I have a great job. I work in a library populated by a species in transition: the teenage male. As a librarian, finding reading material for this age group can be challenging. I am happy to report that teenage boys read – some read a lot. But, some have been conditioned to believe that boys don’t read and that books aren’t for them. And that’s the challenge. Telling them they are wrong; well there is no better way to start an argument. Create a climate of reading and you have a chance to change some attitudes.
Sorry, no formula here. But I do have some suggestions.
- Make them welcome in the library. Yes, they are loud and they can be obnoxious at times. But, they also have interesting life stories, they love to laugh, and they are willing to include you in their lives – if you let them.
- Set some reasonable rules and stick to them – most of the time. Be aware that they aren’t going to be angels all the time and everyone could use a second chance. But no favoritism. In the end that will just undercut your credibility.
- Make sure you have books. Lots of books. Lots of options. Yes, some will read adventure and plow through all the Clancy books; others will dine on Pratchett. There are some, however, that want the classics. They want to chew on some of tough language or ideas. There are others that will shy away from anything with font that is too tiny or a book that is too thick. Remember the magazines and newspapers. Finally, don’t forget about the readers who like non-fiction.
This blog is about reading. If you will say it leans to the testosterone side of the bookshelf you would be correct. Some young men will read anything. I’m not too concerned about them. They will find their books. I am concerned about the ones that need a little coaxing. So, I will read and review books that will be enjoyed by a lot of readers but if a student tells me a book is good or asks me to get a book – that book will end up here for sure. Those are the ones I want to capture.
Full disclosure – I am also looking for Canadian content.