Yes, I know that's redundant. But there is a revolution in my library, and it's all surrounding Dance Dance Revolution. On the second Tuesday of every month, we have "DDR Tuesdays," and this means that from 4-6 p.m. I host a DDR tournament. During the first half hour, the teens can practice. They organize who gets to practice by "duking it out," as I call it, because I care more about how the tournament flows than who gets in extra practice time before the official tournament begins. They are pretty good at self-regulating. The tournament begins at 4:30, or when everyone has finished practicing, whichever comes first.
I have hosted this tournament three times now, and each time, we have had more and more teens participate. At one point during yesterday's event, I had over 30 people in the meeting room, and for a teen program in my town, that's fairly extraordinary.
What does this have to do with books? Well, I'm not entirely clear on that, and I'm grateful that no one has asked me to defend the program. Mostly, it gets the teens up and active and OFF OF MYSPACE. Yesterday, I saw faces that I had seen in the library before but never at a program. I also am pleased to say that two of my teen volunteers are practically running the program. They are in charge of "the board," the foam board that contains the "brackets" for the tournament as well as the final scores. I dole out the prizes (a mix of freebies from conferences and some various ALA related swag), and I announce the winner, but the teens are gradually learning how to run the program themselves. And that's a good thing! I want them to know what the library offers, but I don't want them to depend on me to make all of the decisions.
So, DDR is revolutionizing what my library can do for teens and how local teens view the library.
It's Spring break here.
I was worried about how many teens would actually show for the tournament this week.
I told this to my volunteers and warned them that they might end up doing something else for their two hour shift.
"It's okay," they said, "We brought people."