Young Adult



Pick-up Lines that Work: Powerful Openings in YA Books

Peters Township Public Library hosted local author events as part of Pennsylvania Library Association's "PA Forward Speak Up!" This event was planned as an initiative to place Pennsylvania authors and illustrators in the spotlight, increasing support for libraries everywhere. "Pick-up Lines That Work: Powerful Openings in Young Adult Books" was offered for teens 13 and up, as well as adults. Young-adult authors Joshua David Bellin, Patricia Easton, Stephanie Keyes, Carla Mooney and Leah Pileggi discussed a book's pick-up line: what made the reader turn to page two of their favorite YA read. A group activity was included in the program. 

Advanced Planning

We began our planning in February 2014 as soon as we learned of the opportunity from the Pennsylvania Library Association. We approached Stephanie Keyes, a recognized local young-adult author, and a very talented individual, to work with the library as the Peters Township Public Library facilitator for this program. Stephanie immediately identified four colleagues — all young-adult writers — to join her in this event to recognize libraries and authors.  


We promoted this event through a library press release, library online e-mail newsletter, library lobby poster, fliers and through the community mail distribution of our local school district. We featured this event on our library website and on our library teen pages. We also promoted through social media, including our library Facebook page. Each of our authors promoted the program through their contacts, as did our local school librarians.


Our costs were limited to our library-related costs for the creation of fliers and posters and copies of program materials. In addition, we provided light refreshments, including cookies and a beverage. Although not planned, we did provide the authors with a modest honorarium in recognition of their outstanding efforts on behalf of Peters Township Public Library to participate in this statewide event.  

Day-of-event Activity

We set up tables for the group activity and the author tables located in the program room. We also set up refreshment tables in our library lobby for a meet-and-greet following the event. 

Program Execution

Fifty-one people attended the event, including approximately 22 teens. Following introductions and opening remarks by Stephanie Keyes (the program facilitator), each of the authors spoke. Joshua Bellin discussed the importance of the first paragraph to showcase the protagonist, a.k.a. the main character. Patricia Easton explained that great opening paragraphs start with a bang and the inciting incident that drives the main character. Leah Pileggi and Carla Mooney described the needs of the protagonist and identifying a protagonist's core driver. Following a brief break, the participants returned and broke into groups facilitated by the young-adult authors, who provided a selection of books to choose from. Participants discussed opening paragraphs within their groups and shared with the broader audience.

The evaluations suggested the program was a learning experience and very well received.   As an added bonus, each of the authors shared wonderful anecdotes about the role of the local community library during their younger years, as well as the professional support they continue to receive from them. Above all, we acknowledge the outstanding effort by Stephanie Keyes, our local young-adult author, who facilitated this program for Peters Township Public Library. Stephanie may be reached at, 412-862-0575, or at   


 Target your audience and identify an author who will help create a program for a designated demographic. Identify a group of volunteers who will assist in promoting the program. 

Supporting Materials

Slideshow Images