The new twist this year, now that we’ve migrated to a new catalog, was inputting their number 1 favorite books onto a Bibliocommons list under Staff Picks – Teens.  Instant gratification!

As always it’s always fun to see what these 6th-12th graders pick as favorites.  Below are some of these teen faves, with their comments,  for you to peruse!

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The characters were very realistic and I loved the history.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Great sequel to Incarceron.

Wizards First Rule – Terry Goodkind

The start of an amazing series, so there’s plenty more to read if you find it interesting!

Born to Rock by Gordon Korman

The plot is very intriguing.

Green Day by Ben Myers

This was a great book about an amazing band.

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

It is a fast-paced book that is very exciting and lively.

The Last Olympian b Rick Riordan

Entertaining and suspenseful. The best of the whole series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly  Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It was a really intense book because it had a lot of drama, romance, and of course, wizardry!

Id_entity by Hee-Joon Son

It’s a good manga.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Suspenseful and funny – an unusual combination.

Beautiful examinations of normal life in a surreal manner.

It’s really really good. And it’s a vampire book where they don’t sparkle!

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

A very meaningful and deep book. It made me cry.


Teen Volunteers

Many Jr. High and High School students have community service requirements to fulfill for school or church or (perhaps) something less wholesome. If we can come up with some jobs for these volunteers that are interesting and/or meaningful their level of investment will be higher, their perception of the library may change or elevate and you could engage some new or more frequent users.  I just presented at the Illinois Library Association Conference on Teen Volunteers with some super awesome people (Lynn Elam and Tobe Liebert from Hinsdale Public Library, Amy Alessio and Dan Schnepf from Schaumburg Township District Library, and Diane Norris from Orland Park Public Library). If you are looking for meaningful ways to engage your teen patrons, here’s a few ideas:

1. Computer/Tech Mentors – a few libraries are pairing teens with adults to give one – on -one instruction on all things technological. Mentoring sessions could include learning to create a PowerPoint, opening photo attachments in e-mail, setting up an e-mail account and more.
2. Tech Aides – Libraries are also using teen volunteers during busy after school hours, evenings and weekends to help troubleshoot computers, printers and copiers.
3. Readers and Leaders – The Orland Park Public Library trains teens to work with pre-readers using Every Child Ready to Read initiatives as well as hands on multi-sensory activities that encourage pre-reading skills scanning from left to right, letter formation, and narrative skill development. The teens go through extensive training, are given checklists each week to work from and talk with parents after each session about what they worked on with their children.
4. Service Projects for the Community – Schaumburg Township Library District has been particularily proactive with it’s Teen Corps programs ( They create community service projects such as knitting projects to go to new babies and animals in shelter.
5. Service Projects in your Library – You can also use teens to help start/complete projects in your library such as creating youtube videos to promote your collection or give instruction on how to use something in the library, helping with space planning, rearranging/redesigning collections/furniture in you YA Department, and creating promotional flyers.