Operation Teen Book Drop Supports YA Lit With Street Teams

rgz.jpgNever fails…Every time I try to pre-slate a feature it gets bumped to the backburner because something pops up with date-driven, time-sensitive urgency that merits attention.

No exception here, as this is too good to pass up, with YALSA and readergirlz using marketing and media tactics to form social community, both online and offline.

Thursday, April 17, it’s “guerilla marketing meets MySpace media forums” in this donation-style blitz where any teen, anywhere, can participate in a stealthy drop of YA books where other teens might find them. Nice surprise…

Each piece of lit is tagged by telltale bookplates or bookmarks, downloadable free from the web, so kids know the book is up for grabs!

Smart little ‘secret Santa’ move for springtime. Imagine finding this treasure left at a bus stop, or while sprawled under a tree between classes…Operation Teen Book Drop is a perfect way to drop a little knowledge on kids in a fun, random manner.

31-flavorites.jpg Fresh from their “31 Flavorites” guest author/social media success, the literary pros at readergirlz and YALSA are back at it, (great video and blog, YALSA; love the new format!)…this time integrating new media tactics with a massively collaborative effort to have everyone participate on April 17th.

Kids can snag the icon, post it on their favorite social media sites and blogs, Twitter about it, leave clues, codes and text messages for other teens to seek out their drop zones (hangouts, park benches, waiting rooms, you name it) in this ‘pay it forward’ approach to teen reading for pleasure.

Reminds me of the “improv everywhere” stunts where ‘agents’ start talking on ‘banana-phones’ instead of cells, or folks freeze frame as statues in Grand Central Station. The group dynamic adds flair in unison, that’s for sure.

readergirlz-newrglogo2.jpgThe YA book event begins with the timed drop of 10,000 publisher-donated young adult books into the top pediatric hospitals across the country, and ends with teens telling their tales through social media on their own blogs, Facebooks, Live Journals, or the readergirlz MySpace site itself.

Whether you’re already a readergirlz MySpace fan, YA lit buff or savvy teen librarian ready to turn a quiet deed into a fun, scavenger-style social media party with a touch of philanthropy to boot, this ‘literary infiltration’ is a dream team for media mavens like me.

yalsa.jpgImagine 20 book publishers donating a value of $175,000+ to place books in the hands of teens “in need of solace, entertainment and a sense of personal accomplishment,” per the ALA release…YALSA also offers tips for serving sick or homebound teens at the YALSA Support Teen Literature Day Wiki. Great stuff.

Again, I particularly love the ‘all at once’ guerilla-style element…shades of a festive balloon drop, prom finale, or New Year’s countdown with a big ramp up and participatory crescendo on one given day.

irockedthedrop.jpgExcellent use of new media to spread the word online and share the pleasure of reading offline.

Good times!

Or as the ‘readergirlz divas’ say…”We all know that books give hope. Together, let’s show our love of teen lit and ROCK THE DROP…Read, reflect, and reach out.”

Consider me rocked. I’ll be droppin’ too…

Hint: My first YA books will land at a local internet cafe…and a park near a library in my local environs…

p.s. Of note: I’ll be raiding my stash I’ve been saving to try out the new beta community called 2Swap.com which is ‘dedicated to freeing captive books everywhere’…It’s a ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ credit system to swap books online and clear out your shelves in time for spring cleaning. Looks like a worthy win-win…story coming soon! (yeah, I know, promises, promises…)

Related Resources

Shaping Youth: YA Books Become a New Media Experience

Shaping Youth: Ideas For World-Changing: Go Overboard!

Shaping Youth: 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens: readergirlz Teams With YALSA!

Shaping Youth Interviews YALSA President for Teen Read Week

Shaping Youth: A Vision of Students Today: Digital Ethnography Video

YALSA Book Lists & Book Awards

ALA: Best Books for Young Adults

ALA: Fabulous Films for Young Adults

2Swap.com Book Swapping Online, for Earned Credits

A mini-blurb of interesting backstory from the readergirlz release:

“Justina Chen Headley, co-founder of readergirlz and award-winning novelist, wanted to find a way to support teen patients going through such difficulties through a massive book drop.”

“While touring my local children’s hospital to research my novel, Girl Overboard, I couldn’t help noticing that teen patients didn’t seem to have the comfort objects that the little ones did,” she said. “As an author, I knew that YA books–books with exceptional characters and fabulous stories–could provide teen patients with some of the escape and inspiration they needed. And I knew that readergirlz and YALSA were just the groups to spearhead a teen literacy program of this magnitude.”

“Operation TBD also aims to encourage teens to choose reading for pleasure as a leisure activity, as young adults now have many options for entertainment and often choose reading less often. This meshes well with YALSA’s Support Teen Literature Day, which kicks off Teen Read Week, a weeklong event held the third week of October that encourages teens to read, just for the fun of it. Teen Read Week 2008 is Oct. 12-18, with the theme of Books with Bite @ your library®.”

“To help incite the broader teen community to participate in Operation TBD in its drive to spur reading on a national scale, readergirlz has invited all teens and YA authors to leave a book in a public place on April 17. When visiting www.readergirlz.com, participants can download bookplates to insert into the books they’ll leave behind, which explain the surprise to the recipient and tell them to read and enjoy…”

Also from the release:

About Support Teen Literature Day

“For the second consecutive year, Support Teen Literature Day will be celebrated April 17, 2008 in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week.
Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their library. The purpose of this new celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase some award-winning authors and books in the genre as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.”

About the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

“For 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390.”

About readergirlz

“readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by four critically-acclaimed YA authors–Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe), Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard), and Mitali Perkins (First Daughter: White House Rules). readergirlz was co-founded by Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover, and Justina Chen Headley–all four of whom have been touched by children’s hospitals or hospitals in some way or other…To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month…”

Finally…in keeping with the readergirlz and YALSA random acts of kindness in the book drop realm…I just found these great links on their site…and wanted to drop them on you!

Random goodness (from the readergirlz link list)
Brotherhood 2.0
Broward Library
Carla R. Sarratt
Mind Your Mind



  1. Thank you, Amy! I’ve been so busy rocking the drop I just saw your AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE post. We appreciate it so much. Operation TBD has landed, and we are so pleased. 10,000 teens in hospitals are receiving their books, and YA books are being found around the world. Thank you for helping the endeavor. *hugs*

    Lorie Ann Grover ~readergirl diva/author

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