Ask An Agent: How do you get students to check out books?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question: My students don’t even seem to know that there are books in the library, they just come for the computers. There are teens who read, but they buy their own books and bring them to the library. I look like an ogre when I ask to check their books.

I am running a contest right now, and one of the rules is that they have to borrow a book from OUR library for the contest. What else can I do?

Jenni (South San Francisco Public Library) says:
I make sure to post pictures of any book displays we have on our social media pages, and I have created passive readers’ advisory signs which are hanging in the teen area.  I also make a point to book talk books any time I have a group of kids or teens together for a program or a class visit. You could try having a contest where the teens write the book reviews or make book trailers, too.

Natalie (Farmingdale Public Library) says:
Have displays worked for you in terms of having them know books exist? There are great ideas for displays on Pinterest. Contests requiring them to check out a book may also help, but they may check out the book only to return it the next day just to get in the contest.

Wendy (Culman High School) says:Can you create some cool stickers or find some inexpensive swag kids would be into? I would offer those as an incentive and have kids complete an easy but stimulating scavenger hunt, basing the clues around high interest books — like use the Guinness Book to find this record, use the cool Zest nonfiction to look up some factual info about the Illuminati, what book is at (the call number for something super popular like American Sniper)? Also, DISPLAYS. Almost anything I put on display moves, when it sits on the shelf otherwise.

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