In reading some of the studies done on teen reading habits, I became interested in the idea that some people don't think of reading as anything other than reading a book. These days teens report that they read magazines, newspapers, and blogs amongst other online materials.
One article stated:
"Of the titles reported by participants as read for fun, 57 percent were books (with 12 percent of the books being in a series), and 30 percent were magazines. Surprisingly, only 6 percent reported that the last title they read for fun was a comic, graphic novel, or manga." (Creel, 2007, p. 47)
Even though books still have a clear presence, there is the addition of other writings.
The article also poses a good question: "When teens say they do not read for fun, do they operate under the assumption that reading only counts if it comes from a book?" (Creel, 2007, p. 48)
When teens are looking up to adults as role models, what are our reactions (gah, I'm considering myself an adult now…scary!) when we're either suggesting reading materials or talking about something interesting that we've recently read. I wonder how often do blogs or even the most recent celebrity news that was posted on the Entertainment section of Google News come up in conversation when speaking with teens. Are we actually showing them that it is okay to read those and consider them reading? Does the fact that we hide the mere notion that we've glanced at the most recent activities of our idols show a negative opinion of all online reading? Could this be the reason that many teens are unsure that when they're online, they can actually be reading?
I wonder what could be done on the part of librarians to show that there is a way to connect what is on the Internet to books in the library. Ideally, it would be good to bring teens' attention to what the library has to offer. This has got me thinking of ways that we can do that. I wonder if a display of some magazines with the goings-on in Hollywood along with several biographies would actually make the biographies check out? What about linking sports magazines to sports biographies for boys? Do the teens even realize that there are biographies about their favorite idols? Or do they just think they are all about dead people from history?
Could a library blog – one dedicated to the teens – actually be bookmarked by the teen population? What would it take on the part of a teen librarian to attract teens to the blog and then get those teens to check out books? Would book reviews be enough? Or should posting stuff about idols be added too? The blog entries about pop culture could include links to the "better" articles out there and then include links to library materials.
This could be an interesting study… especially with my new job as a Library Technical Assistant in another branch… a branch that has recently become overrun with teens… so much that staff are now "taking back the library."
Creel, S. L. (2007). Early adolescents' reading habits. Young Adult Library Services, 5(4), 46-49. Retrieved from EBSCOhost at Persistent URL: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=25546117&site=ehost-live