Connecting with patrons is a priority for any library. It's easy to connect with adult patrons, but high school students can be indifferent toward the library. This isn't something I take personally. Given the rise of home and hand-held devices and online streaming, today's teens have other options for media consumption.
When they do come to the Media Center I want them to not only have a positive experience, but to have some fun too. With that thought in mind, T-Shirt Tuesday was born.
Every Tuesday I wear a geek-inspired T-shirt. The students have to guess what it's from- Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings, etc- and the correct answer earns them a red vine licorice candy. Sometimes there are bonus questions related to the shirt and two red vines can be earned.
Now that we're at the half-way point of the year, the students have caught on. I have Tuesday regulars, kids I only see on Tuesdays, as well as my daily regulars. Most of them have no clue what my T-shirt is about because I am a serious geek, but they happily turn to Google to try and find the answer.
What began as a game has turned into a learning opportunity. Ms. Orest teaches an internet research class and one of the key points discusses Google reliability. The kids assume the correct answer is always the first link on a Google search. This isn't the case. I've watched students spend a majority of their lunch period searching for a T-shirt Tuesday answer (the power of red vines!).
Every Tuesday I see a few new faces. Some kids look at me like I'm crazy, some look forward to the day because it's the only time they're allowed to eat food in the library and others arrive with their smart phone in hand, ready to take me on. It's always a fun day for them and me.
We've seen circulation increase as the semester has progressed. T-Shirt Tuesday is just one factor in that. The more comfortable students become in the Media Center, the more they end up using it.
Let's face it, the only fun library is a busy and used one.