The Hippo


May 29, 2020








The YA room at Concord Public Library. Photo courtesy of Concord Public Library.

Teen Summer Reading Programs

When: Starting this week and running through the middle of August
Where: Libraries throughout the state
Contact: Visit or call your local library or check out its website for event dates and program details.

The books of summer
Libraries get teens reading


 Teens today have so many options for entertainment, it could be hard to convince them to read a book. But librarians in New Hampshire aren’t worried — they’re tapping into the latest technology to get teens on the book bandwagon.

“I’ve been encouraging them to read anything they want, and technology has in some ways helped that,” said Sophie Smith, supervisor of Teen Services at Nashua Public Library. “It is making it easier to find people in the community who enjoy the same books and to find things to read that they like.”
At Manchester City Library, the librarians have made books rentals available around the clock.
“We have e-books that the teens can check out and read online,” said Karyn Isleb, head of Youth Services. “We’re now open 24/7 for them.”
With schools out for the summer, libraries all over New Hampshire have kicked off their teen summer reading programs. The statewide theme this year is Spark A Reaction, a science-based program that helps libraries reach out to kids who are less interested in literature.
To coincide with the science theme, libraries are hosting science fiction- and fantasy-related events. Manchester is hosting a Shrinky Dinks event, which encourages teens to design something that will shrink and thicken when heated, and Concord will feature a forensic science program.
Nashua, meanwhile, is screening movies like The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park — not coincidentally, movies based on books.
In fact, the librarians have said that the most popular books among teens have been books like The Hunger Games series, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, all of which have movies out now or coming out in the near future.
“When the movies are about to come out, the books I won’t see for six months,” said Smith.
Each summer, each library constructs a system where teens complete certain tasks that earn them tickets for a raffle. At the end of the program, there is a drawing for a big prize, which in most cases is an iPad. There are also some smaller prizes offered in the short term, which include gift cards to local businesses and free books. Earning just one ticket in Nashua will get you a coupon to cover library fines up to $5.
Some of the program’s tasks are as simple as a reading a book of your choice, writing a book review online or attending one of the library events. When compiling its list of tasks, Concord Public Library looked to the scientific elements for a proper “solution.”
“We turned [the program] into a periodic table, but instead of the elements, it’s all different tasks,” said Juliana Gallo, the library technician in Concord. “Some are writing, art, some are ways to promote the library. They’re all ways to get them to the library more.”
Usually, Gallo said, the teens that are attracted to the reading program are teens who are not strangers to the library. But they have managed to recruit some people by chance.
“There’s always a lot more kids in the children’s summer reading program, but we’ve got some siblings as well,” she said. “The kids came in to sign up with their siblings, who didn’t know there was a teen program. Then they become interested.”
Isleb said teens might shy away from reading during the summer because it imposes on their free time. “We really try to stress that [it is] your time,” she said. “You choose the books to read. It’s whatever you want. When you say it like that, it feels less like an assignment.”
Gallo believes that success for the programs are in just getting the teens into the library, whether they are checking out books or coming for movie screenings, program events or even Minecraft sessions. 
“Part of it is sticking around the library enough,” Gallo said. “People who did it last year will come again. They look forward to it every year.” 
As seen in the June 26, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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