How many times have you picked up a book and had so many feelings and reactions while reading it, that you just wanted to share them with the next reader? Look no further than The Margin Project! The Margin Project is something done at many public and school libraries, as well as being championed by writer Jen Malone (find out more about her here). The Margin Project is a great way to bring aspects of social media to reading, thus socializing books!
I am currently in the process of starting The Margin Project for the teens at my library. I selected 30 books, including fiction and nonfiction, to be a part of this collection. This is a great way to showcase certain titles, including award books likes those on YALSA’s Awards and Selected Lists. I was sure to include some of 2017’s Abraham Lincoln and Rebecca Caudill nominees, to encourage reading those as well. This collection will be specifically labeled so readers know they are able to write in them! Each reader can write using their own pen color and/or symbol to distinguish themselves. From there the sky’s the limit!
Readers can underline their favorite quotes, draw an arrow and write “Pay attention to this!”, draw pictures, write questions, and so much more. I believe that this will also be passive Readers’ Advisory, and will help readers pick new books. If they enjoyed the opinion of a fellow participant in The Margin Project, they may look to see what other books they have read, written in, and loved.
Participants may also take pictures of and share their writings on social media. The Margin Project is prominent on Pinterest and the hashtag can be found on Instagram and Twitter. This passive program is a great way to bridge the gap between technology and books. This is also a fun way to create a book club. It is great for teens that may not enjoy speaking in large groups, or are unable to attend a regular book club due to scheduling. Creating a book club out of this could be done by circulating 12 titles and having each member alternately read them each month.
There are so many different ways that The Margin Project can impact not only the library’s collection, but the library’s patrons. By seeing which books are popular, it helps with future book selections. This also gives different patrons the ability to communicate with each other when they may not have otherwise. It brings new life to reading and annotating books!
Have any of you participated in The Margin Project at your library or school library? What were your experiences?
-Tegan Anclade, currently reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers