Inspired to come back to my blog after reading about the numbers of teens who have book blogs, but feel they need to keep them secret from friends & even family. The fear of being seen as a nerd in school is huge - I see it every day in the secondary school I work in as the librarian. I can't tell you how sad I'm feeling about this.
I run reading groups in years 7, 8 & 9 ( sometimes we have yr10 students joining the yr9 group, although this varies from year to year) as well as an annual Carnegie shadowing group. I'm very aware that the students who are part of these wonderful groups are making a very particular statement about themselves. I've long suspected that the fear of being labelled a nerd probably stops quite a few students from joining who might really like to.
But this can work the other way around as well.
I have a group of 3 yr8 lads who come in every day during breaks, usually to play chess. These are lads to regularly get themselves into trouble in other areas of the school. There's no denying that they can be a pain from time to time - but they are never usually worried to let anyone know that this is where they spend their free time. Yesterday, however, another student took a photo of them in the library on his phone. The 3 were mortified & I wasn't happy either. I pulled the student (not literally!) out of PM registration & after a stern talking-to, made him delete the photo in from of 3 witnesses. Quite whether he would ever have done anything with it we'll never know - but it was sad to see the 3 lads so annoyed.