Category Archives: Trg

Teen Reading Group Campaign

Reading Groups for Everyone a project run by the reading Agency is running a campaign to get people enthused about Teenage Reading Groups.

Until the 29th June there will be daily competitions to win reading group sets of books and author visits so keep checking the site for new competitions and information.

Looking towards the New School Year: Warhammer 40K

One of the Library offerings at my school for the 2012/13 school year is to run after-school clubs. The first club that will be running in September will be a Warhammer 40K Club.

I am currently planning a recruitment drive that will start the moment the students come back into the school. With that in mind I have started working on recruitment posters, the first draft is below.

I have been involved on the periphery of Warhammer for at least five years now but each time a club has started where I have worked I have moved on so this will be the first Warhammer group I have run and I am looking forward to it!

I have ordered a number of tie ins – Dan Abnett & James Swallow’s novels to begin with and some of the Boom! Studio Graphic Novels as well as some of the rulebooks.

Tips on Working with Teens: Props are Important

Props can be broken down into three categories:

Active, Passive and Inbetween/Interactive props

Active Props

Active props are those that you can use to initiate conversation with a teen or group of teens, these can be books, magazines or things as simple as a sign up sheet for a group activity.

A book is perhaps the easiest and simplest prop to use. If you are new to the library you do not want to go out brandishing a book; the first thing to do is find out where the teens lurk in your library. These days it is usually the Teen/YA area. You need to be in that area before the teens arrive, working not just loitering as (unless you are a teen yourself) hanging around a teen area can give the wrong impression. Once they have gotten used to your presence and started treating yu like part of the furniture you may be able to pick up on their interests and reading habits. The next time they come in to the library you can have a book in your hand that tallies with what you gleaned from their activities previously and when they start chatting you could insert yourself into their conversation with a “If you like that then you may enjoy this!” and showcase the book. Even if they do not take the book you will at least have been able to initiate conversation which can make things easier in future.

A piece of paper can have many uses, firstly it can be used to take notes after you have said something along the lines of: “Hi I am [insert name here] and I am the new Teen/Youth Services/ Young Adult Librarian and I am hoping to run clubs and activities for young people in the library, what sort of groups would you like to see here?” Then you could either jot down what they say, or give each of them a sheet clearly marked with a space for names and ideas.

Passive props

These are generally things that you wear or can have on your desk or around you if you are working in the Teen Area.  They can also be more exciting and in some cases unique.

The most successful passive prop I own is a Domo-kun lanyard that I used to use to hold my library name badge, there was a massive manga reading group of young people that used to come in and when they saw it they invariably asked where I got it, and, could they have it?







More recently I have become the proud owner of a Mockingjay pin; now that gets a lot of attention – from teens as well as adults who are in the know, I have received the usual questions as to where I got it and can they have it, not only that but I have created a dystopia novel conversation group in my library based on a single pin (and the multimillion advertising for the movie and the books).
Hats can work as props, but are more limiting indoors, clothing can also be used but depending on the dress code where you work your mileage may vary!



In-between or Interactive props

These are props that fall somewhere between Active and Passive ones, they can include musical instruments, games consoles and even plush furry toys.

The furry beast is a prop that I used infrequently and mostly when one or more of the kids I worked with were upset – giving I teen a hug is just about acceptable for a female librarian but for a male member of staff it is the sort of thing that can get you reported for improper behaviour, but having something plush for them to cuddle until they feel better is a lot safer all round.


My ukulele has attracted a lot of attention in my current library as I take it in to practice during my lunch break but games consoles will give you an automatic audience no matter where you are!














Any number of props can be used to engage with young people, especially if it is something that you are personally interested in or know a lot about.  They do not have to be big or expensive – cheap and cheerful items work just a swell as long as they are eye catching then that is all you need.

Teen Group Activity Ideas


This is an ideal workshop as all you need are squares of paper and some origami designs  there are a number of books available in most libraries and a number of the designs are simple enough to pick up and are still challenging enough to prove interesting.

The story of Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 Paper Cranes makes a good topic for discussion for more information visit the Sadako website here.

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was, and still is one of the popular writers for children and adults. He has written about Revolting Rhymes, Fantastic Foxes, Marvellous Medicines and more. There is a wide range of subjects that can be adapted for a reading group session. A successful idea is to hold a play reading event (Fantastic Mr Fox is good) normally just one of the acts is long enough for then to become acquainted with the words and read it out.Chocolate Eating Competition

You will need a plate, slab of chocolate, gloves, hat, scarf, dice, knife and fork.

