[Grantees] 2014 Teen Read Week Grantee Space

This space is intended for the use of the grantees of the 2014 Teen Read Week activity grant.

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Hi! My name is Heather Stewart and I am the Teen Librarian at Johnsburg Public Library (The first one they ever had!). We are located in Northern Illinois about 10 minutes from the Wisconsin border. We are a small community with about 2,000 teens. Each of my programs have about 6-16 teens. I am very excited to have the opportunity to have such a large program come to our library.

We are calling it "The Haunting". This will include a collection of short scary stories to discuss, a presentation of "The Unique, Spooky, Scary, Supernatural show" with William Pack. Then we will be making leaf lanterns and heading outside for a bonfires and discussion of books. Plus of course smores and roasted hot dogs. 

Hi my name is Sara Brunkhorst and I am the Teen Librarian for the Lemont Public Library in the southern suburbs of Chicago. I am the only Teen Librarian for my library and we have a small but loyal group of regular program attendees (about 8 for our TAG group and 5-15 for programs depending on type and time). Lemont has a little over 2,000 teens enrolled in our public schools. I am hoping that this grant will help to raise the awareness of the library and our events for teens. It also won't hurt the chances of our referendum passing this fall to expand the library and create a new teen space.

My program will take place over the course of Teen Read Week, and a little before. We have a great local author who is self-published who has agreed to give a workshop on indie authorship and how to create your book. The main part of the program will be a contest to create their own original idea for a book, a book cover, and a read-a-like list. We will have open drop-in hours for one on one time with librarians or Miranda to ask questions about writing, graphic design (if they choose to use software to create their cover) and any other help they may need. The entries must be turned in by the Sunday that kicks off TRW and there will be open voting over the course of the week. 

We will be purchasing plenty of books on how to write a novel or poetry, self-publishing manuals, and books that were written by young authors to display leading up to and during TRW. We will also be challenging the teens to participate in NaNoWriMo. At the end we will have a big party to announce the winners. We will have door prizes and Kindle Fires for the over-all winners.

Hi there! My name is Kayla Kuni and I am a library assistant at the New Port Richey Public Library. I will have my Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida on August 9th, so I am pretty pumped about that! I have worked for my library since April 2013 and have found that the teens that I work with have very creative and interesting voices. In the past, we have had struggles with getting tens to commit to programs, but this TRW program is one that has actually been growing in size!

For our Teen Read Week event, we are going to be putting on a play inspired by books that teens today read, love, and have dreams about. The teens will be writing, producing, directing, acting,  and designing every aspect of this play. We have already had four production meetings (with two more planned for this week!) and during these meetings ideas are being discussed. Last month, we established a Google doc so that all of the teens could write the play in the comfort of their own spaces whenever they wished. I was really excited about getting this grant because I made a post on the Google doc right after getting the news and there were four teens currently working on the play who were all super excited about it. 

We have established a stronger relationship with a local high school during the planning of this play. I emailed the principal of the school and inquired about using their gym for the event. While the gym was booked pretty solidly the week of October 12-18, they offered any other space on campus we would like to use. I will be going to the school sometime this week to look at the spaces and, hopefully, see about getting band students involved in the production.

As of last week, the teens also liked the idea of having other teens read their original poetry during intermission. I am going to get in touch with all of our local high school and middle school language arts teachers about partnering with them for the intermission portion of our play. The teens also want to help their community out in some way with this event. Instead of charging admission to the play, we are going to ask patrons to bring canned food. TRW is about a month before Thanksgiving and we figured a canned food drive might bring awareness to the needs of our community.

Hi Kayla! Congrats on your degree. I earned mine May 2013 so I remember the excitement!!

How many teens do you have working on the play? It's great that you have teens will to be outspoken, perform in front of and audience and read their poetry. What is the average age of your teens? I mentioned to my teens about having a poetry slam during National Poetry Week last year and they all looked at me like I was crazy - AND that was just in front of each other!!



Kayla Kuni said:

Hi there! My name is Kayla Kuni and I am a library assistant at the New Port Richey Public Library. I will have my Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida on August 9th, so I am pretty pumped about that! I have worked for my library since April 2013 and have found that the teens that I work with have very creative and interesting voices. In the past, we have had struggles with getting tens to commit to programs, but this TRW program is one that has actually been growing in size!

For our Teen Read Week event, we are going to be putting on a play inspired by books that teens today read, love, and have dreams about. The teens will be writing, producing, directing, acting,  and designing every aspect of this play. We have already had four production meetings (with two more planned for this week!) and during these meetings ideas are being discussed. Last month, we established a Google doc so that all of the teens could write the play in the comfort of their own spaces whenever they wished. I was really excited about getting this grant because I made a post on the Google doc right after getting the news and there were four teens currently working on the play who were all super excited about it. 

