Teens Turn to Libraries for “Books with Beat”
Jennifer Peterson | October 07, 2010
As the popularity of young adult literature continues to soar and teen musical artists dominate the airwaves, thousands of teens will participate in Teen Read Week, October 17–23, 2010, celebrated this year with a theme of “Books with Beat @ your library.”
Teen Read Week, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), is an annual literacy initiative celebrated in libraries and bookstores that provides parents, caregivers and teens with resources to encourage recreational reading habits. The “Books with Beat @ your library” theme encourages teens to listen to audiobooks and read poetry, books about music, and more, just for the fun of it.
For more than a decade, Teen Read Week has encouraged teens to visit their public and school library and select their own materials to “Read For The Fun Of It.” Research shows that teens that read for fun—not just for school assignments—score significantly higher on reading tests and achieve more success academically and in the workplace, while teens who don’t read for fun lose their reading skills.
This year, participating libraries will offer reading tournaments, gaming programs, teen volunteer programs, film festivals and other creative music themed events that encourage teens to “Read For The Fun Of It.”
For example, the Southfield (Mich.) Public Library will celebrate Teen Read Week with group dance classes to teach teens the Hustle and many other well known dances. The Orange County (Fla.) Library System, will celebrate by holding Rock Band tournaments, Zumba classes, karaoke competitions, dance offs, reading competitions and more.
Also during Teen Read Week, thousands of teens will log on to a live video Web stream as YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment announce the Teens’ Top Ten, a “teen choice” list in which teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Last year, teens cast more than 11,000 online votes, naming “Paper Towns” by John Green as their favorite book.
“Teens are interested in reading and they understand that reading goes beyond a printed page,” said YALSA President Kimberly Patton. “They just need a little direction to find the right materials. Reading is a fun, free activity that teens can engage in anytime, anywhere, and in multiple formats. Librarians are trained knowledge professionals who excel at matching the right book or other material to the right teen.”
Teen Read Week also provides teens, families and others a chance to show their support for libraries. As the demand for young adult materials and services continue to increase, library service cuts take place during crucial hours for teens. In 2010, 55 percent of urban libraries reported funding cuts. One-quarter of urban libraries reduced their operating hours. Fifteen percent of all U.S. libraries (roughly 2,400 libraries) cut the number of hours they are open. Teen Read Week is a good opportunity for educators, librarians, parents and caregivers, and teens to spend time at their library and demonstrate to elected officials and other stakeholders the importance of funding libraries and teen services.
For more information on Teen Read Week, please visit the Teen Read Week website, or contact Macey Morales, ALA Media Relations Manager, email@example.com, or Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Peterson is Public Relations Specialist/Media Relations for the ALA Public Information Office (PIO).