Keep Teens Reading

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Back to School Print Email

John Green has a message for teens going back to school that we thought was worth sharing.  

“Regardless of where you live, primary education became a requirement sometime after 1775,” he said. “This 250-year period has been a pretty good run for humans — featuring, you know, steam engines, the Internet, antibiotics, skyscrapers, a stunning increase in life expectancy, home pizza delivery, water purification plants and landing a freaking Mini Cooper on Mars. Needless to say, this is not a coincidence.” Education, he concluded, “isn’t just about you. Your nation is making an investment in you because they believe that you are worth it. So the next time you’re, like, half-asleep in class, fantasizing about being a kid chosen for a special mission or wizard school or whatever, please remember something: You are special, and you’ve been chosen for a special mission that was denied to 99.9 percent of all humans ever. We need you, we believe in you, and we’re counting on you.”

Thank you John Green! If you students to stay awake, we librarians will stay awake with you.

A Week with Babies on the Brain Print Email
When is the right time to start a family?  Who has it hardest, teen moms or teen dads?  How do we get stereotyped by friends, family and strangers, and how does that change the way we see ourselves?  Does telling a lie matter if you are doing something for the greater good?  All of these questions came up when we spent a week reading aloud and discussing two books about teenage pregnancy at the Juvenile Detention Center.

We read The Pregnancy Project by Gabby Rodriquez the first half of the week and followed it with The First Part Last by Angela Johnson the second half of the week.   Reading these two books side by side ended up working really well.  Our book club was split over which title was their favorite and why.

When asked who had it harder, everyone went with Bobby in The First Place Last, who is doing his best to be a teen dad and finish high school.  When asked if the author Angela Johnson did a good job of getting into the head of a teenage boy, every teenage boy in the group answered “yes.”  The Pregnancy Project was a page turner, all but one of our teens read ahead and everyone had finished it by day three.

One of my favorite parts of book club is that often the guards will drop in to talk about the book.  They try to keep up on what we are reading and always have their own opinions they are willing to share.  It really feels like everyone at the JDC is into book club  that one week a month.

Our snack Friday was pickles and ice cream-you can guess why.

Aubri Keleman

Connecting with Teens Online Print Email

How do authors and publishers connect with teens and build up excitement about their next title?  Take a look at this article from Publisher’s Weekly to get a snapshot of the everse for young bibliovores right now.


Ereaders+Teens+Summer=Something Wonderful? Print Email

During our school visits at Meridian Middle School students would often say that they wanted to check out titles but couldn’t get to the library over the summer.  It’s understandable-the Meridian /Laurel community does not have a library at its center.

To help some of these students have access to more books over the summer-and to learn more about teens and ereading we’ve loaned 10 ereaders out to Meridian Middle School students for the whole summer.   Each ereader came preloaded with books that the students helped pick.  This fall we will be interviewing the teens to find what it was like having an ereader-and if it changed their perspective on reading at all.  

We want to compare this ereading experience with print reading for these teens, so we sent everyone with a print title that they have on their ereaders as will be really intersting to find out which format kept teens reading.

Special thanks to Whatcom County Library Foundation for the Airoldi Innovation Grant that allows us to ask big wonderful questions about books and teens.


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