A Year of Programs for Teens 2 [Review]

reviewed by Gena Marker

A Year of Programs for Teens 2
Amy J. Alessio and Kimberly A. Patton
Chicago: ALA Editions, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8389-1051-1, softcover
160 pages, $45.00

A Year of Programs for Teens 2 is exactly as its title says – a collection of teen programming ideas for librarians and staff in public and school libraries.  Authors Alessio and Patton follow up on their first book, A Year of Programs for Teens (2006, ALA Editions), by not only giving ideas for all types and sizes of libraries, but also recognizing the impact that new technologies and a slow economy can have on libraries.

As young adult librarians at the Schaumburg Township District Library in Illinois and Kansas City Central Resource Branch Library in Missouri, Alessio and Patton, respectively,  bring  together many years of collective knowledge regarding teen services in libraries.  Their no-frills, easy-to-follow format makes this book a quick read for the busy teen services librarian who is looking for fresh ideas.

With accessible text and a simple layout, the book is divided into two parts.  Part I outlines core programming such as clubs, reading programs, reading lists, and passive activities such as puzzles and writing prompts.  One club described in Part I is CREATEens, a craft club where teens make everything from photo collages to edible art.  Part II of the book provides three, themed programs per month, with a description of prep time, suggested age and scope of audience, a shopping list for program supplies, set up and implementation plans, and promotional ideas. One idea in Part II is to have a song-writing contest, sure to be a favorite of any musical group of teens.  Pair it with their favorite music-themed video games, like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, or have them use Animoto to make an accompanying music video, and you’ve got instant teen program success!

One of the strengths of the book is that the authors acknowledge what all teen services librarians have faced at one point or another – failure— with clubs, activities, or great-sounding ideas that fizzled out after a successful run.  Alessio and Patton provide thoughtful analysis to help explain why these failures occur, and how to move past them. They recognize that staff time is often short, as are budgets, and provide tips to help libraries of all sizes leverage their professional and volunteer staff for the greatest use.  Each program suggestion comes with variations and ready-to-implement procedures, everything you and your teens need to begin planning for another year of successful programs.

A Year of Programs for Teens 2 is a must-have manual for any public or school librarian who wants to enhance programming and bring teens into the library.  Teen advisory boards could also utilize this book to find their next great event.

Gena Marker is the Teacher-Librarian  at Centennial High School Library, as well as the current president of the Idaho Library Association.  She feels privileged to spend her days working with teens.

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