YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Assocation) which is the fastest growing division of the ALA (American Library Association) decided in 2007 to create a Support Teen Literature Day in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week, which occurs during the month of April. This concept has really covered some ground in the past two years, and we are quickly approaching the 3rd annual Support Teen Literature Day on April 16th. Support Teen Literature Day occurs each year on the Thursday of National Library Week. One of the determining factors in the development of Support Teen Literature Day was a realization on the part of the ALA that 25% of library users are teens. The purpose of this celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day is also the official launch of the ALA’s Teen Read Week initiative which occurs in the month of October.
YALSA believes strongly that teens deserve the best, yet many libraries have inadequate numbers of trained staff and resources to address the needs of teens. According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be more than 42 million teens by the year 2008 (Projections of the Total Resident Population by 5-Year Age Groups and Sex with Special Age Categories: Middle Series: 2001-2005. Population Projection Program, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Furthermore, studies indicate that teens are reading less often and fewer of them are obtaining critical literacy skills. More than 60 studies have been done since the 1970s that link increased student achievement with access to well-stocked and professionally staffed school library programs.
To address these issues, YALSA’s mission is to advocate, promote and strengthen library service to teens, ages 12 through 18, as part of the continuum of total library services, and to support those who provide library service to this population.
One group which has taken the Teen Lit Day to heart is readergirlz who have developed Operation Teen Book Drop in conjunction with YALSA, and in 2008 coordinated efforts of twenty publishers who donated 10,000 books which YALSA distributed to 12 children’s hospitals nationwide and in Canada so recuperating teens had something great to read during their hospital stay. Readergirlz is making this an annual event, so check out the Operation TBD video or visit their site for more details.
If you’re looking for suggestions on how to celebrate Support Teen Literature Day, then visit the ALA wiki which at current count has 37 suggestions. Here at the Lulu Book Review, we are celebrating by helping to highlight young adult/teen fiction books. Double Life, which was our most recently reviewed book (Review 72), is actually written by a teen, Dawson Vosburg. Please check back and read the next review on, Scary Mary, by S. A. Hunter, definitely a book worth your while. Other teen books which have been highlighted on the Lulu Book Review are:
- The Time Cavern by Todd Fonseca (Review 12)
- Chappaqua by Robert D. Toonkel (Review 30)
- Misfit McCabe by LK Griffie (Review 32)
- Mortal Ghost by L. Lee Lowe (Review 38)
- Knowing Jack by Julie Elizabeth Powell (Review 64)
One additional book, which has not yet been reviewed by the Lulu Book Review, but does warrant a special shout out, is Space Dog and the Solar Stone Code by Saul Marquez. Saul is also a teen author and has recently had some success with his Space Dog book, which is the first of a trilogy, in visiting local schools and speaking to children about writing.
The only question that remains is how are you going to Support Teen Literature?
Article originally written for the Lulu Book Review
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