How it works: the group sits round a table, they each take turns in throwing the dice the first one to roll a 6 has to put on the gloves, hat and scarf then open the chocolate and cut off a block using the knife and fork and then eat it. While this is happening the other members will be throwing the dice, the next person to throw a 6 will then get to take the hat, gloves and scarf from the previous person and proceed to try and eat the chocolate in the same way. This goes on until all the chocolate has been eaten.

Dragons & Fortune Tellers

This is an ideal workshop for the Chinese New Year or the designs can be used for the Origami workshop. Designs of folding dragons and fortunetellers are readily available on the Internet.

Paper Aeroplanes

This can also be used for an Origami session although it is more fun to hold it as a separate event. Looking at different types of paper ‘planes that can be folded as well as making them is great fun. Holding a flying competition to see whose plane flies longest and furthest can take quite a bit of time. There are many different types of paper aeroplanes that can be folded: from darts to aerobatic planes, the possibilities are many and varied.

Mummy Wrap

Finding out how mummies were made can be a fascinating (and slightly disgusting) process. Learning about how the Egyptians used to preserve their royalty can be educational and fun! Making ones friend into a mummy (without removing their organs) can also be an enjoyable experience. All you need are some rolls of toilet paper, sticky-tape and teams of two people  a wrapper and a wrappee.

Word Searches

These are usually best when used in conjunction with another main event but at a pinch are good for an event on their own. Tie them in with a book or series of books depending on what words are being sought.

Real Life Careers

Invite someone with an interesting career to come talk about his or her job.

Possibilities: The police officer who trains sniffer dogs or administers lie detector tests, a fire fighter who investigates how a fire starts, an EMT, the undercover security at a department store, or a funeral director. Provide a display of career related books and resources.

Scrap Books

Help teens make their own scrap book from scratch. Have them to bring photos and mementos and provide supplies for them to create their book. Invite teens to display their finished books in the library. Or give the program a creative writing angle. Help teens make or decorate their own journal or diary.

Another diary-based idea is to approach banks in January and ask them to donate a few diaries that they give out to customers to the group to give to the members to use during the year.

Photo Essay

Buy a pack of disposable cameras and distribute to teens. Have them take pictures of their everyday life, and then turn the cameras in. Process the photos then invite all teens to a program to create a “real life photo mural”. Enhance the program with a display of books on photography and famous photographers.


Invite members of your Teen Group to write non-fiction book, music and/or film reviews to post on the library web site, blog, or newsletter. Help teens create and film book-talks to air at the library or at local schools.

Films from Books

Create a display of books that have been turned into movies. Have teens vote on the book they would most like to read. After they have read the book, host a screening of one of the movies, then lead a discussion comparing the book versus the movie. Serve popcorn, drinks, and give out bookmarks that list other books that have been made into movies.

Music and books

Partner with an English or literature teacher and have teens prepare a soundtrack to their favourite book. They can play the music while they talk about their book and explain their musical choices

Stop the Press!

Read news articles to teens – some true, some false and have teens decide which one is which! You can use articles from The Onion or a tabloid and the local paper. Then offer a creative writing class where teens create their own library tabloid.

Creative Writing

Get the group interested in writing short stories, prose, poetry with a view to publication in a library newsletter or booklet, this session idea could tie in to Urban Legends or Get Real or Get Fake.

Urban Myths

This could be a tie-in to the creative writing or just a general discussion of urban legends and creating some for the group itself.

Webs and blogs

With the advent of IT in libraries there is more scope for working with the youth and computers. Introducing the kids to website and blog creation. Creating a site or blog specifically for the reading group is one possibility.


Take a scene from a Harry Potter film and use the group members as part of the cast. The number of attendees would be important in choosing which scene you decide to read from.

T-Shirt design

Provide t-shirts and printer friendly iron-on transfer paper let the group members design their own pictures on the computer, then print them onto the transfer pages and iron them on to the t-shirts.

TRG X-Factor

A take-off of the television show, get the kids in to take part with singing, dancing or performing. Maybe make it book-themed with a reading from a favourite book, play or poem.

Hallowe'en Idea

This evening at my Library I ran my Hallowe’en Teen BOO!k Group. So as not to offend the religious sensibilities of the parents of the attendees the book discussion was fairly generic focusing on scary books they have read or are reading. I also provided some Halloween sweets in the shape of body parts (candy teeth and gums were the most popular) and sherbert in a skull.

At the September TARGET (TeenAge Reading Group EdmonTon) meeting a couple of the group members asked me to make them a Librarian mask each, so instead of making them individual masks I photographed my face,

and made a mask template and photocopied it for all the attendees.

This event was one of the most popular book sessions I have run this year and it really creeped out some of the library staff when they saw several mini-mes running around the Library.