Last year, I wrote a guest post about how to coordinate a book club for grade school students. Our monthly book club is always lots of fun, but as the original book club members got older I was faced with a challenge. These kids are now in middle school and have outgrown the books we discuss; however, they are too young to join our Teen Advisory Board. What to do with these tweens?
We decided to create a new middle school program. The group meets once a month for an hour and a half. Essentially, the middle school group is a Tween Advisory Board–the members have an opportunity to talk about books and suggest ideas for future programs. I didn’t want to call it a Tween Advisory Board for two reasons. One, the name is really, really close to Teen Advisory Board and I could predict some confusion from kids and parents. Two, many of the middle school students had a problem being described as tweens.
In the spirit of a student-led library group, I let them come up with the name. It was definitely a group effort and there was much debate, but in the end we settled on The Bibliophile Read-a-force. In our book club, we hold a contest to come up with a logo and slogan for the school year. The group wanted to continue this tradition. Here is this year’s winner!
The slogan is: The Bibliophile Read-a-Force will read through anything.
So far this year, we have created book spine poetry, learned about Maya culture and theories about the apocalypse (for our meeting on 12/21/12), and written Valentines to the library. For each meeting, I try to keep a balance between book discussions, planning for future programs and events, and hands-on activities. When the students have a suggestion for an activity, I make sure to write it down and I do my best to include it in a future meeting. This is their group, after all!
Currently we are gearing up for a read-a-thon fundraiser in the spring. The students are excited about reading for 6 hours in a row (as only bibliophiles can be). They will be asking friends and family to sponsor them per minute read during the event.
My goal is to offer something to “bridge the gap” for these students who are too old for book club but not ready to join our TAB. I try to make it as student run as possible. I hope that if I involve the kids as much as I can, they will see the potential for future programs and stay excited about the library.
What kind of middle school programs do you offer at your library?
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.