The Library of Congress Teen Board/Book Club Experience

At the Grand Opening of the new Saturday schedule of the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress, Richard Wright students read their essays about their Teen Board and Book Club experiences. They were introduced by Dr. Carla Hayden, the first African-American and the first woman to hold the post as the Librarian of Congress. RWN previously had the honor to interview Dr. Hayden after her historical nomination by President Obama, when she addressed the first meeting of the Book Club in October of 2016. Thank you to Director of Reading Ms. Young-Folk and Reading Specialist Mr. Fagan for being wonderful facilitators of this enriching program! Share in the experiences of our wonderful readers and writers here:

“I joined this year so everything was new to me. The concept of reading books before they came out excited me! I’ve always liked reading books, and having the opportunity to review books for teenagers, that could possibly read a book because of my review, deeply interested me. Teen Board offers me so many opportunities to better develop myself and my perspective. The books that we get to choose from are very diverse and I don’t feel forced to read a certain book. I have a sort of freedom. I can be myself in Teen Board. I can voice my opinions without feeling judged and to me that’s a great thing. One of my favorite moments in Teen Board was when guest author Monica Hesse came to visit us. I was a little shy so I didn’t really ask the questions I wanted to, but this experience opened my eyes. It showed me that as a writer I have to be open to people because when people read my books they’re experiencing a part of me. Teen Board has taught me that important lesson and so many others. Teen Board to me is an extraordinary experience and I’m thankful that I could be a part of it.” ~ Jacqueline Lassey, RW 11th grader

“The Young Readers Center Teen Board has been a great getaway where I can read, develop my thoughts and express myself through reading literature. I’ve been a part of the Teen Board of the Young Readers Center for two years now. In my opinion the YRC just keeps getting better for me along with the selection of books that are available. When I joined the Teen Board program my first impression was it was going to be your average book club where you write summaries of books written years ago. This is because it was being housed in the Library of Congress where lots of old books are housed. However, that was not the case. The YRC Teen Board itself is multi-dimensional. We are exposed to new books every month, distinguished authors have visited and amazed us with how they got started writing, and enthusiastic librarians that forge the way for us to have great snacks and wonderful books from various genres for our reading pleasure. I continue to enjoy our Teen board monthly meetings where we discuss our books, and hear about what other students have read while enjoying the embracing environment and loving culture of the YRC. The Young Readers Teen Board is a great program for young readers everywhere looking to embrace literature while cultivating their minds and expanding their horizons through reading.” ~ Ambassador Edward Tolson, RW 12th grader

“First, I want to start off with how great I think this program is. Ms. Kathy and her staff always work hard to make sure we are comfortable and engaged in the discussions we have at each meeting. If I wasn’t already a book lover I would be after spending a day with Ms. Kathy, because her enthusiasm for books is inspiring! Because of this program, I’ve met new authors, read amazing books and enjoyed some pretty good snacks. I’ve never left our meetings without learning new things, whether it is about books or the other students in the program. That’s what I like about the Teen Board Program. I’m surrounded by people that may be unfamiliar, but enjoys books just as much as I do. This program is a place where young people can freely express themselves; just reading, writing and talking about books without fear of judgement. That’s why I’m very thankful for the Teen Board Program and everything I’ve gained from it.” ~ Ambassador Varonica Payne, RW 12th Grader

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