Sadly enough, I did not celebrate Teen Read Week this year.

I just started a new job as a youth services librarian a few weeks ago. Before I started, I was making all of these plans about things that I wanted to do and what teen services needed a lot of work. My friend, who is also a youth librarian, tried to convince me to not make any plans for at least six months because chances are, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of them. Of course, I didn’t listen. I was going to hit the ground running. That’s what I did. Tried to do. And now I’m running through molasses.

She was completely right. Almost a month after starting, I’ve done more work for toddlers than I have for teens. It turns out that the job that I thought was going to be teen-centric is more birth-through-teen-centric. Okay, no big deal. I can work with that. Little kids are adorable, and I love storytime. Plus, I have a middle school anime group that the high school anime group organizes. It’s not a whole lot of work for me, but at least I’m getting face-time. Read More →

For some of us, it’s an uphill battle advocating for the teens in our libraries. Budgets are never quite large enough, there’s never enough time to do everything, so if any group gets the short end of the stick, it’s our teens. We all know how important it is to have teen programming and teen spaces and an excellent teen collection, but it can be difficult getting the higher-ups to see it our way. You might find, as I have, that you need to justify your teen programs beyond getting teens in the door. Read More →

Throughout the year, teens in my branch come in, check out their things, and leave. Not many hang out in our teen area, maybe because our other branch has a way cooler teen room. Our stats show that they like our collection, but programming-wise, the numbers are never there. This is why I love summer. We see more teens during the summer than at any other time, and they all want to volunteer. Read More →

I just got back from a much-needed vacation to Oregon, and it’s a great place to visit. I spent half of my time in Portland and the other half in Newport, a coastal town. Of course, it was hot and sunny in Portland and rained the entire time I was at the beach, but that’s the Pacific Northwest for you. While I declined my husband’s offer to visit the beautiful Central Library in downtown Portland — we were on an epicurean tour at the time, and the promise of drinkable chocolate is much sweeter than visiting somewhere that will make me feel like I’m at work — I couldn’t seem to distance myself from books or YALSA.

Read More →

I’m what some circles call a security wife – I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband is in information security.  Lately, I’ve been sucked into helping plan their conference in November, which has furthered my immersion into the whole field. Yes, a lot of it goes way over my head, but I know more than the Average Jane. So what am I taking away from all of this to use in my own work? Well, I’ve increased my skill at designing the conference badges in GIMP, which is the open-source version of Photoshop. (If you need Photoshop, and the light version isn’t enough, beg your IT department to let you download GIMP. It’s free, and if you already know Photoshop, GIMP is a breeze). Open source shouldn’t be seen as innovative for our libraries in this day and age given how long it has been around, but it is. Read More →

We have tons of wonderful resources at our fingertips to create an awesome environment for our teens. Maybe you’re chatting with others about what they’re doing for the Hunger Games release, or you’re scanning Pinterest for new craft ideas. You hear people talking about how such-and-such program was a huge hit, and you think, “I’ve got to try that. My teens will love it.” So you spend time and money planning this sure-fire program, or maybe you’re creating your own Teen Space so they have a place in the library that’s theirs, and the time has come for the big program, the big reveal … and no one comes. Read More →

This November, YA librarians and authors will descend upon St. Louis for the 2012 Young Adult Literature Symposium. If you haven’t been to this before, I highly recommend it. I went in 2010 and met a lot of fabulous people and rubbed elbows with a few authors (perpetuating my girl-crush on Lauren Myracle) and came away with a lot of great information. This year the theme is Hit Me with the Next Big Thing.

I started thinking about what exactly that means. How can we predict the future of what’s going to be hot and what’s going to flop? It’s not always easy to find what will be successful for your library, even when you’ve seen it be successful everywhere around you. Read More →

If you’re going to Dallas for Midwinter, you’ve probably seen the different lists of places you should visit and eat. Having lived in DFW (that’s short for Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, by the way), for a couple of years now, I can tell you that a lot of places that make those lists aren’t the true gems. I asked around my library friends and what follows is a list of our combined must-see and must-dine places in DFW: Read More →

I’m going to have to keep this brief today, which is fitting because today is all about time. When did you last say that you had too much time on your hands? If you’re like a lot of us, you don’t remember the last time you could just sit back and relax. There’s always something else that has to be done – another program to plan, more weeding to be done, desk hours, etc. You keep putting things aside to do later, but later never comes. If you already have a fail-proof method that keeps you scheduled and on task, I’m super jealous, and please share in the comments!

I, on the other hand, tend to be really disorganized, so at the beginning of this month when I started NaNoWriMo, I had no idea how I was going to manage that on top of everything else. I had to come up with something to do differently, or else I was never going to make it. So, here are a few tips for keeping your head above water: Read More →

A few weeks ago, my husband, a security consultant, met with a city about finding vulnerabilities in their network. When he met with the city’s library director, one of the questions he asked was, “You don’t filter your public computers, do you?” My husband texted me immediately after his meeting to say, “You should be proud of me. I told them to keep their public computers unfiltered.”

There is some irony to this. He is, after all, the same man who used to be responsible for blocking access to Web sites at his former company, but his stance on filtering makes complete sense. His company had an Internet policy for its employees, for one, and he kept constant vigilance to make sure nothing got past the filters that shouldn’t and that innocuous sites were still accessible. His stance is that filters should not be used in a public setting, especially when constant modifications cannot be made, because it infringes on First Amendment rights.

Read More →