#RockTheDrop 2014: Some Thoughts

Posted April 17, 2014 by Sara 6 Comments

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So today was #RockTheDrop – an annual effort organized by readergirlz and partners to promote Teen Reads Day, by encouraging people to leave YA books out in the wild for teen readers to discover them.

tbd2014I’ve participated for several years now, and I discovered something this year: teachers and librarians have no idea what this is.

It was raining something wicked today here in Portland, OR, so I decided to leave most of my books inside at a couple of local high schools. I’ve left books at high schools before, but usually I darted in during quiet parts of the day and never encountered any school staff. I snuck in, left books, and snuck out.

This year I ventured out during lunchtime. (A mistake, perhaps?) At both high schools I visited, I checked in with the front desk, since it was so crowded, and I didn’t want security giving me the stink eye.

And at both schools, I was met by the most confused reactions. At one school, the woman I spoke to actually seemed cranky that I wanted to leave free books for students to find — and the security guard thought I was wasting my time. (I kindly told him to give the students more credit; not all of them may be readers, but I promised him there were readers at his school, and the right students would find the books).

At another school, I spent probably 20 minutes trying to explain the concept to the school librarian, who just seemed baffled by the entire thing. “But how do they find the books?” she asked. I tried to explain, the book was for anyone who walked by and discovered it. The administrator at this school was at least kinder than the first — but she also seemed sort of baffled.

So readergirlz and future #RockTheDrop organizers, here is my suggestion:

Every year, you give us a fantastic book plate to print out and affix to our books before we drop them out in the world. Maybe give us a pamphlet or brochure we can print at home and hand out to the teachers, librarians, etc. we encounter while trying to execute these book drops.

And maybe, you know, work to expand awareness of what #RockTheDrop is all about.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at all the books I dropped off this year:

rtd1 rtd2 rtd3 rtd4 rtd5For the comments: How do you think we can increase awareness of #RockTheDrop?


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6 responses to “#RockTheDrop 2014: Some Thoughts

  1. Well, I missed it completely. I am floored that the Portland schools aren’t more with it. Not surprising at all that down in Salem they are clueless. Even our local stores lack in the YA department. It’s like they don’t enjoy what they do. It’s very sad. I think a pamphlet- and maybe even a PSA for the schools/libraries would be wonderful. This is something they should be excited about.

    • Sara | Novel Novice

      Yeah, it would be great to have, like, a printable PDF that is a quick explanation of #RockTheDrop that I could hand out to the schools or libraries when I go to leave books. The fact that they seemed not only clueless, but confused and even suspicious of the concept was really upsetting.

      Like, I want to leave free YA books for teens to find! That’s it! Why is that so difficult to understand?

      • I think a handout would be wonderful. Exactly. It seems pretty simple to me. Where is the enthusiasm? Why are they not connecting with their core audience? Rock the Drop should be a big deal at this point. I’d be willing to help promote here for next year and beyond.

  2. I think movies and the news have left most of us in this world jaded and so people are confused by any action that is selfless in nature. Really I think there are a lot more people out there trying to make the world a better place than we even know, but our perspective is skewed by all the negative we see. Add to that the reality that many teenagers are hurt and taken advantage of by adults, and school officials become suspicious of awesome events like #RockTheDrop.

    So a pamphlet or brochure would definitely help, and perhaps in the weeks leading up to next year’s event information could somehow be given out to schools letting them know about it. I’d never heard of #RockTheDrop until a couple days before it happened this year, so there is probably room for more awareness out there! I bet there are many teachers and school librarians who would be excited to participate themselves if they knew more about it.

  3. Shelly

    I am a school librarian in Florida and I happened upon a tweet about it yesterday, so I scrambled to get something together. I really enjoyed it and I am so glad I checked my Twitter yesterday!

    I think the pamphlet idea is a great one, but let’s get those out sooner than the day of! I love sharing books, so I didn’t hesitate to join #rockthedrop, but I know little about the program and if other librarians are anything like me, they want to be well informed. So if we start spreading the word now, so next year teachers and librarians will be pumped to #rockthedrop!

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