Operation: Urban Legends

by Victor Shill

Length of Program

50-90 minutes

Program Description

Although the serious study of urban legends is relatively recent, this type of story is an integral part of folk culture and has become part of electronic culture through web sites devoted to the topic. This program provides an opportunity to hear and share urban folklore.


Invite a storyteller from the community to present a storytelling program of urban legends. Request that the storyteller include information about the origin of urban legends and their purpose and place in folk culture. Bookmark some of the web sites recommended in this program and create web and book bibliographies.

Books to Display

  • The Big Book of Urban Legends by Robert Loren Fleming and Robert F. Boyd, Jr.
  • The Complete Idiots Guide to Urban Legends by Brandon Toropov.
  • The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvald.

Books to Booktalk

  • Alligators in the Sewer: and 222 Other Urban Legends by Thomas J. Craughwell.
  • Southern Fried Rat and Other Gruesome Tales by Daniel Cohen.
  • Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends collected and retold by David Holt.

Group Activity

Ask teens to share their favorite urban legend and make a list of the top five favorite urban legends.

Web-based Activities

The AFU & Urban Legends Archive
This is a subject guide to urban legends that teens will enjoy sharing with their peers.

Internet Scambusters
A free e-zine on internet fraud, computer crimes, urban legends, and scams. Let teens pick their favorite example in these categories and share.

U.S. News Online Mysteries of History
This site lists various hoaxes and mysteries that will interest teens. There is a link to a quiz teens will enjoy that tests knowledge of mysteries.

Audio Recording

Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends by David Holt.


  • I Know What You Did Last Summer. (101 minutes)
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. (100 minutes)

Professional Resource

Teen Library Events: A Month-by-Month Guide by Kirsten Edwards.


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011