Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Reading Has Begun! (And I Think They Actually Like it)

What a couple of weeks it has been!
Summer Reading has officially begun here in my library, and with it came our first teen-focused program.  Heroes & Villains is off to a booming start, with over 25 teens signed up (HUGE for teenagers), and some even having reached a checkpoint already.
There are a lot of little components, which confused me for a while, but I think I've finally gotten it to the point where it is easy to digest.
So, here's the final rundown of our Heroes & Villains SRP Kickoff!

Marketing & Materials

Each teen that signs up receives a contact card (punch card):

Teens can "check-in" with us once a week to receive a punch on their card for any ONE spaces.  They turn in a Debriefing form{below} with a short review and we check to make sure the space they're getting a punch for is the same as the one on their form.  A completed card is their entry into our grand prize raffle!  Thanks to a generous donation from our library Friends group, we are able to offer a Kindle Fire AND a Wireless Gaming chair as our 2 grand prizes.

Now, my other concern was how to keep them interested throughout the summer.  One huge draw for them is that they can turn in as many forms as they wish per week, so even though they only get one punch on their card, and can only win a grand prize from those, they can enter as many forms as they want for chances to win weekly raffles as well.  

Teens got kind of left out of the mix last year, as many of our weekly and check-in prizes were kind of geared towards younger kids.  Rubber ducks and removable tattoos were not very appealing to them.  So this year I ordered a few different things from Rhode Island Novelty as opposed to Oriental Trading, where I get the majority of my other novelties and prizes.  We also have coupons from local businesses and food establishments to give away as well, so hopefully this will keep the flow of reviews coming in steadily!

Teen SRP Promotional Poster

Inner-Library Decor 

Another way I found to show them how much they were a seperate but equally important part of our summer down here in Youth Services was through their teen room.  The larger part of the department is usually decorated heavily to coincide with our summer reading theme.  This year we have everything from cardboard castles to beanstalks along our pillars to highlight the What's Your Story theme our kids are doing.  I wanted the teens to have something similar that would make them feel excited and show a visual commitment to their program.

To do this, I recalled a friend of mine purchasing these huge life-size wall graphics for her husband one year, and did a little research to see if the company was still around. It was!  Fatheads is alive and very well, and to my great joy, had just released a new series of superhero wall decals to coincide with the release of the Avengers movie.  It took a little over-thinking to decide on the right ones to order, but we finally chose Black Widow, The Incredible Hulk, and Batman.

We shut down the teen room for two days as we applied the fatheads and hung streamers.
I would HIGHLY recommend these graphics.  They look AMAZING in person, and are very easily applied and removed.  I moved the Hulk at least twice, and you'd never be able to tell.

Each graphic also came with at least four mini-graphics!  I wasn't expecting these at all.  We used a few of them, and the rest will be used as prizes during the summer.  
I changed all our displays to books and movies that highlighted superheros and comics as well. 


Program Kick-Off Celebration

We launched both Summer Reading programs on the same Saturday but I chose to do teen sign-ups in their actual teen room while playing superhero movies and music and showcasing interesting things from our collection.  It was a great way for me to talk to them about our upcoming events, and get their feedback.

For every teen that signed up, I also asked them if they thought of themselves as a hero, anti-hero, or villain.  I was VERY surprised at some of the answers.  I'm thinking about making a visual graph in the room for them to see the results at the end of the summer.

I even dressed as a superhero myself.  LOL

Initial Reactions

Many of the teens have been really excited that they can get credit for doing more than "just reading".  I've tried to acknowledge all the various parts of their lives that can be connected to forms of literacy and activity.

I've only had one parent give me "words", about how it wasn't a summer "reading" program.  But in my opinion, the program is for the TEENS.  If it isn't interesting and inviting for THEM, then who are we actually serving?  Oh, I know, the teens who are already proficient in reading and dont' really need it OR the teen who will HATE reading because his mom always shoves it down his throat.

I'll take the word of the non-readers whose eyes lit up at the fact they could read manga and use Twitter over one angry mom any day.


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