Starting and running a Teenage Reading Group is not an easy task although it is a rewarding one. Too often when someone wants to start working with Teens in a Library they go all out to attract the non-users into the Library, and, while this can work, it is not always successful.
I have found in my experience that it is best to start with a few teens preferably ones that use the library regularly as they are usually more receptive to coming in for an hour for interesting book-related topics. It takes time, but building up a decent sized group over several months or a year is better than trying for maximum membership from the outset.
The key to building a rapport with teens is to be visible at times other than official TRG meetings as Teens (like most people), respond better to people they know and see on a regular basis (This helps combat the Lone Ranger Effect – When someone rushes in sets everything up, holds the event and then disappears, leaving everyone who attended wondering who the masked man was.)
It is also good that the person (librarian?) running the group gets to know the names of the Teens coming in so it does not appear as if they are always reading off a list. In this way it can further personalise the ‘Teen Library Experience’ and make Libraries seem more relevant to them. It can also assist in dispelling the view of Librarians as just another authority figure that does not really want them around.
It may be best if, for the first session anyway, you organise an ice-breaker – if you have a look at the event ideas section of the website you will find several easily organised events that can be used.