At my library teen services is in the adult department instead of the youth department, which can create quite a gap when it comes time for the kids to transition over to teen. Due to this a coworker in the youth department and I chose to start creating crossover programming for grades 5 to 8. By doing this it gave the kids a chance to know me before officially moving over so they were more comfortable attending programs and participating in the teen summer reading program.
One of the programs we created was our library’s version of Battle of the Books. This Battle of the Books is for grades 5 to 8 and we have the kids read all of the Rebecca Caudill Award Nominees. To promote this we did book talks at the surrounding grade and middle schools. This was our third year doing the program and we actually broke the fire code (oops!) during the informational meeting.
For this program we have groups of about 5 to 6, with each child reading 4 or 5 books out of the 20, though some chose to read them all! We attempted to break them up into teams with multiple ages so they get to know kids outside of their grade and their school, as well as getting to know me. We also have teacher teams participate after we have the final battle and they compete against the winning student team. This program has been a great way to introduce kids to new friends, new teachers, and new library staff!
Another program we implemented was The Margin Project. The Margin Project is where there are specifically labeled books that patrons can write in while they read. They can highlight, underline, draw pictures, ask questions, and respond to previous readers. We have a collection in both the youth services and teen services department. By having this in both departments, it is something similar that they will find when they transition into the new department. It is also great crossover as many older tweens/teens in youth services are reading young adult books. This gives them a way to be involved in the department before they are officially in it.
We are coming up with more programs that we would like to implement and we are constantly looking for new ways to help the tweens and teens interact more with each other, interdepartmentally. Are there any crossover programs that you’ve found have worked great at your library?