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Keeping Up with RA for Teens and Tweens

Post by Kathy Stewart
Posted June 09, 2015 in NoveList Plus

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Be honest. Would you agree with any of these statements?

“RA for teens requires special skills”

“I’m not hip enough to help teens”

“I don’t read teen lit”

It’s easy to forget that teens aren’t an amorphous tribe -- like all patrons, they’re individuals, with unique wants, needs, and a varying ability to articulate those. Connecting with readers is at the heart of effective readers’ advisory, right?

Yes, but... As any youth librarian can tell you, there are a couple of caveats when it comes to serving teens:

Teens, or Tweens? Gray area alert! Know the distinction between books for older teens vs. books for newly-minted teens.

Adult titles for teens? Often, teens read ‘up.’ Are these books OK?

RA through parents? How can you quickly provide a swath of book suggestions without speaking directly to the teen for whom they’re intended?

From information presented in a 2013 Pew study, there’s good news. Teens are reading, coming to the library, and, when asked about what library services and resources are very important to offer, 80 percent of young Americans name librarians to help people find information they need.

You don’t have to be an expert. Initiating a conversation, creating and building a relationship and knowing where to find key information in clutch moments—these are all cornerstones of effective RA. And, NoveList has you covered in the key information department. We’ve created a Keeping Up...YA Lit page to gather lists, award-winners, and on-point articles about teen RA from practitioners. It’s official: using tools is not cheating.

So, Teens or tweens? We’ve created a guide featuring search strategies for finding books for teens OR tweens. To access, type "Tween readers 201" in the NoveList search bar, then click the Lists & Articles tab.  You’ll get large group of search results ideal for narrowing by genre or appeals.

For more search tips, download our new Books for Tweens guide.

Adult titles for teens? You'll find our genre heading, Adult Books for Young Adults, very helpful. It identifies books reviewed as having appeal for teen readers. Just search for GN "Adult Books for Young Adults".

RA through parents?  As a starting point, our If You Like… and For Fans of… lists provide reading suggestions based on books/media teens have enjoyed. Look for these in the Recommended Reads section of the NoveList home page.

Just in time for summer, get ready for teen and tween RA (yes, there are book suggestions on superheroes). Please feel free to share your comments below.


Kathy Stewart, a former children’s librarian, is a Sales and Marketing Specialist and Editor of Kids & Books at NoveList