Fly Off the Shelf: Tips and Tricks for Selling Books to Teens

Last Tuesday I attended another SCLC workshop thanks to RBPL, which was put on by the SCLC YA Interest Group.  The half day workshop, “Fly Off the Shelf: Tips and Tricks for Selling Books to Teens” had two short presentations and a small booktalking/kvecthing/sharing section.

The first presentation was by Julie Zeoli from Yorba Linda Public Library and she talked about their Battle of the Books program, which is a huge, awesome program they put on every year to help get kids reading.  How it works is that kids and teens grades 4-12 are invited to create a team and compete in a trivia contest amongst their age group.  Everyone is given the same list of 20 books and those are the only books that students will be quizzed on.  Additionally, the only answers students will need are Title and Author of the book.  They won’t need to recite character names or literary devices.  Yorba Linda does this program on a huge huge huge scale.  They get over 500 participants a year.  The first year they did it, they got an amazing number of 200 participants so there was really no where to go but up.  They use classrooms at the local high school and have the final round in the auditorium so that everyone can see.  It’s an all day event and for those students who get to continue to the final round, they can be at the high school for up to 6 hours.  The amount of staff and volunteers and sheer manpower to put on this program is pretty phenomenal, but the results speak for themselves.  This is definitely something I’d like to try in the future, although I’d like to start it on a much smaller scale.  More information on the national program can be found here.

Julie also used the new(ish) presentation tool Prezi, which I absolutely love.  I did a mini-database workshop for a college class and used it and I think its way more fun than powerpoint.  The only drawback (at least for me) is that if slides go too quickly, I get a little motion sick… lol.  If you haven’t already used Prezi, though, I highly suggest you try it out!

The second presentation was by Joy Millam, a school librarian from Valencia High School.  She talked to us about doing simple movie style book trailers using powerpoint and copyright free photos and music.  I never really thought about doing something this simple, and her presentation left me wishing I had a digital picture frame or television at RBPL to play them on.  I’m pretty sure I could make some that are kick-ass.  The great thing about Joy is that she put everything online in a wiki for everyone to use.  I just googled her name for this blog and her wiki was the first thing that popped up so I don’t feel bad about sharing.  Take a look at her wiki and see if it inspires you to create some movie trailers, whether with something as simple as powerpoint or getting a little more into it.  Maybe your Teen Film Club (PVLD is lucky enough to have one thanks to a Eureka! Leadership Program grant) could try creating one as well.

The final portion of the morning was gathering into small groups to share booktalks and just kind of general sentiments about serving Teens.  I shared a booktalk on Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up and I listened to a lot of really great formal and informal booktalks and got a lot of great ideas for boy books and books that I should buy for my teens.  I am especially excited to get the Pregnancy Project, which I just ordered and should be coming any day… I asked everyone how they feel about their teen non-fiction collection.  A lot of them didn’t have one (it’s just mixed with the adult collection), but those who did kind of gave me a “don’t waste your money look” and told me the areas they really focus on.  Careers.  Graphic Novels.  Sex.  Crafts.  I created a display this month for Teen Tech Week and it seemed to really help the non-fiction circ at least a little bit, although now that the display is entering its third week the books aren’t moving quite as fast anymore.  I thought it was an awesome display though!  Check it out below.

How do you handle you teen non-fiction area?  What areas do you buy for most?

All in all, the workshop was helpful, although I’m not sure how many of the ideas I can implement here at RBPL in its current state.  Maybe things to think about for the future though…

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