Tag Archives: teen services

A year as Teen Librarian

CalendarYesterday was my one-year anniversary as a teen librarian. I’ve learned a lot, and gotten to do a lot of really cool things with really cool people. It’s hard to choose a favorite program/service/interaction, but looking back, here are twelve of my favorite moments (in no particular order, because how could I choose a single favorite anything?)​ from the last year:

  1. Watching a teen who’d caused some trouble at the beginning of the school year become a leader at gaming programs, even teaching me Kendama tricks at one game night and encouraging me to keep practicing.
  2. Working with a couple members of the Teen Advisory Board to plan and run our Kendama Tournament.
  3. Watching a young woman find her dream dress at our Project Fairy Godmother Prom Dress Giveaway. When a staff member told her she looked like a princess, she informed her, hands on hips, “I am a princess.”
  4. Doing book talks in an English Language Learning class with an amazing, enthusiastic teacher. After I pitched Alexandra Diaz’s The Only Road, the teacher asked, “Who wants to read that book right now?” and the entire class raised their hands. When I was finished presenting, the students then raced to check out our digital copies of the book.
  5. Working with the English Language Arts Coordinator at one of the local middle schools to allow all of their students to access our digital resources with their student ID number.
  6. Having a teen share some poems he wrote with me.
  7. Geeking out with an enthusiastic reader over the last book in the Selection series.
  8. Sharing tips with a teen writer as we both made our way through NaNoWriMo together.
  9. Having a teen share the designs he made in a digital art class, which blew my mind.
  10. Meeting and chatting with so many students about everything from books to Hamilton to Pokemon Go during book talks.
  11. Having a passive reader’s advisory interaction with a teen who asked for book recommendations on the white board in the Teen Room.
  12. Watching students in friendly competition doing the Kahoot! trivia I made about our digital resources during book talks.

There have been many, many more awesome moments, and I’m looking forward to many more years of working with these amazing young people!

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I’m now a Teen Librarian!

Good news, everyone!

I’ve wanted an excuse to use this meme for a while now. Image credit: http://www.memegasms.com/meme/vhyfxm

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know this, but I’m trilled to announce I’ve accepted a position as a Teen Services Librarian! I’ve always been passionate about teen services, and am really excited to build strong programs that engage and empower my community’s teens. Best of all, I get to do this at a library I already know and love! I took over some teen programs here in mid-April, and am blown away by how awesome these teens are. I can’t wait to hear their ideas and work with them to make the library a teen hub and haven.

So, what does this mean for the blog? I’ll still discuss librarianship, writing, and publishing, though my library-related posts will be more teen-focused. If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, please let me know in the comments, or get in touch with me on Twitter. I think the best blogs, like the best library programs, are shaped by their communities. So, let me know what you’d like to talk about (within the realms of libraries, writing, and publishing), and let’s start a conversation.

Is a separate teen library going too far?

I recently read an article in Focus on Indiana Libraries that discussed The Third Place, a teen library that is part of the Eckhart Public Library.  The building, which is down the road from the main library, was refurbished and donated to EPL with the stipulation that it be used solely for teen services.
While I am a big proponent of having separate teen spaces in libraries, parts of The Third Place’s setup concern me.  EPL Teen Services Supervisor Jamie Long says that “anyone, regardless of age, is permitted to come in [to the teen library] and check out materials” (Long 8).  However, “If patrons are not of grades 6-12 and are not accompanying a teen, they are asked to limit their stay to 15 minutes” (Long 8).  This policy seems discriminatory against adult patrons who are looking for young adult books, who may feel rushed when browsing, or who may avoid the teen library altogether because they are “too old.”  By creating a separate building exclusively for teens, is EPL limiting access to the collections that building houses?
The library is supposed to be a safe, welcoming place for all members of the community.  It was this sentiment that led to the creation of separate teen spaces in hundreds of libraries.  However, in our efforts to provide spaces for everybody, we must make sure we do not go too far in the opposite direction, limiting access to certain spaces or services based on age or other factors.  I’m not saying adults should be allowed to use the teen computer lab when there’s a separate adult lab, or that adults should be encouraged to lounge in teen seating areas; but when it comes to accessing library collections, patrons should not be given a limited amount of time to browse or encouraged to make their selections quickly (unless the library is closing).
Maybe I’m overreacting, but as an adult reader of teen books, I would feel off-put and unwelcome if someone told me to limit my stay in the teen library because I’m not a teen.  And what about teachers who are trying to select books for reading lists, or aunts or uncles looking for recommendations for their nieces or nephews?  I definitely think it’s important for teens to feel welcome and have their own space; but I think we need to make sure that everyone feels welcome to access all of the library’s collections.
Long, Jamie. “The Third Place: A Teen Library.” Focus on Indiana Libraries 7.7 (July 2013): 8-9. Web. Accessed 9 July 2013. http://www.ilfonline.org/clientuploads/July%202013%20Focus.pdf.