TEENS 'ROCK THE DROP' FOR FICTION
How do you get teens interested in reading, particularly fiction?
“Drop a bunch of cool, free, teen-centric books into their laps where they hang out,” said Caris O’Malley, Maricopa County Library District teen services manager.
Recently, Library District personnel left nearly 70 free books near Perry Branch, Northwest Regional, White Tank Branch, Guadalupe Branch, North Valley and Southeast Regional libraries. The books were conspicuously left in malls, stores, schools, parks and at bus stops in hopes that teens would pick them up and give them a try.
The goal of this once-a-year program is to raise awareness for young adult fiction, says O’Malley. “Dubbed ‘Rock the Drop’ this year, the program is a national teen initiative sponsored under readergirlz.com to highlight the importance of teen reading and encourage reading as a fun activity,” he added.
The program is not limited to girls as the readergirlz.com site’s banner might imply. Many guys also participated in the program. 2011 marks the first year of the Library District’s participation in the program.
O’Malley acknowledges that libraries can be intimidating places for teens. “However, teens tend to be passionate readers. They like the idea of exposing their peers to great books. The project gives teens the opportunity to stumble across a much loved book outside the library,” he surmised.
“Finding a great book might spur them to seek out more materials at a public library in their neighborhood,” O’Malley concluded.
According to a 2007 National Endowments for the Arts Study, To Read or Not to Read: a Question of National Consequence, literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities such as volunteering, attending sports or other cultural events, and exercising.
For more information about teen programs in the 17 libraries of MCLD, visit www.mcldaz.org/teens.