Teens & ARCs

23 06 2012

This time of year is what I call “conference season”, with BEA and ALA happening and plenty of posts about the hot titles to grab at conferences, recaps of said conferences, and haul posts. It seems like every year everyone wants to get the hottest, the greatest, the best ARCs.

Recently on Twitter I saw some librarians – who are attending ALA – talking about how they are avoiding the exhibit floor. They say that the pushing, shoving, fighting, etc that happens on the floor is too much for them and that they will simply be grabbing a few ARCs for their teens and then leaving for other things, like panels and meetings.

This issue of pushing and shoving and fighting for ARCs seems to come up more and more and it has become a problem. (It seems to be a bigger issue at ALA, at least from what I have seen, because the conference is designed for librarians and the people who are generally hogging the ARCs seem to not be librarians. The people seem to mostly be book bloggers).

I’m not going to post on this issue; go read Kelly’s  excellent post on ARCs and ethics.

But what I am going to post on is this:

One of the librarians on Twitter posted a picture of the teens at her library with some ARCs. She said that she got these ARCs at conventions and asked the people who were being greedy with the ARCs what they did with theirs.

I replied to her comment and said that at my library, our librarian did a similar strategy with ARCs. We had a bit of a back-and-forth conversation about ARCs and strategies and I talked with another girl who gets ARCs from her library about the topic as well. As I was having these conversations, I decided that I needed to make a blog post on the topic.

Note: I am not belittling anyone that does giveaways and such with their ARCs or book bloggers who attend conferences; this is simply my “ARC story”, I suppose.


So about a year and a half ago I moved to a new town. This of course, meant that I would have to start going to a new library. The library in my old town was quite large and had a huge teen section, and I was a bit apprehensive about moving to a new, smaller, library. My mom checked the library’s website and found some upcoming events at the library.

One of these events said: “Teen Advisory Board, last Tuesday of the Month, 4 pm” and included an email address at which to contact the teen librarian at.

My mom forwarded me the librarian’s email and I sent Amy – the librarian – an email introducing myself and saying that I wanted to attend the next Teen Advisory Board meeting. Amy responded excitedly and said that she would be glad to have me there.

So, on the last Tuesday of the month, my mom dropped me off at the library. I was a bit nervous as most of the teens in the group were much older than me. However they were all quite hilarious and I ended up having a great time.

So, what exactly is a Teen Advisory Board? (Note: this is how it works at my library, and every TAB is different.) We meet once a month in a conference room to discuss the teen programs at the library. We discuss upcoming events and programs, things like winter and summer reading, and Amy asks for our imput on programs/ideas that she has. We also tend to have a very good time.

We also get to have pizza and something else – we get to take home ARCs. Amy gets boxes of ARCs and brings them to the meetings. She sets them down on the table and lets us take the ARCs. We can have as many as we like, as long as we write down which ones we take. At the next meeting we tell her what we thought about the books and she uses our opinions to influence some of her purchasing decisions.

I will say this: I had wanted an ARC for a long time. I actually went through my old Twitter profile – one I set up for school – and found a fairly whiny-sounding but pretty sad tweet about how desperately I wanted an ARC.

And then I joined the TAB and now I have a lot. I have a shelf in my room where I stack them. I reread them often and I love finding the errors/issues in ARCs.

And this sounds greedy, I know it does.

So I’d like to point this out: some of the teens in the group have never had their own books before. One boy came in and asked what they were. Amy explained. He lit up and asked if he could have one. She told him yes and he asked if he needed to return it. She said no and she was so, so excited.

Amy told me that this particular boy wasn’t the only one who had been so excited to have his own book.

And when she brings out ARCs, we always tear through them quickly, until all of the books in the box are gone and every kid in the group has one, two, three books for them to take home. No one cares if the books are old or have already been released or if they’re outdated; they simply want to read the books, simply want to have their own books. And Amy does not have ARCs every month, and when she doesn’t, people always ask for them. (Usually we get them every other month.)

It’s really a win-win situation: we get books we want to read, and Amy gets advice for books to buy.

I really love having my own ARCs, my own books to read, and I love being able to read books ahead of hand. Everyone in our group loves getting them – we’re all total book worms – and they’re one of our favorite parts of the meetings.

Amy is going to ALA this week, and we’ve all given her lists of books we want, and she says that she’ll try and get as many as she can. One boy says that he wants to get more books for his growing bookshelf.

Really, these books give us a lot of opportunity: the library gets to get recommendations on what books to buy and we get to read books ahead of time and discuss them.

So I’d like to say, to everyone at all the conferences, please remember this and be courteous. For some people, one ARC can go a long way.




4 responses

23 06 2012

Shared with a favorite librarian…. named Amy.

24 06 2012

“So I’d like to point this out: some of the teens in the group have never had their own books before.”

Thanks you so much for this reminder, Paige. Some of us are lucky to have always been surrounded by books, but not everyone is so fortunate. I hope this is something people keep in mind when they’re scrambling for ARCs at ALA.

24 06 2012

Thank you! I wanted to point this out because it’s always something I think of around conference season, how some people would probably love to have all of those oodles and oodles of books.

Thanks for the lovely words (I very much enjoy reading your blog, too).

6 07 2012
Teen Advisory Board: Learning, Connecting, Sharing « Dancing Through YA

[…] a week ago I posted about how my librarian uses advanced reader’s copies with my local teen advisory board (TAB). I got a couple of emails from people asking for more information on TABs and what they are, as well […]

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