Friday, December 20, 2013

What to call my Kids Advisory Board?

I've been offering a monthly Kids Advisory Board program for about nine months now. The program is successful in essentials--a variety of kids ages 9-12 attend, we talk about books, we talk about what programs they want to see happen in the library, etc. The only problem is that, despite there being a variety of kids who have attended so far, only 2-3 children ever show up at any given program.

I've tried personal phone calls to past attendees as a reminder of upcoming meetings. I've tried all manner of promotional signs around the branch to recruit new members. None of it has worked, and so I think a rebranding is in order.

Really? You thought that program name would work?
When I brought up this issue at the December Kids Advisory Board program, both the attendees--one female, one male (if that even matters)--were totally on board with the idea of a name change. According to these children, nine- to twelve-year-olds don't always associate with the term "kids" anymore. In their experience, "kids" means young children, 2nd grade and younger. So calling the program the Kids Advisory Board is potentially missing my target audience. They also told me they don't identify with the word "tween," and that if some age signifier absolutely needs to be employed, they prefer "pre-teen." Also, I was informed that "advisory board" sounds like work and not fun.

So, "Kids" is out. "Advisory Board" sis. What to call this group, then?

I've been playing around with different program names that may somehow reflect the fact that this is a social group for older elementary students, and that books and library happenings will be discussed. Here are some of the names I'm considering, culled both from pre-teens' suggestions and my own browsing of library event listings and blogs:
  • The Idea Squad
  • Books and More
  • Library Club
  • Chatterbooks

Dear reader, do you possess insight or advice on this topic? Do you have a similar type of group/program at your library, and what do you call it? Do you have a good suggestion? Or may just an example of when you've rebranded a program to give it a new look? I'd love to hear any and all thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.


  1. I had this same question a few months ago. I'm starting a monthly program for grades 3-6 in January -- kind of like a junior TAG, but I'm focusing more on activities we'll be doing in publicity -- and I was beating my brains out to come up with a name for it. I asked for suggestions on PUBYAC and received many responses (I love PUBYAC!). I wound up going with Tweensday because it's short, to the point and open-ended.

    I originally shield away from using "tween" in my program name because, like you said, I don't think kids really identify with the term. In discussing names with a coworker, though, she made a point I never considered: their parents do. Adults recognize tween as a term for kids ranging anywhere from first to sixth grade and, for better or worse, adults are probably the ones deciding if an elementary age child attends a library program at my library. These kids can't drive or coordinate their own schedules, and most of them aren't picking up program guides at the library or looking up programs online. I hope Tweensday easily tells adults "This isn't a preschool program! The library does things for older kids!", but isn't so offensive to said older kids that they refuse to come.

    That being said, I currently have a post-it on my computer saying "Creativity Lab?", and, had I thought of it sooner, Tweensday would likely be the Creativity Lab. Maybe later in 2014 :)

    1. I REALLY love the idea of a Creativity Lab. Then we can work in all sorts of different activities because creativity can have so many applications. Thanks for the suggestion! I hope your rebranding is working!

  2. I've attempted a rebranding of our 3rd-5th grade book club (previously Award-Winning Book Club, which I was very glad to toss out the window). I changed it to "Top Secret Book Club." This last session went okay, and the kids LOVED the concept. I'm breathlessly waiting to see if more sign up this January. I blogged about the process and the incredibly popular "License to Reads" I made for the kids:

    I could see you coming up with a name (my tired mind came up with L.I.A. - Library Information Agency - since acronyms are kinda extra cool right now with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and also because I keep hearing Carol Kane from The Princess Bride shouting "Liar~Liiiia!"). Anywho, I could see you doing the agent cards/code names and somehow maybe have the cards actually serve a purpose beyond being a cool memento. What? I'm not sure - some simple library privilege that other kids would find cool and want.

    Good luck, and best wishes! -Rebecca


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