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Books Inc.’s Teen Advisory Board Influences Bookstore Operations

When Ava Lee, 13, was younger, she would stay up late and read. During this past summer, she asked her mother, young adult author Stacey Lee, how she could start a Teen Advisory Board for book lovers. Ava Lee’s mother contacted Books Inc. and put her in touch with the staff and soon the store’s Teen Advisory Board was born.

“Some of our local teens want to have a say in what we get in our stores and what events we have in our stores,” said Robin Stern, the store’s children’s specialist. “We’re happy to have their input and their help in setting up displays and assisting at events.”

According to the Books Inc. website (www.booksinc.net/Teen_Advisory_Board), members of the Teen Advisory Board must be between 13 and 17-years-old and be willing to put in a time commitment. Applicants must submit an application and respond to questions such as, “What strengths do you think you would bring to the Advisory Board?” and “Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or both?” Thirteen members are currently in the group. The first meeting took place back in early September.

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In November, board members gathered at the bookstore for their regular meeting. Ava Lee said that the group also volunteered to wrap gifts at a November store event to collect donations for Love 146 (love146.org), which is, according to its website, “an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention.”

“At the first meeting, we just introduced ourselves to each other,” Ava Lee said. “Hannah, a Books Inc. store employee, gave us a tour and told us we can request certain authors to come here for panels. At the second meeting, we were learning how to operate the Books Inc. book blog. We were assigned to write reviews for books we really liked. We had to come up with lists of books to encourage people to read.”

Ava Lee explained that members receive ARCS— advance reader copies—of upcoming young adult books. Members are expected to read the books and report back to the manager if they think they’ll appeal to teen readers. Members can also request some books to be carried at the bookstore too.

“I think this group is really great because I like to read and write,” said Alannah Blumstein, 13, another Teen Advisory Board member. “I get to meet like-minded girls here. So far I’ve read a few ARCS of young adult novels. I get to put my reviews on Books Inc.’s book blog. I haven’t written a review yet, but I will. I look forward to making displays at the store and writing reviews on the website. So far, the bookstore seems to carry all the books I love—Harry Potter, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.”

Santa Clara’s Books Inc. store is located inside the Santa Clara Square Marketplace at 2712 Augustine Dr. #120.

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