The League of Readers is not your ordinary book club. It is powered by the various nerd fandoms that have captured the affection of teens and have ultimately become their pop culture. Every year thousands of fans attend comic conventions across the country, but for fans who either cannot afford to attend or don’t live close enough to the venues, it can be a challenge to link up with liked-minded fans. The League of Readers (LORe) aims to bring the passion and energy of comic and fan conventions and morph it into a book club for teens so they can enjoy the camaraderie of fandom in their very own community. Participants will pick up Mission Packs from the library which will include a League of Readers Tote bag, the library book chosen that month, pencils, a notebook, and a top secret mission they will have to complete before attending the meeting. The actual book club 2.0 will be divided into three major sections:
1. Fan Forum: an opportunity to talk about the books and geek out with guided questions and highlighted themes so the teens can go in depth and find connections to their lives within the stories. (approximately 45 min.)
2. Off the Page: an exploration of related content in other formats to promote media literacy which includes music, videos, fan art, fan fiction and more. Also includes a “Your Next Obsession” portion which will introduce members to new materials related to that week’s featured content. (approximately 30 min.)
3. Be the Creator: a planned DIY craft inspired by the book club pick for the participants to take home and show off as unique collectables. (approximately 30 min.)
The three-pronged approach (discuss, watch, create) of the LORe program is a fun new way to introduce teens to the wider realm of literature. Through the LORe program, participants will be introduced to critical discourse and become equipped with new skills to help them analyze both their immediate surroundings and the greater world around them.
The League of Readers is innovative as it encompasses digital content as well. All of the content created and shared during the book club meetings will be collected and posted to a webpage/blog that will act as a homebase for the League. In this digital platform, the participants can view "bonus content" which includes links to fanart, music, Youtube videos, and other multimedia content (both fan-made and professionally made) that would be shared during the meetings. Members can also view pictures of the unique fan swag made by their peers, check when the next meeting is, and vote for the book that will be chosen as the fan favorite to read for the last meeting.
For parents, LORe will provide a safe and engaging afterschool activity that promotes literacy for their children in their very own neighborhood. We realize that high school students are busy with other extrcirruclar activites, especially in the springtime, so we would only require teens to participate once a month for two hours. Because we will select a new title every month, we will keep enrollment for the book club open to give other teens a chance to participate. If teens do attend all meetings, they will be given special badges to commemorate the accomplishment and be able to add it to their collection of handmade swag. Parents will also be encouraged to know that the passion involved in fandoms can also translate into creative career oppurutnites in the future. LORe aims provide opportunities to meet with community mentors (local comic book artists and comic book store owners) who have made careers out of the same enthusiasm for geek culture.
At the end of May, to close our spring book club session, we will have a celebration for all particpants in the Dweck Center where we will give out prizes (like tickets to the annual Anime Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens), highlight student work, pariticpate in games and activites, and watch a movie (picked by LORe). This is a time where family and friends of the participants can come together and see what the bookclub has been up to. Refreshments will be provided and certificates will be given out to all participants.
Below are the proposed book club picks, which includes comics, a novel, and even manga:
January 26th First Meeting Book Club Pick: The Runaways
February 23rd Second Meeting Book Club Pick: Black Panther
March 30th Third Meeting Book Club Pick: Ready Player One
April 27th Fourth Meeting Book Club Pick: Bleach
May 25th Fifth Meeting Book Club Pick: Fan Favorite (The LORe will decide with a vote)