Welcome to our YA Smackdown Round-Up! For those of you who haven’t heard about it, YA Smackdown is an informal, guerrilla-style idea-sharing activity for teen library service professionals. It’s always fun, and there’s something to learn for everyone.
You can join in on a Smackdown at various professional events, start your own with our handy downloadable kit, or join in on a TSU-hosted challenge on social media every Wednesday! (Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.)
After each month, we’ll post a collection of some of the more noteworthy responses. We hope you’ll all join in every week!
What is your most successful Banned Books Week Program?
“We did Banned Book mug shots one year. We took the pictures and then hung them on the wall and posted them on our Facebook page.” – Brandice S.
“Chalked the sidewalk in front of the library with banned book quotes! I printed out a bunch of quotes cut into strips they could choose from. Being in California with the drought they lasted for weeks and I loved seeing people stop to read them when walking up to the library.” – Casey M.
“I did a similar wrapped books display last year, but only wrapped the covers. I also wrote some reasons they were banned on the wrapping (I used black construction paper and brown paper bag and wrote CAUTION! and BANNED! on the spines. On the inside cover I had the title of the book and a little bit about a famous incident of it being banned. It was one of the few displays that actually got kids talking and interacting. They were picking them up, reading the words on the cover to their friends and trying to guess the book, then opening it up and exclaiming things like “HARRY POTTER!? Who would ban Harry Potter!?” and actually discussing it. Every other display I’ve made gets barely a glance.” – Devin V.
What was your most successful marketing or promotional strategy?
“Word of mouth works wonders! We have also found a lot of success with Snapchat…it is controlled by myself and the teen librarian (it’s only the two of us that make up our teen department) and we have used snapchat to create a more personable relationship with our Teens. We have over 100 friends on snapchat and it keeps growing! We just snap random pictures and videos and use it to hype up our programs and snap our programs in real time (like, look at all of the fun you’re missing, why aren’t you here?!). We also have teens snap us during programs and put it on their story.And we do contests every month. Our summer contest tied in with our summer reading program (the TGIS Challenge aka thank goodness it’s summer). We had teens snap us the cover of the book they were reading to get entered into a draw. The more book covers they snapped the more entries they had” – Alexa G.
“Word of mouth and also I collect emails via surveys and registrations and have a weekly e-mail that I send out with a ‘what’s coming up’ and I usually see immediate sign ups afterwards” – Casey C.
“telling peopl about it while handing them a flyer. TElling them about it is the most important part, but The flyer serves as a reminder later with the important details and can be shown to parents for folks who need a ride.” – Margaret J.
What is your favorite “They don’t teach you that in library school!” story? What did you learn from it? How did it make you better at your job?
“Scheduled an appointment for a 16 year old to get an HIV test. You just do what needs to be done. I’m grateful that he saw me as approachable enough to have a conversation about what was going on his life. Just be your awesome self, nobody got into libraries for the money.” – Joe M.
“Sat down to find a baby/toddler (Idk I judge them by size) gnawing on the power strip cord under my desk. Coaxed the little bugger out with a shiny pencil, then led him by the hand back to the children’s area and located Dad. Even though I’m the teen person, I still sometimes have to just be babysitter and monitor a child. >< I now keep an eye out for wanderers under 3ft tall and give the desk person a heads up when I leave my area for extended periods of time in the middle of the day. Also, slowly child-proofing the teen area in ways it apparently wasn’t.” – Kelsey P.
“First day I was allowed to be by myself on the children’s floor at my old job, a kid got his finger stuck in the wall. The hole had been there for years and no one had ever stuck their finger in there until I was all alone. He was screaming, his nanny was panicking. I got a bunch of lip gloss, ran it around his finger, and freed him. It sucked. I learned that lip gloss is actually an essential tool for all librarians.” – Ingrid A.
What is your most successful maker program?
“Duct tape and paper toys. Paper toys get bonus points because, in addition to cute animals, you can find templates online to fit your teens’ interests, from Five Nights at Freddy’s to Pikachu to Attack on Titan.” – Catherine B.
“Mars landers – my teens had to build a space lander that could be dropped over our second story atrium onto the first floor. After three tries, the winner was the one with most successful upright landings. They loved it, and I even had elderly who were checking out books start cheering the kids on. It was pretty rad.” – Tiffany F.
“We did a Take It Apart (and Make It Art) program that was a huge success. I overheard some 9th grade boys saying to each other how cool it was (9th grade! Boys!). If you do it, make sure to wear goggles and don’t take apart anything with a screen, especially not tube TVs as they are dangerous.” – Kylie P.