Cafe Book

Cafe Book: Books and Lunch in the School Library

Brown bag lunch and books

It's lunchtime, and students carrying lunch boxes and cafeteria trays begin filing into the school library and finding seats. Librarians from the school and public libraries eagerly await their arrival. Once everyone's settled, they facilitate student discussion of 16 recently published teen titles, reminding students to start with what they liked and guiding them to elaborate on any concerns, beyond simply "It was boring." After meeting, reading, and discussing for an entire semester, teens vote for their favorites. The results become each school's "Top Teen Picks" list. The public library's copies get an award sticker, and these books become the most sought-after titles on our shelves. The semester wraps up with a visit to the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, where the students continue their tradition of lunching in the library while also touring the building, answering trivia questions based on the books, and cheering for their school's winners. 

Held at 14 middle schools in Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and the City of Fredericksburg, Cafe Book is a partnership between the public and school libraries to encourage and support teens who love to read. Not only are they enjoying great books with like-minded students, but they are also learning to identify and explain literary devices as they learn critical evaluation skills. 

We've just finalized the list of titles for this year's Cafe Book. Check back in January and May to see the favorites from each school. In June, we'll create a single list of the titles that were favorites at the most schools and announce the ultimate "Top Teen Picks" just in time for summer reading. 

Students Choose "Top Picks"

Cafe Book 2015: Dixon-Smith Top Picks

What’s all of the cheering about? Recently, teens from Dixon-Smith Middle School’s Cafe Book program came to Central Rappahannock Regional Library for their Get Together Day. Here, the students learn which of the 20 Cafe Book titles they voted for became their school’s Top Picks. As you can see, many of the students got very excited when their favorite books were announced as top picks.

Besides discovering the Top Picks, students also played a trivia game, a kind of "Cafe Book Jeopardy,” with questions about the books they read.  After the program, they were given a tour of the library and had time to browse and check out books. The Get Together Days are a rewarding experience for students and staff alike.   

About Cafe Book

Teens at area schools eat lunch in the school library and talk about the latest and hottest books published for teenagers. After reading their choices from selected titles, the teens share their thoughts with each other. The ultimate goal is to produce a booklist of each school's Top Picks.

Café Book is supported by a generous donation from the Carver family in memory of their mother Ruth---middle school librarian, literacy advocate, and lover of reading.

If you are interested in starting a Cafe Book program in your school, please visit our wiki or email for more information.