Glitz Lit: A teen reading make over

Luisa Plaja meets the Glitz Lit group.

Luisa Plaja meets the Glitz Lit group.

The Glitz Lit gang celebrated their first anniversary at Sighthill Library and launched their Spring Collection last Monday with a visit from Luisa Plaja. The author of Young Adult fiction appeared as part of the ‘Lipstick Libraries’ tour set up by the Reading Agency and Curious Fox publishers to promote her novel Diary of a Mall Girl and libraries to teenage girls.

Luisa began festivities with a talk and reading from her novel Diary of a Mall Girl in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 50 teenage girls.  The celebrations then continued with cupcakes, nail painting and a bath-bomb making workshop courtesy of Lush.

An overwhelmed Luisa Plaja said: “It’s a fantastic turnout, it’s brilliant. Teenage years can be a time when reading drops off and it’s wonderful the library has this initiative to encourage the girls to come to the library and take part. It’s wonderful to get people reading and to keep them reading.”

Sampling the goods during the bath-bomb workshop

Sampling the goods during the bath-bomb workshop

The Glitz Lit campaign was masterminded by Sighthill Library staff Diane Yule and Lindsey Henderson as a way to connect with teenagers in Sighthill and Ratho libraries and to encourage reading for pleasure.

The project was initially launched in response to the revelation that 79% of young people from deprived areas in Scotland were not reaching expected literacy levels by Standard grade/GCSE age.  Over the last year the project has continued to grow and they are now regularly interacting with around 60 teens a month.  Lindsey was keen to point out that the developing bond between the staff and their young readers has allowed the initiative to take a more practical project-based approach.

“It’s a lot more than a reading list for girls. It’s about interacting with them, encouraging them to read and offering the opportunity to develop practical skills as well.  We’ve been running a jewellery appreciation project in conjunction with the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme and this has definitely had an impact on their literacy skills and the way they feel about writing in general.

It’s also influenced the amount they discuss books.  There’s a lot more talk about the books on the list and reading in general than there used to be.  They interact on Twitter as well so it’s gone beyond the four walls of the library.”

Luisa reads from The Diary of a Mall Girl

Luisa reads from The Diary of a Mall Girl

Sixteen year old Sophie Gorol puts the success down to the relationship they have with the staff and the friendly informal setting:  “A smaller group setting means you can talk to each other comfortably, listen to each other’s opinions and make recommendations”

Marnie Bell chips in: “At school you’re made to read something whether you like it or not.  But at the group it’s more tailored to your individual tastes and as the staff got to know us they know the kind of stuff we like.”

On the back of this success, Glitz Lit is now set to be rolled out at libraries in Wester Hailes, Fountainbridge and Oxgangs with local author Daniela Sacerdoti attending a launch event at Firhill High School in May.

To win a signed copy of Luisa Plaja’s Diary of a Mall Girl and to keep up with all things Glitz you can follow the project on Twitter: @GlitzLit

View a set of pictures from the event.

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