Are you familiar with the concepts of fandoms? Have you seen libraries successfully working with fan subcultures? To what effect?
A fandom is a community of fans. I am familiar with the concept of fandom, having read some fan fiction of my favorite stories. I know how much fun it is when you share a love for a story and can’t wait to share it, read it, and talk about it with those who love it, too. “Fandoms generally arise out of a shared love of a particular story, whether that story is told through television, cinema, video games, and most importantly for librarians, books… Fans actively participate with stories. They pick up the conversation where the author left it.” (Behrens) You finished reading the series? You loved a book but didn’t like how a story ended? Your favorite character was killed off? Fix it! Relive the characters through fan fiction. As Petra Mayer explains in her interview on Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: The Rise of Fan Fiction: people like it because they can change the story however they’d like.
I have not personally seen libraries working successfully with fan subcultures, but it seems like libraries and fandoms would go together naturally. “Kids learned the story of Harry Potter by reading the books. They learned the meaning of Harry Potter by engaging with the material on a much deeper level. Just as important, they followed their passion.” (A New Culture of Learning, ebook) The best way to learn about something is to have a passion for it. The best way to connect kids to books is to let them fall in love with what they’re reading.
A good story makes you feel emotionally invested in the characters. It makes you stay up all night because you have to read just one more page. It makes you sad when you’ve finished reading. Thanks to fan fiction, a good story never has to end.
Behrens, Katie. (2012). Essay: why you should pay attention to fandoms. Retrieved from http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/?p=7618
Mayer, Petra. “Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: The Rise of Fan Fiction.” Interview. Audio blog post. NPR. NPR, 04 Nov. 2014.
Thomas, D. & Brown, J. (2011). A New Culture of Learning : Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Ebook.