Friday, August 2, 2013

Teen Chat & Chew: A program by my colleague Angie

I work with a great teen person at my branch library. Long story short: teens respect Angie as a staff member while also enjoying her company and conversation. Which makes programs like the one she's sharing here work really, really well.

Teen Chat & Chew

I just had a wonderful program called "Chat & Chew: Coffee and Donuts Edition." Eight teenagers attended the morning program, and it was soooo much fun!

In preparation for the program--to make sure we had plenty of books to talk about--I pulled books from the list of titles that teens discussed at the BFYA session at ALA. I also pulled books from Debra Hipes's lists, etc.

During the program, we discussed and read from books. I had large sticky notes on the walls with a few topics: what everyone was currently reading, best reads of the summer, and titles the teens were eager to read after hearing what their peers had to say about them. Here's a peek at some of the lists:

Top Teen Summer Books 2013:
  • SUPER HUMAN by Michael Owen Carroll
  • THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • DEEPLY ODD by Dean R. Koontz
  • SHINE by Lauren Myracle
  • SCARLET by Marissa Meyer
  • DR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS by Evan Roskos
  • THE GLITCH TRILOGY by Heather Anastasiu
  • LENOBIA’S VOW by P.C. Cast
  • ROOM by Emma Donoghue

Books Teens HAD To Read After Hearing About Them:
  • PIRATE CINEMA by Cory Doctorow
  • OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys
  • MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
  • UNIDENTIFIED by Rae Mariz
  • LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo
  • WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan
  • MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardner

In addition to sharing books, 3 teens read excerpts from books they are currently writing; they all want to start a writing club here....oh my!

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Amy here again. What I love about these Teen Chat & Chew programs is that they are a) literacy focused and b) completely open-ended. There's space for conversation to develop along whatever lines interest the attendees, but everyone leaves having heard about great titles regardless of the direction of conversation. The program also involves little staff prep--books are pulled ahead of time and prompts are considered in case chatter wanes. Also, the only expense is the "chew" component; and goodness knows you must always feed the teens.

What results from these simple components is a safe space for teens to talk about books they love, issues they're thinking about (there's often an impromptu LGBT thread in these programs), and their personal interests. Hey, they even feel comfortable enough to not only read their own writing aloud, but to request a writing club program as well. These teens spend so many programs and volunteer interactions listening to us, the library staff; I love that we can offer programs in which we have ample opportunity to listen to them.


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