- Rebecca Purdy
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.