A Time to Reflect…

The holiday season has arrived and with that comes the end of 2010 and the dawn of a fresh start in 2011!’  For me, 2010 has been a year of some serious growth in the Young Adult Department of my library system and a year that has taught me so much about programming and what I should and shouldn’t do.’  So, I’ve decided to pen a list of New Year’s Library Resolutions for 2011.

Resolution #1: Do more outreach programming.’  As a librarian in a public library system, I tend to wait until I am invited to come to schools or outreach centers.’  Sometimes, I’ll honestly admit, I see outreach as more of a Children’s activity (i.e. going to daycares and such).’  But it never fails that the more outreach programs I do, the more teens come by my office and tell me that they remember me from so-and-so, asking what the name is of that book I talked about in their class, and even calling me on the phone to ask questions about the next program.’  I am planning more outreach with detention centers, homeless shelters, and youth outreach facilities that already have programs in place.’  Why?’  Because they need to know that the library is there for them and that we don’t discriminate but that we welcome them with open arms and we’re here for them.

Resolution #2: Work harder on themed book displays. The more elaborate the better for some of my teens and they really gravitate towards our themed displays.’  Our display at Halloween, which advertised for Zombie Prom as well as promoted zombie books, got more checkouts than any other display that I’ve put up.’  My A.N.T. (Awesome Non-Fiction for Teens) collection has increased circulation above and beyond what I had expected thanks to all the new awesome non-fiction being published.

Resolution #3: Throw bigger bashes. Our teens LOVED Zombie Prom.’  They wanted us to do Zombie Winter Wonderland and Zombie Spring Break and Zombie Summer Fun and…well, you get the picture.’  The point is, they loved getting together and having programs after hours at the branch.’  It was a chance for them to have something to do on a Saturday night that their parents approved of and that they could hang out with friends from different neighborhoods, schools, and even parishes (Welcome to Louisiana!).

Resolution #4: Play Just Dance 2 more out in the open. I bridged some gaps that day with those teens and I fully earned their respect.’  I have some killer moves and Beyonce has nothing on me.’  (=

Resolution #5: Stop taking myself so seriously. One of the hardest parts of working with young adults/teens is that they love you or they hate you and they love your programs or they don’t.’  I’ve been working with teens for seven years and I still get my feelings hurt when I put a lot into a program and we get poor attendance.’  Instead, I aim to see this as a building opportunity for knowing what NOT to do or for learning new marketing strategies for my programs!

I know that a lot of these things comes as second nature to most of you who have been in the field for a while.’  But I ask you to pause for a few and think about 2010.’  One of the BEST things about working with teens is that they change and evolve so much and so quickly that our job is never the same.’  And sometimes, we need the reflection to take the time with ourselves to remember why we do what we do and how we can do it better so that teens will always have a love for the library.

Feel free to share your library resolutions below!

Happy Holidays…and best wishes for a fantastic 2011!

~Stephanie Wilkes – Ouachita Parish Public Library – Monroe, LA~

One thought on “A Time to Reflect…”

  1. Zombie prom display sounds great. Zombie fiction is popular with my middle schoolers. Kudos for dancing with them. My students love to see me make a fool of myself and you’re right. It does earn their respect. Or at least that is what I tell myself 🙂

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