Snacks an added incentive for teen summer reading

Greater Victoria Library program builds readership among teens and pre-teens

Thunder Defayette

Thunder Defayette has no problem moseying up to the librarian and asking for chips. It might sound odd, but he’s among those able to participate this year in All That and a Bag of Chips.

Designed for teens, the Greater Victoria Public Library opened the program up to 10 to 18 year olds this summer.

“Most of the time I just ask. They have a bunch of books that are uncorrected proofs,” said Thunder, who heads into Grade 7 at Central Middle School in September. “On your first time you get a bag of chips. I’m more happy with the free book.”

Young readers in the program select a free book from the proofs and then read and submit a review at gvpl.ca.

The page under “audiences” then “teens” at gvpl.ca offers a tumblr link and review form with space for the name, summary, rating, who you would recommend it for and readers’ thoughts.

“I have submitted three reviews and I’m working on my fourth,” Thunder said, while picking his fifth book, Captive, at the Oak Bay library. “It’s a bit hard to pick a book sometimes. Most of the books were romance based and I like adventure and things like that.”

Thunder falls into a fortunate category for avid readers – he’s young enough for the Summer Reading Club and old enough for the All That and a Bag of Chips.

“It’s taken off like a rocket,” said Joy Huebert, a new public service librarian at the Oak Bay branch. Already 400 youth are registered to review books and 206 reviews are online. “We’ve been trying for a long time to engage tweens and teens. It’s a self-paced program they can do online. It gives them a whole bunch of books they get to keep. It keeps them writing in the summer and it introduces them to the library and keeps them interested.”

Other library incentives include teen zones, volunteer programs and other events created by the GVPL teen council.

“We’ve also just expanded our volunteer programs,” Huebert said, adding teens can get work-related skills and fulfill volunteer hours for school.

This summer, they can get All That and a Bag of Chips.

“I like the fact you get a book that perhaps you haven’t heard of before,” Thunder said. “And for the kids that don’t like to read – hey, there’s a bag of chips.”

Visit gvpl.ca/audiences/teens to learn more about the program.