We have established a stronger relationship with a local high school during the planning of this play. I emailed the principal of the school and inquired about using their gym for the event. While the gym was booked pretty solidly the week of October 12-18, they offered any other space on campus we would like to use. I will be going to the school sometime this week to look at the spaces and, hopefully, see about getting band students involved in the production.

As of last week, the teens also liked the idea of having other teens read their original poetry during intermission. I am going to get in touch with all of our local high school and middle school language arts teachers about partnering with them for the intermission portion of our play. The teens also want to help their community out in some way with this event. Instead of charging admission to the play, we are going to ask patrons to bring canned food. TRW is about a month before Thanksgiving and we figured a canned food drive might bring awareness to the needs of our community.

Yeah, my teens gave me that look when I recommended us having a water table at a local 5K; they would have had to have been at the table (awake, clothed, fed, and smiling) by 5:30 AM. That did not go over well.

I have about 10 teens involved right now in the writing process and showing up for the weekly meetings. I have other teens that are interested in helping, but are waiting to get involved until we have more written. (I think they want to be involved in the design of the stage and props.) I would say the average age is about 16, although I have two that are 13 and 14. I have had a lot of interest from 12-14 year olds as far as acting goes, which is a great thing. Part of my budget is going to be spent on marketing the play (by having professional signs made and posted around the city) so I anticipate a large audience for this event. I just finished a meeting now and had two new ladies show up, so I am super excited. It is a little rough  when we get new people because I have to spend time re-explaining how this play is working for the first 10 minutes of each meeting.

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Owen I am from Coffeyville KS. I am the program director and young adult librarian at the public library and I am working on my MLS. We have a small program but until I was hired a year ago there was a LOT of turnover in this position. I am excited to have a chance to kick-start the program in our community this year.
I am also excited to see all of the other ideas out there. I might have lost my mind(likely) but I have a book-a-thon lock in planned for Friday nighd. Heather has given me the idea to try to spooky ideas that night to tie into the Halloween excitement going on as well.

Other things we have planned: career and college fair, video chats with former residents and friends who have unusual and exciting careers and how they got there (basically I am exploiting my friends who have had success in different areas of entertainment and politics).

Hope to chat with everyone soon as we work on projects!

Hello all! My name is Natasha Payne-Brunson and I am the Young Adult Librarian Coordinator for the Richmond Public Library in Richmond, Virginia. I heavily emphasize on recycling and re-purposing and a lot of my programs evolve around re-purposing. I also have a TAG group and each year in December we have a recyclable craft and bake sale. Teen Read Week is going to be huge for us this year. We are going to have a program called Teen "14 where a group of award-winning and best-selling Virginia authors of books released in 2014 will host an evening of celebration for teen readers. Last year was very popular and we hope to do this every year. Then on Saturday to end Teen Read Week, there is ‘The Young Writers' Conference’. This is a workshop for high school students and the students who want to participate must register. The program is held in conjunction with the annual Virginia Literary Festival. Authors from different parts of the state will provide workshops to enhance writing skills and sharpen creative thought. 

The Grant:

The project we proposed is part of our DIY-YA series and its called "MakerClub”, a book club with a hands-on project component, to launch during Teen Read Week.  We will kick it off by reading Makers by Cory Doctorow and creating lanterns with discarded library books, LEDs, and muslin fabric, which will then be used to put on display for Teen '14 and afterwards to decorate our teen space.  We intend to eventually make the program available at all branches.  Teens will read Makers, which is readily available as a free PDF download through the author’s website, in addition to the print copies the library owns.  This program will be inclusive and encourage participation at all levels; teens will be welcome to participate in the book lantern project and discussion even if they don’t read the book.  We will discuss the book during Teen Read Week while we create the lanterns, with the possibility of having Mr. Doctorow join the discussion via Google Hangout.


Hi Natasha!

I would love to hear more about your book lanterns - maybe a picture and instructions. We are making leaf lanterns at my event.
Natasha Payne-Brunson said:

Hello all! My name is Natasha Payne-Brunson and I am the Young Adult Librarian Coordinator for the Richmond Public Library in Richmond, Virginia. I heavily emphasize on recycling and re-purposing and a lot of my programs evolve around re-purposing. I also have a TAG group and each year in December we have a recyclable craft and bake sale. Teen Read Week is going to be huge for us this year. We are going to have a program called Teen "14 where a group of award-winning and best-selling Virginia authors of books released in 2014 will host an evening of celebration for teen readers. Last year was very popular and we hope to do this every year. Then on Saturday to end Teen Read Week, there is ‘The Young Writers' Conference’. This is a workshop for high school students and the students who want to participate must register. The program is held in conjunction with the annual Virginia Literary Festival. Authors from different parts of the state will provide workshops to enhance writing skills and sharpen creative thought. 

