The Teen-Centered Book Club

Readers into Leaders

by Bonnie Kunzel, Constance Hardesty


Here is every thing you need to start, revive or expand your teen book club-and turn readers into leaders.

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March 2006

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs/Reading Promotion and Literacy
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Vibrant, dynamic teen book clubs—the kind teens eagerly anticipate and attend session after session—are teen-centered. With innovative, pragmatic ideas that will attract and retain teen readers, this guide provides everything you need to run a successful, teen-centered book club. Covering every step, from planning and promoting to how to prompt discussion and keep it civilized, this is a one-stop source for the teen book club leader. Dozens of reproducibles for teens include book lists, ground rules, and book-based activities. The book even has directions for evaluating your club and lists of resources for more information. Whether you're starting a teen book club, trying to revive a flagging program, or wish to build on past success, if you're involved in a teen book club, this guide is a must.

What's the difference between a teen book club and an adult one? Too often, the answer is Not much. Like so many programs for teens, traditional book clubs tend to be scaled-down versions of adult clubs. If book selection, taboo topics, and logistical details are the most important things that set your teen book club apart from an adult one, you could be missing a huge opportunity. Vibrant, dynamic teen book clubs—the kind teens eagerly anticipate and attend session after session—are teen-centered. They're not merely by, for and about teens, but are grounded in the admittedly radical idea that the club is not primarily about library programming or even about books (!) but is all about teens—their interests and needs, their social habits and styles, their initiative. Books are the medium and the club is the method to achieve the ultimate goal of developing teen readers and leaders. Furthermore, the teen-centered book club has huge potential to further a whole range of library goals, from bringing more teen patrons through the door, to building community-wide awareness and support for the library itself. What sets this book apart from the typical book club guide is that it is the only guide that addresses the unique constraints of public and school libraries—budgeting, impact on the facility and the collection, and potential attempts at censorship, to name just a few. It's also the only guide that takes a teen-centered approach, putting front-and-center the idea that, as with so many other things, book clubs for teens are not merely scaled-back versions of adult clubs. Whether you are starting a club, attempting to revive a flagging program, or building on past success, this manual offers you innovative, pragmatic ideas that will attract and retain teen readers. Grades 6-12.

Teen Book Clubs offers a fresh new approach for today's teen readers and clear instructions, along with tips and ideas, for building teen-centered book clubs. In 12 brief chapters the book covers: the teen-centered book club: what it is and what it takes to make it work putting it together: planning and putting the plan in action going public: recruiting, boosting visibility, garnering support 15 cunningly creative types of teen book clubs using book club to develop teen leaders scads of book lists, reproducibles, and sample discussion prompters tweaking, troubleshooting, and tips for keeping it civilized evaluations beyond measure resources for more information. Filled with practical checklists, figures, worksheets, and reproducibles, this is the guide that all teen book club leaders should have.

Table of Contents

PrefaceBefore Book Club Begins: Laying the Foundation for SuccessWhat's a Teen-Centered Book Club?Listening to Learn: Straightforward Tips and Sneaky Tricks for Getting to Know the Teens You ServePlan to Build a Better Book ClubLet's Go Clubbing! Six Traditional and Innovative Book ClubsLets Go Clubbing Some More! Seven More Traditional and Innovative Book ClubsWord Out! Ways to Take your Club PublicThe Nitty-Gritty Book Club Guide: From First to Final MeetingIt's Clubbing Time! Creating a Great First MeetingFrom an Embarrassment of Riches to a Single Gem: The Fine Art and Meticulous Science of Book SelectionBefore We Open our Mouths: Preparing for Book DiscussionIn the Thick of Things: Facilitating and Participating in Book DiscussionsOnly Connect: Activities That Bring Teens Together Around BooksTaking the Measure of Your Success: Painless Assessment That Pays OffAppendix A: Book Club ValuesAppendix B: An Array of Book Club Back-up Questions



"In The Teen-Centered Book Club, YA specialists Kunzel and Hardesty propose a new model for book clubs that encourages teenagers to take the lead. Like Mahood, the authors have the utmost respect for teen patrons, outlining numerous strategies for understanding teen patrons and developing plans to involve teens in the process of creating and participating in a book club. Their book supplies both motivation and nuts-and-bolts information to help librarians through the process of starting book clubs that meet the goals of the library and the needs and interests of teen patrons, while working within the constraints of a librarian's time and programming budget....Any librarian contemplating offering a book club for teens will find this title to be a superior guide. (Reviewed with A Passion for Print, Mahood, Libraries Unlimited, 2006)"Library Journal

"Would you like to start a teen book club or make an existing one better? If so, Libraries Unlimited has added another wonderful resource to their Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians series that will offer assistance to both public and school libraries....What makes this text unique is the attitude of the adult's role in the book club. The authors use the title teen-centered very deliberately. Their intention is not for the adult to pick out a book, invite teens to join, and lead the discussion after everyone has had a chance to read the book. Instead, they encourage the adult to take a step back and allow the teens the majority of the control in the book club....The Teen-Centered Book Club is a must-have for any librarian considering offering a book club for teens."Reference & User Services Quarterly

"This complete and comprehensive guide to planning and running successful and relevant teen book clubs begins with sensible and practical information about teens as readers and group participants, plus what constitutes effective and well-prepared adult book-club leaders and advisors for teens....This guide is meticulously organized, carefully researched, and highly readable with practical elements that can be readily applied....The high caliber experience and knowledge from the long and illustrious YA services and writing careers of both Kunzel and Hardesty is reflected in this important contribution to the body of professional resources for those working with teens, books, and reading in schools, libraries, and other settings."VOYA

"Starred Review Seasoned young adult librarians, Kunzel and Hardesty, have assembled an indispensable and comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of successfully facilitating adolescent book clubs in public library settings, from the first to final meetings. Middle and high school library media specialists will also garner much valuable information from this title....Numerous strategies and tips are offered to target, understand, and serve these youths such as ideas for recruitment, marketing, online components, icebreakers, relationship building, discussions participation, and behaviour management. Young adult librarians are shown how to demonstrate the value of book clubs by using a combination of three assessment tools: anecdotal data, focus group insights, and statistics. In addition, a variety of book club models, book titles, discussion questions, reproducible handouts, and references are furnished. Highly Recommended."Library Media Connection

"Two experienced youth-services librarians introduce the idea of teen-centered book clubs. Different from traditional adult book clubs in their focus on the participants rather than the books, this type of programming offers an opportunity for libraries to draw new teens into the building and to keep active patrons involved. In clear prose supported by research, the authors cover every aspect of the program, from assessing the needs of the library and teens to conducting successful meetings to evaluating activities. Sample book titles and themes are ready for use or may act as a springboard for new ideas. An excellent reference, this book will be invaluable to school and public librarians looking for a new way to connect with teens."School Library Journal

"Readers looking for ideas will find lots of attention paid to details like food choices, icebreakers, lists of possible books, and promotion. Over and over, the authors remind us to listen and learn from the young people we're working with, plan thoroughly, get input, and evaluate regularly. A very helpful title for libraries wanting to create a teen book group or make an existing one more dynamic."Booklist/Professional Reading

"They explain how book clubs for adolescents speak to participants' craving for identity, meaning, and connection. Kunzel and Hardesty also cover the necessary steps to lay the foundation for success and share nitty-gritty tips for getting teen book clubs up and running. Included are reproducibles with book lists, ground rules, and book-based activities."American Libraries


VOYA 2007 Five Foot Bookshelf

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