Author Archives: Matt Imrie

Teen Librarian Monthly December

The December edition of Teen Librarian Monthly is available to download here

This month’s edition contains information on Leeds Central Library’s Tokyopop ReCon event, Northern Ireland’s Libraries have been running Manga and Fashion Comic workshops, groupthing launches in January and 2008 saw the release of a number of movies that are based on YA Literature.

Lastly, the Eight Questions With… author interview is with Sam Enthoven author of The Black Tattoo and TIM Defender of the Earth

Enticing teenagers into the Library

Enticing teenagers into the library by:  Clare Snowball Faculty of Media, Society and Culture, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

Click on the title for an excellent and informative article on enticing teens into the library by Clare Snowball.

Twilight: Supernatural Sweet Valley High?

That is how the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer was described to me by a friend (who shall remain nameless lest his life be threatened by hordes of fangirls).  I have not read the series yet as the waiting list is over a month long in my local library, my name is down to receive the books when my turn comes round and I shall form an opinion once I have read them.  They are proving to be incredibly popular and as a colleague said in passing:  “Anything that gets teens to read has to be good for libraries!”

There is even a facebook site dedicated to girls who have decided not to wait for Prince Charming and instead are waiting for their Edward Cullen to arrive,  it has just under 50 000 members at present.  I have read that in America a number of bookstores and libraries have held Twilight midnight proms (to celebrate the release dates of the books).  Going by the level of popularity the movie version has been experiencing and by extension the book series, it should be possible to hold similar events in UK Libraries (pending health & safety checks of course).

Teen Librarian Monthly November

The TLM Edition for November is available here:TLM November

All change please

Welcome to the WordPress version of Teen Librarian UK!  The old site was just so ugly and getting to be a pain to maintain so I decided to move in the direction of a useful, light and not unattractive-looking CMS blogging thing.

Any comments on the new look and also (as usual) any suggestions on how to improve it will be welcomed!

A visit to Walker Books

I was fortunate enough to be invited to have lunch(Burritos) at Walker Books and discuss their forthcoming Graphic Novel and Manga line with Fiona MacDonald and a colleague (whose name escapes me at the moment).

The meal was excellent as I am a Burrito fan (picked that habit up from watching too much Invader Zim – but that is another tale altogether). What really made me excited was the books that they hav lined up for release starting next year. The first book we looked at was Skim a graphic novel written and drawn by Canadian cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. This book has been nominated for a number of literary awards in the USA and Canada and has just been nominated for the Canadian Governor-General’s Award which has sparked some controversy, for more details on that click here and here.

The other titles lined up for release include Glister by Andi Watson, Vermonia – a manga series by Studio YoYo. Vermonia will also contain hidden clues within the illustrations to enable readers to take part in an online game. Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz is also undergoing the Graphic Novel treatment, Salem Brownstone: All along the Watchtowers a gothic graphic novel by John Dunning and Nikhil Singh and finally (for now anyway) The Legend of Robin Hood.

For more details on Walker Books Graphic Novels click this link

Teen Librarian Monthly


May 1.1

June 1.2

July 1.3

August 1.4

September 1.5 – Manga Special

October 1.6

November 1.7

December 1.8


January 2.1

February 2.2

March 2.3

April 2.4

May 2.5

June 2.6

July 2.7

August 2.8




Anne Harding

Anne is an independent trainer and lecturer. She specialises in effective provision for children and young people in the museums, libraries and archives and education sectors. Anne provides numerous courses every year on working with teenagers.

Recent clients for her teenage training include CILIP, Yorkshire Museum Libraries and Archives Council, the Youth Libraries Group and the National Maritime Museum, as well as many local authorities.

Anne tailors all her courses to requirements. These are the topics most frequently requested on her teenage training days for library staff: teenagers’ needs and strategies for meeting them; the strengths and weaknesses of current teenage provision; methods for encouraging library use; communication and behaviour; appropriate resources and ways to exploit them; Youth Matters, Fulfilling Their Potential and other legislation and initiatives; implications for policy and practice.

You can find more information about Anne’s training on her website,, and can contact her on

Jerry Hurst

Jerry Hurst is an experienced freelance trainer and consultant, working across the UK with libraries, museums, archives, schools, youth services and other agencies. He provides high quality consultancy and effective, inspiring training courses, workshops and seminars, focusing on reader development, learning, marketing and service planning & delivery. Jerry
contributes to work across the full range of service provision, but work with teenagers remains one of his specialisms.

