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Hip hop star Akala joins teen reading initiative
30.09.09 | Alison Flood
Hip hop star Akala has joined the Reading Agency’s drive to encourage teenagers to read, as the reading charity stresses the need for a “dramatic change” in the reading and library landscape if teenagers are not to be turned off reading for life.
Yesterday (29th September) the Reading Agency launched its autumn teenage campaign with an event during the Free Word Festival in London to promote its new online community for teenagers, groupthing. This saw Akala, manga artist Faye Yong and author Alexander Gordon Smith join young people to generate content – from creative writing to music, lyrics and art - for the site.
“We need to broaden the definition of reading – bringing in everything from lyrics and film scripts to manga and website design. With so much competition for young people’s time and the rise of social media, the onus is on all of us – schools, libraries, youth workers, charities and parents – to find innovative ways to inspire a love of reading,” said director Miranda McKearney.
“With the government’s library review just around the corner, we believe it’s vital that future teenage library services are shaped with young people.”
This autumn, three new “HeadSpace” areas in libraries in Southampton, Medway and Solihull will also be opened: the HeadSpace project sees teenagers designing their own spaces in libraries.
“Through our new social media reading website, groupthing, and youth-led spaces like HeadSpace, we are transforming the way teenagers engage with reading and libraries,” said the Reading Agency’s digital expert Ruth Harrison. “Let’s ditch, for good, the stereotype of the stuffy library and the image of readers as loners. Let’s revolutionise the reading landscape for teens, so that they become readers for life.”