Teen Book Festivals, the story of an open source program

It was spring of 2011. I had only been an intern for a few months at Patchogue-Medford, and I was just a face to many people in the area. Barbara Moon was looking for volunteers for the first Author’s Unlimited, and I showed up decked out for work. Tie and all.’  Imagine my surprise when everyone was wearing yellow. It was my job to greet, so I stood outside the doors to St. Joseph’s Danzi Center.’  Barbara tells me I did an excellent job greeting, but I’m not sure how I could have screwed that up.’  In between bouts of providing directions, I stared at the trees across the athletic field and pondered my new profession.

 

Barbara Moon, she always smiles. It mystifies me.'

In my orientation for Library School, the CUNY Queens Faculty impressed on us the importance of being involved. I thought this was a networking thing. Blah blah, jobs. You know? But Author’s Unlimited was my first exposure to Librarians undertaking a massive amount of work, on their days off and with little expectation of thanks from anyone else. I was stunned.

 

Librarian Sheila Doherty and Volunteers

Librarian Sheila Doherty and her team of teens gave up a Saturday to make the event a success

 

This year, I was again amazed at the amount of work Barbara, her assistant Tracy and the Suffolk County Young Adult Services Division put into making this event a success.’  Because I’m annoyingly curious, I started badgering Barbara about the origin of the event.

Of course it led to another Librarian who does stuff for free, and it led to another central aspect of the profession that I believe is central to our future success. It is the willingness of librarians to share the guts of their personal projects. I am sure when Stephanie Squicciarini first organized the Rochester Teen Book Festival it was a huge amount of labor and time involved.’  That in itself is an amazing thing, but she went the extra mile.

At the 2007 Spring conference of the Youth Services Section of NYLA, Stephanie shared her experiences organizing Teen Book Fest. Her hand-outs from the YSS conference got Barbara started in 2009. In 2010, Stephanie shared her model for the Rochester Teen Book Festival at the ALA Annual Conference.’  She provided Barbara with templates for programs, schedules, letters and checklists. Continued badgering, I’m an expert pest, led Barbara to say this:

“This program has been a model of professional cooperation.’  Stephanie has helped us with a vision of what can be accomplished. Our committee is indebted to her for her willingness to share her experience and expertise with us.”

In short, Stepanie is responsible for the Rochester Teen Book Festival. But she is also responsible for inspiring others to provide oppurtunities for teens to meet the author’s of their favorite book. So she can also take responsibility for these smiles too.

Three smiling attendees

Looks like they are having a good time

Recently, there has been a lot of concern about the future of the profession.’  There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, but there is a lot of reason to move forward without fear. We are an Open Source profession.’  At other professional conferences, people show up to brag. At our conferences, we show up to crack open the shell of what were working on to lay the contents bare for all to look at. That is what makes our conferences so exciting, because each session is about the possibility of doing something impossible. It is one of the many reasons I fell in love with Librarianship, and one of the many reasons that I am excited for rather than frightened of the future. So when you head to the conference in Anaheim, keep yours eyes open for the next big open source project.

 

 

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