Growing up around this library program and watching it flourish over the years inspired me to take a deeper look at young adult programs in libraries for my thesis. How have they developed over the years? What makes them “successful,” and what defines success? How are librarians identifying and then meeting their communities’ needs?
Fandoms surrounding the favorite books of teenagers have been a prominent part of culture since the Harry Potter books. Now, most well-loved series have some kind of derivative fandom surrounding them, but the Harry Potter fandom is by far the most expansive example of this. Years ago, Harry Potter fans pushed past the creation of art, parody musicals, and actual sports, and they went a step further by channeling their love for the books into the creation of an activist group.
It is no secret that young adult literature has exploded in the last couple of years. The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Twilight series have elevated the status of the genre. And as more and more adults reach for young adult books on the shelf, how do publishing houses market these books? Some publishing professionals say that it is important to “give authors ‘social media’ training [and] make sure they become invested and actively involved with maintaining their social media pages” (Yin 2012). Having an active social media presence, it seems, is crucial to having a successful book because that is where the teens are—online. Everyone has a social media page of some sort, so it is imperative that an author connects with these people online because “teenagers are reading! They want access to the writer, and one only needs to look as far as John Green and his website, Nerdfighteria.com, to see what an authentic voice can do for building a community of loyal followers and readers” (Publishing Perspectives 2015).