This can be a hard time of year for many teenagers. There are the school tests, report cards and SAT exams; the Homecoming dance and prom, with their own potential for drama and heartbreak; not to mention the family dynamics that flare up during holidays (heightened by relatives visiting, school breaks, etc.). If you’re feeling a little frazzled, here are some suggested reads: The Big Book of Hell, a cartoon collection from Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) because sometimes it’s just better to laugh than to cry over those romantic disappointments and snarky teachers. The Gossip Girl series is a quick read about a set of New York private school students that may provide a welcome escape from your own teenage melodramas. Looking for something more serious? High School’s Not Forever features stories of “survivors” and how they got through all the challenges.
Archive for the ‘Teens’ Category
Idaho recently released the findings from a focus group they conducted with digital natives–that is, those who grew up with computers and the Internet, young adults ages 12 through 25. The goal was to find out why this group was using the state’s libraries less than other groups and to see what could be done to serve them better. Okay, so this is the kind of report that only a librarian would read but I want to share a few glimpses with you if you’ll bear with me.
Among the groups’ ideas on what an ideal public library would offer:
* Librarians who can suggest books they might like.
* Wireless access.
* A teen area.
* An adult reading program.
* Headphones to use at the computers.
* A teen council that can help plan programs and give input to staff.
* A coffee shop.
Etcetera. It may be that Idaho is still in the Dark Ages library-wise, but I doubt it. If they’re like our branch, they already offer most of these things. And a teen advisory group is forming here next month after a long hiatus. (I don’t see a coffee shop in our near future, but it’s only a block to Jodie’s Diner.)
It’s hard to know what’s behind the disconnect, but if you ever wish the library would offer a program or service, please talk to us instead of waiting for a pollster to call. It just may be that we already have what you’re asking for!
I was asked recently to compile book suggestions for a small teen center under development at MacGregor, the continuation high school in our district. After looking at online booklists and thinking about books teens have often requested at the reference desk, I came up with a wide array of fiction and nonfiction titles that young adults might like and relate to—even those who aren’t eager students. If you or someone you know fall into this category, here are some books you might try:
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, a novel about a nonconformist girl and how her courage changed things at her high school.
- A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer, a heartbreaking memoir of an abusive childhood that many young people find compelling.
- The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur, a frequently requested poetry collection by the late rap star.
- Classics such as On the Road, To Kill a Mockingbird, and War of the Worlds seem to be more enjoyable when kids pick them up by choice, rather having them assigned in class.
- Books by Sarah Dessen resonate with many girls, while John Marsden’s books are popular with boys.
Of course, this is just a small sampling of good books for teens. For more suggestions, come see us at the reference desk.
Teen Read Week is underway. This year’s theme is “LOL @ your library.” The event’s homepage links to lists of funny books you may want to read, a list of teen-chosen top books of every genre, and a survey you can enter online to pick your favorites from among these popular titles. Check it out before the fun ends on October 20.
Albany schools started back up this week and teens will soon be busier than ever with classes, extracurricular activities, and new friends. That’s why we want to remind you about all the resources the library offers that you can access from home whenever it’s convenient for you. Students in grades 4 through 12 or doing college prep work can connect with tutors every day from 1pm to 10pm. Just click the Live Homework Help link on our homepage to get started. If you need help with a library question, you can IM a librarian Monday through Thursday from 3pm to 5pm or send us an email anytime. For assignments that require research, check out all the databases and Web sites linked from our Teen Scene Homework Help page. When the SAT, AP and college entry tests come around, you can get help online preparing for them. You can check all these services out from the comfort of your own home if you have Internet access, or come to the library to use our Internet computers. Of course, we librarians are happy to help you in person if you come to the library, but even if you can’t come by we hope you’ll take advantage of all the resources available to you.
If you believe the USA Today bestseller list, more people bought Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer during the second week of August than bought the final Harry Potter book. This is the third in the Twilight series, a vampires-in-love saga for young adults. (You can reserve the first and second books in the series, Twilight and New Moon, at the library, and we’ll be getting Eclipse ASAP.) If you’re into teen vampire fiction, you may also want to check out the Cirque du Freak series, which starts out at a circus freak show and then gets even stranger, or Vampire Kisses, in which normal teen high school experiences get complicated by vampirism. Why wait for Halloween to enjoy books this good?
All those “Back to School” sales are making it hard to ignore the fact that summer’s coming to an end and school days are only a couple of weeks away. But it’s not too late to read a few more good books, whether to distract yourself from reality or to prepare for the new school year. Here are a few suggestions for high school readers: Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak) has written a book called Twisted about a high school guy whose life has become just that. It’s a quick read, and will make you glad at least you’re not him. If you like the sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, don’t miss Forever in Blue, the final book in the series about the friends’ last glorious summer together. For pure silly escapism, try 10 Things to do Before I Die. And if you’re eager to get cracking on required Albany High School reading, you might start in on To Kill a Mockingbird (9th grade), Brave New World (10th), or The Great Gatsby (11th).
Last month I attended an interesting workshop on techniques to enliven library spaces for YAs (that’s young adults, in library lingo). The instructor thinks the YA area should look more like a teenager’s bedroom – fun, playful and creative – than like the quiet, orderly structure we all expect in a traditional library room. “HotShelving” books by displaying the book cover art, decorating shelves with colored paper, and having related items stacked on the shelf (like a stack of pancakes) is one way to start. Fun, flexible seating is another possibility. The example shown here is by designer Sakura Adachi. How do you like these ideas? What else would you change to make our YA area more inviting to teenagers? What would entice you to hang out and browse?
If you haven’t signed up for the Teen Summer Reading Program yet, it’s not too late! The game will be playing through August 18, and we still have lots of good prizes to give away. Read 25 hours and we’ll give you a bungee watch or tri-colored marker. Read 50 hours and take home a free book by a popular author such as Meg Cabot or Walter Dean Myers plus a certificate for a free game at Albany Bowl. But like they say about the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play! Sign up at the Reference Desk.
Since becoming a “teen librarian” in February, I’ve been reading
books written for young adults as fast as I can. I want to be able to recommend books to our patrons and to know more about what high school students are reading. Two of the books I’ve read recently are related to one my old favorites, The Catcher in the Rye. The first one has been compared to that classic but I thought it was boring. If any of you reading this have read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, can you tell me what you liked about it? The other book, which I loved, is called King Dork. This one includes a mystery related to a dead father’s notes in the margins of his old copy of Catcher in the Rye, among many other wacky things. Besides being funny and strange, this book was written by a local writer who happens to be in a punk band. How cool is that? Here’s an excerpt.