Jerry was previously Head of Young People’s Library Services in the London Borough of
Southwark, where he developed Homework Help Clubs and Teenage Reading Groups and co-ordinated the initial planning and implementation of Reading Re:mix across south-east London. Jerry has also provided teenage reading training on behalf of The Reading Agency and he regularly delivers independent training and consultancy across the UK focusing on services for teenagers.

You can find Jerry online at, e-mail him on or telephone +44 (0)20 8364 6166.


Games are an important and interactive way for young people to learn, they can also be used to initiate a constructive discussion. No matter what the subject is, games are designed to be fun, so there is no reason why games and activities based around books can not be equally as enjoyable.

Introduction games

When working with a new group of young people the easiest way to break the ice is by playing a name game such as:

The ball game: using a ball around a circle, the person with the ball says their name first and then the name of the person the ball is going to before they throw it to them.

The sun shines on: in a circle of chairs (1 less than the number of people in the group) someone stands in the middle and makes a statement such as “the Sun shines on any one wearing red”. Everyone wearing red has to get up and change seats, leaving one person left in the middle to make another statement in order to sit down.

The fridge game: tell everyone to choose something they would find in a fridge that starts with the same letter as their first name i. e. ‘Claire, Cake’. Then they go round the circle saying their names, however, each person must say all the previous names before they say their own. (The lead worker should always finish last!)

These three name games can also be changed to include books. In the ball game they can substitute their names for their favourite book or magazine. In the fridge game they can substitute their names for books they would recommend. In “The sun shines on” you change the category to reading anything from novels to street signs i.e. “The sun shines on any one who has read Harry Potter” (everyone moves!)

Library games

Libraries are not commonly associated with playing games with young people, yet they supply CD ROM’s and Playstation games that are targeted at them. These games are rarely educational, involve little reading and no dialogue with staff. But when active games are used in the library there are many opportunities to get young people discussing books with you. It all depends on what you want to discuss and how loudly you want to discuss it.

For games that will utilise the space in libraries you can play Charades, only using books, or Concentration using different genres. For the more ambitious libraries there are word and book hunts where participants are given clues or titles of books and then search for them in the library.

For more stationary games you can play Chinese whispers with different groups in order to make up a story between them. You can also use games such as Pictionary, Taboo and Trivial Pursuit. These all involve an element of reading and could be changed to include more topics around books.

Tip: It is a good idea to look out for the latest book crazes and plan competitions and games around them. Look out for anyone else doing the same, e.g. after the success of the film Lord of the Rings there was a game workshop which uses characters from The Fellowship of the Rings. It is played in small groups and encourages young people to talk about the books as well as read them.

25 words or less

A game to show the importance of brevity and to widen reading. Each young person involved has to write an enticing description of his or her favourite book onto large postcards. No title or author must be mentioned in the description. Each description is placed on the wall/poster board of the library. The participants must then choose one book (not their own) from the postcard descriptions. Once they have chosen they are given the book. They have to read the book before the next meeting when they can compare their own response to the book with the original advocate’s.

Virtual games

Remember games and competitions do not always have to be on paper. There is a steady increase of young people using mobile phones and the internet, so games that use email and text messaging (short messaging system(SMS)) are another accessible way to get young people talking about books.

An idea could be to describe a book or a character and condense it into text form, then using a text messaging facility on the internet, send each message to one phone per group and see which group gets it first.

Ball Game

We did a language game in a circle throwing a ball; the person throwing the ball said a colour (e.g. green) and the person catching had to say an object that was the colour (e.g. frog) . Next round the thrower said any adjective (e.g. amazing) and the catcher had to say a noun (e.g. library! )Then we moved on to alliteration; the thrower (for example) said ‘wild’ and the catcher “wombats”. Then the thrower said a line (e.g. there was a frog) and the catcher has to say a line which rhymed (who ate a dog). This last one has a tendency to go a little off track as you might imagine (there was a duck who had a…. and so on!) All the others worked really well though.

With these ball throwing games it is helpful to establish a throwing order at the beginning, e.g. you always throw it to the right of the person who threw it to you, ensuring that everyone is equally included. This takes a little effort to establish but getting it wrong can be fun and in the end it’s worth it.


Each person was given a piece of paper and then wrote a sentence at the top. They then folded the paper to hide what they had written and passed it to their right, this person also wrote a line hid it and passed it on and so on until the paper was full. Then we all opened the piece of paper we happened to be holding and read out the abstract poem written there. This may sound odd but the result is often hilarious, sometimes beautiful. (Best to state at the beginning that no personal comments about others in the circle are allowed!)