I just turned in my school’s votes for this year’s SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. We have 300 students in our school. I sent one ballot for every student to our English classes = 300 ballots. The ballot asks students to circle the titles they have read and write the title they want to win on the line at the bottom. This allows me to track which of the titles are being circulated as well as recording votes for the program. I received a total of 32 ballots back, with only 10 containing votes I could record. Sigh. While the number of votes I can record is usually low, I typically get at least half of the ballots back with some votes on them. Since the number I received back are so few, I can’t run any statistical analysis of the titles this year.
Now, I have to figure out what went wrong this year. Two (of four) teachers emailed me back stating that the kids said they didn’t read any of the titles. Hmm, but the books stayed off the shelves, so SOMEBODY checked them out.
We did all of the usual promotions:
- Bulletin board outside the library
- Display of the books at the circulation desk w/ Follet bookmarks
- Books were taken to classrooms for the book swap activity
- When kids asked me for a good book, I always talked up the YABA books before taking them to the shelves to find books
Possible reasons why “nobody” read them:
- limited copies (only 2 per title)
- our long circulation period (3 weeks) plus ability to renew means one person monopolized a book the whole time = highly possible
- apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in reading them)
- apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in the voting process)
- not enough and/or enthusiastic enough promotion of the books
Possible solutions for next year (in addition to our normal promotions):
- Purchase a class set of at least one title to use for book club and English novel assignments (budget permitting) – Two members of the YABA committee are from Aiken and I’ll get their recommendation on which one(s) to purchase
- Have (ahem – MAKE) English teachers participate in the banner completion
- Utilize the school’s website to promote (both front page and media center page)
- Partner with the public library’s Summer Reading program (“Own the Night”) and have something special (sigh, yeah prizes) if students read a certain number of books from the YABA list AND write a review on our library’s blog 2 Read or Not 2 Read or comment on another person’s review with their own review of the book
What else can I do? Have any suggestions, please comment!