The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

October 18, 2012

Teen Read Week encourages recreational reading

OSKALOOSA — Keeping teens reading these days can take a bit of finesse.

At the Oskaloosa Public Library, they’re doing just that.

This week the library is celebrating Teen Read Week. The idea is to encourage teens to read, not necessarily because they have to for school, but simply to do so for the fun of it.

Susan Hasso, Teen Librarian and administrative assistant at the Oskaloosa Public Library, explained this year’s Teen Read Week theme of “It Came from the Library ... and to a Theater Near You.” She said the library’s Web site includes a list of books the library carries that have been made into movies. The alphabetical list includes such readily recognizable titles as Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” and S.E. Hinton’s “Outsiders.”

Sasso said Teen Read Week is a good way to keep area teens interested in reading. She said it’s a time to take advantage of reading in all forms including magazines, books, e-books and audio books.

“I think it connects them with the library,” said Sasso. “We want them to become regular library users.”

Many people are familiar with the notion that when a book is made into a movie, the book is always somehow better than the film. Sasso said she can relate to this idea because a lot of times movies are disappointing when compared to their literary counterparts.

So, what are teens interested in reading these days.?

Sasso pointed to Rick Riordan’s “Heroes of Olympus” book series as somewhat popular among young people, adding that the library may need to order a second copy of “The Mark of Athena” in the series. The mixture of fantasy and mythology in these books seems to be what attracts teens to Riordan’s books, Sasso noted.

The Oskaloosa Public Library goes beyond Teen Read Week in their efforts to involve teens in the joys of literature. The library has a special section dedicated to items specifically aimed at teens.

Sasso said it’s important to have an area like this in the library which is separate from the children’s books and those for adults.

“They (teens) need to have their own section,” Sasso said. “It makes them feel like they’re a part of the library and it makes them feel they are important to us — and they are.”

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