Positively Chocolate

Our library has just initiated our annual Winter Reading Program. Although it is geared for adults, we also encourage teenagers to participate. In our little branch, historically, one of the librarians has gone to the high school to book talk and plug our winter and spring programs.

With the recent change in personnel, the task of overseeing teen programming and selecting materials for teens has fallen to me. Yikes! The last time I faced a classroom of teenagers, I was a substitute teacher. And that was a regular nightmare!

I was really sweating bullets as I thought about the kids and how I could possibly keep them engaged for twenty minutes while I talked about books and the library. My own son said he would cut class and even take a cut slip before he’d sit through it. That was encouraging. Not!

So, I devised the age old trick: chocolate.

It worked! I spent two days at the high school, talked to 20 different classes of English students, from AP and Honors to the lowest levels, from Seniors to Freshmen, and the chocolate was my foot in the door. As I walked from classroom to classroom, I’d hear kids say, “Hey, chocolate lady” or “There’s the Library lady with the chocolate.” And not just little Hershey kisses either, I was giving out the big chunky Hershey kind as well as Snickers, Butterfingers and Nestles’ Crunch. It was play. And it was fun. I had a great time and so did they. And for me, it was worth every penny.

I tossed out chocolate for every time they could answer the questions correctly about the program start and end dates or how many books they had to read or if they could name the titles I had chatted up after I put them away in my “green bag.” Of course, they also got chocolate if they could figure out who my son was… when one group of sophomore girls figured it out, the hormones hit the ceiling, “That’s your son? Oh man, he is HOT!” [Girls, girls…I’m his mother for crying out loud.]

Oh, and what about our numbers? Not bad, I think we’re up to 68 registered teens. But you know what I like the best? The kids who come in now and just talk to me like they know me. Of course, I’m thinking, maybe it wasn’t the chocolate at all but the notoriety that comes from being the mother of a “player.” Oh well, whatever works.

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2 Comments »

  1. Susan Said:

    Irm – This gave me my biggest smile today!
    How creative and clever of you. I’m going to remember that chocolate is desirable to teens. Who knew anymore?

    Also good to know that even if we are social pariahs to our kids, we can be of interest to other teens.
    Good job!

    Susan
    P.S. We get a kick out of your Looney posts here in Fal.

    • irmbrown Said:

      Thanks Susan… I’m so glad. It’s my goal to make me people laugh… at ourselves as well as the crazy things that happen in our “world.” I think we always need to remember that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. 🙂


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