The Grant:

The project we proposed is part of our DIY-YA series and its called "MakerClub”, a book club with a hands-on project component, to launch during Teen Read Week.  We will kick it off by reading Makers by Cory Doctorow and creating lanterns with discarded library books, LEDs, and muslin fabric, which will then be used to put on display for Teen '14 and afterwards to decorate our teen space.  We intend to eventually make the program available at all branches.  Teens will read Makers, which is readily available as a free PDF download through the author’s website, in addition to the print copies the library owns.  This program will be inclusive and encourage participation at all levels; teens will be welcome to participate in the book lantern project and discussion even if they don’t read the book.  We will discuss the book during Teen Read Week while we create the lanterns, with the possibility of having Mr. Doctorow join the discussion via Google Hangout.


I love the idea of having a writers festival that is composed of local authors. We have a few local writers but they tend to be either children's writers or adult fiction writers. We have at least one local writer who writes teen books (and was my middle school language arts teacher). A few years ago, we had an event with her and only two people showed...neither were teens. I think you are on the right track. If you make it into a festival with many writers you will likely get a bigger turnout.

I have to say teen reading clubs have been a struggle here with me. The only minor success I have had is that the creation of the reading program has helped establish a relationship with a local English teacher who was going to have her school's book club meet at the library over the summer. (That ended up not working since none of the teens showed.) I would get frustrated when no one would come to events until I discovered that I had not made them interesting enough. I think my teens saw my book club as more homework so I am going to re-think how I market it for the spring as I will not be doing it in the fall. I am hoping to get a few more contacts at local high schools and see if they might be willing to assist with reading programs. I know when I was in school, teachers offered extra credit for students who could prove that they were doing things with the library. 


  Kayla, 

I have also struggled with teen Book Clubs. I tried 3 different times, twice because a teen (a different one both times) asked me to have one. They all failed - one person would show up at the most. Then I started holding the meetings at the high school because the teens would already be there. Our school has late start on Thursdays, so once a month I would hold the meeting before school started and the books were available through an English teacher. This worked better having been 2 and 3 - 2 no one showed up (once being the teacher's fault. The only issue I found was that we still have 5 books missing that never got returned. The teacher was supposed to be tracking who took them out and returned them.

This fall, I am going to try another approach. We will be meeting at Yogeeze and the library will by the frozen yogurt as we discuss the books. I am actually going to launch this idea during teen read week.

However, I find this task very difficult, even though I have teens that seem interested. So I would also welcome suggestions!

I have been holding teen discussions for the Teens' top ten nominees once a month all summer long. We discuss any books that the teens have read. I thought this might increase interest because they have 25 titles to pick from. I have had 2 meetings so far and the first meeting no one showed, second meeting I had 2. I even having a drawing to win some of the titles for all participants. Nothing seems to be working. 


Kayla Kuni said:


I love the idea of having a writers festival that is composed of local authors. We have a few local writers but they tend to be either children's writers or adult fiction writers. We have at least one local writer who writes teen books (and was my middle school language arts teacher). A few years ago, we had an event with her and only two people showed...neither were teens. I think you are on the right track. If you make it into a festival with many writers you will likely get a bigger turnout.

I have to say teen reading clubs have been a struggle here with me. The only minor success I have had is that the creation of the reading program has helped establish a relationship with a local English teacher who was going to have her school's book club meet at the library over the summer. (That ended up not working since none of the teens showed.) I would get frustrated when no one would come to events until I discovered that I had not made them interesting enough. I think my teens saw my book club as more homework so I am going to re-think how I market it for the spring as I will not be doing it in the fall. I am hoping to get a few more contacts at local high schools and see if they might be willing to assist with reading programs. I know when I was in school, teachers offered extra credit for students who could prove that they were doing things with the library. 

Heather, we are working with teens who have an abundance of technology which can be hard to compete with. I have so many parents who come to me on a daily basis looking for books for their children who are addicted (and I am serious in my use of that word) to video games. One mother says her son plays video games from 8 to 12 hours a day. The obvious question would be "well, you pay for all of this stuff, so why allow that to continue?" But, after talking to her (and many others like her) I realize that they were unprepared for how their child's brain would develop in response to the rapid stimuli of video games. We are seeing a group that is struggling with reading because there is "better" stuff to do. For kids who have a hard time settling down to read a book, I have found a lifeline with graphic novels. I have many teens who are in love with manga, but novels like Smile and Ghostopolis have exposed teens who do not like to read to great stories. I read My Friend Dahmer last year and was so impressed by the level of research and storytelling happening in YA graphic novels. (BTW- if you have not read this book, please do. I thought it was an odd title, but then when I realized it was about Dahmer I was really surprised that the author went there. Such a well done book!) 

Great idea about the graphic novels! I do have more teens that don't read, but I can't even get my readers (some even ask for them) to come to the discussions. Maybe I will try a graphic novel!!

I LOVED My friend Dahmer :)

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