February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Promoting Regional Book Awards: Give Teens a Chance

It all started with “Pete the Cat.” Well, actually it started with the fact that author Eric Litwin was coming for our library’s summer reading program and my boss wanted to promote his visit. We have a fabulous teen volunteer, Rose, who does great artwork. I asked her if she could make a big Pete the Cat, and she pulled it together in one day! I couldn’t believe it. When given the opportunity (and materials), Rose can do anything artistic!  So, naturally, I went to her when we received our promotional kit for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award, an honor that recognizes the most popular books among middle and high school students in our state. The books are nominated and chosen by teens.

Rose took an entire ream of light blue paper and started cutting like mad. (We had little blue pieces of paper floating around our back offices for a week….) In what seemed like an instant, she created a blue paper tree, a ballot box and adornments, and a book display—all sporting the iconic Blue Spruce Award namesake.

Rose gave me important reminders about what the whole Blue Spruce Award is about: letting teens have a voice, encouraging them to express their likes and dislikes, and letting them do what they do. More importantly, most teen librarians would agree that our ultimate goal is to get kids involved in whatever way we can. Rose submitted her Blue Spruce pick, and then got her sister to vote. That’s when I decided to get our teen board in on the action. We made little, blue leaves to attach to the Blue Spruce labels that said, “I voted” for voters to take, and sure enough, our teen board members all voted. One person suggested we put little blue leaves up around the Teen Space and around the Teen Library to drum up even more interest in the award—what a great idea! We’ll see just how many votes we get this year. If you’re in Boulder and see anyone with little blue leaves attached to their clothes, ask them who they voted for! I truly appreciate all the work that Rose, the Boulder Teen Advisory Board, and the Colorado Blue Spruce Award committee have done to make this such a fun and meaningful program for our teens.

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  1. Christina Getrost says:

    What a great display and a great idea! Thank you for this–you’ve jumpstarted an idea for me to use in promoting our Ohio reader’s choice award, the Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Awards, in my library. Cool!