I am not sure if you have noticed but when students find a genre they like they stick to it. They rarely deviate, and never glance at other books that in a different genre. And let us be quite honest, we as adults fall into this category as well. My husband for the longest time would only read memoirs or biographies about ex-drug addicts, biker gangs, skateboarders or rock legends. It took a little prodding, but now he has several fiction titles on his iPad. Well if he was tough, imagine what it is like to try to get a middle school student to look at something different? Most of the boys are Rick Riordan fans and only read his work. Or they have read ever sports book the library can hold. Meanwhile, the girls are falling over the Twilight series, The Pretty Little Liars series, or The Clique series. Currently the book that is flying into the hands of each student is…can you guess??? Say it with me everyone. THE HUNGER GAMES! Thank you Suzanne Collins and Scholastic (my old company by the way) for bringing yet another series to the limelight that is attracting all readers.
Now I can not house multiply copies of The Hunger Games. I have several copies but the students would like me to have one available at all times. Well that doesn’t happen. But I don’t want to see them leave without a book in hand, I would show them other titles that are similar in nature to The Hunger Games, but most of the time they say I’ll just wait or go to the public library. This got me thinking. Several students have read the first book in the series, others have read two of the three and some have read all three; my problem was, how to do I get them reading other books that might not be the hot item at the time? I have posters and links on websites set up to promote titles similar to TheHunger Games. I even spoke about it here. But that can only go so far. So I came up with a new plan. Why not tie in the theme, or some element of the popular series to get the students interested in other books, in other genres and even some nonfiction titles as well?
Allow me to introduce District 14: Your School Library! Some might be saying, “What?” Allow me to explain, for those who have not read the series: the United States has been divided into 13 Districts, with each district specializing in a particular field/skill. There is also the Capitol, which oversees all of them. Some districts are wealthy, others are poor; and in one such case completely destroyed. That is basically the gist. So I decided, why not use these 13 Districts and their skills to promote books? Here is what I came up with. Each district is represented on a display through images and text around the library. And we provide call numbers on where to find the books being promoted. Here is an example of each of the posters.
District 1: Luxury– specializes in producing luxury items such as jewelry. We promote nonfiction titles about jewelry making, fashion and the wealthier side of life. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 2: War and Weapons– specializes in training peacekeepers, or the Capitol’s army.We promote nonfiction titles army, marines, and other outfits as well as machines used during the wars. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 3: Technology– specializes in engineering.We promote nonfiction titles about computers and how technology has advanced over the years. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 4: Aquatic specializes in fishing.We promote nonfiction titles about sea life and oceans. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 5: Power- specializes in electricity We mainly promote nonfiction titles here and mostly about electricity and electrical products.
District 6: Transportation- specializes in basically transporting of materials and people. We mainly promote nonfiction titles here and mostly about different means of transportation.
District 7: Lumber- specializes in wood and wood related products.We promote nonfiction titles about forests and wood art. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 8: Textiles- specializes in clothing. We promote nonfiction titles about famous fashion designers and the fashion industry. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 9: Grain- specializes in food sources. We mainly promote nonfiction titles here and mostly about different food sources and farming.
District 10: Livestock- specializes in cattle and raising animals.. We mainly promote nonfiction titles here and mostly about how to raise animals.
District 11: Agriculture- specializes in growing food. We promote nonfiction titles about growing food sources. We also promote fiction titles such as:
District 12: Mining- specializes in mining mainly coal. We mainly promote nonfiction titles here and mostly about the coal mining industry and other minerals found through mining. We also mention this is where Katniss, Peeta and Gale are from.
District 13: Nuclear Weapons- specializes in nuclear technology. This was the district that was destroyed. We promote nonfiction titles about nuclear weapons and who designed them. We also promote fiction titles such as:
Capitol: oversees all districts and lives the life of excess. They also control everything that happens tot he members of the districts. We promote nonfiction titles about monarchies and rulers and the culture around it. We also promote fiction titles such as: