About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.

Don’t Let Them Have All the Fun: Three Things for Desk-Bound Librarians to Do During Annual

Right now, thousands of our colleagues are skittering about Chicago, attending programs, meeting authors, diligently attending to board, committee, and interest group work, and enjoying every open bar event they can find.

But if you’re like me, one of the rising number of people who can’t attend conferences because your travel budget has disappeared or, more sadly, the coworkers who would normally cover your travel no longer have employment, you’re less likely to be pushing through lines for Catching Fire than you are to be breaking up a fight in your Teen Space.

So if you want to wait out the conference craze before sorting through the tweets, blog posts, meeting minutes, selected lists, and live coverage, try one of these things to take a load off and enjoy your time on the homefront. Continue reading

Lessons from the City of Champions

In 2009, only months after the Pittsburgh Steelers won an NFL record sixth Super Bowl, the Penguins won the NHL Stanley Cup with players who–not too long ago–were teens themselves. The win came alongside news that The Economist ranked Pittsburgh America’s most livable city and that President Barack Obama hand-selected Pittsburgh to host the September G20 summit. Pittsburgh’s also been fortunate enough to be seen as a national example for recovery from media outlets like The New York Times and Newsweek.

Indeed, it’s been a banner year for the Steel City. But what does it mean for your library’s teen services? Continue reading

Help Teens Get a Handle on Their Health!

With the weather changing (and changing again, and changing back, etc.) and the adrenaline rush of finals starting to subside, it’s time to think about teen health.

Whether teens have been chronically ill all their life or are just starting to get that weird tingle in the back of their throat, there are reasons to make sure that they get the kind of health care they need. Unfortunately, there are some traps that can keep them from visiting a doctor:

  • No health care - According to the 2007 Census, 11% of all minors are without health coverage. While many teens might take for granted that they can cheaply see a doctor for a stomach ache, it’s sadly not the case for everyone.
  • Busyness and presenteeism – Even if teens have access to health care, they might feel like they don’t have the time — or inclination — to use it. Their parents might be too busy to take them to the doctor for “little things,” or their coaches might tell them to “be a man” and fight through sickness.

A number of great online resources exist to get teens through cold season, as well as any other health issues they might be battling. Of course, no online resource is a good substitute for a doctor, but it is a start. Continue reading

Prom Stories + Alternative Prom Hosting

Every year, around this time, many of America’s high school students start turning their thoughts to one thing: prom.

Prom is a legendary night of gowns, tuxedos, photographs, limousines, coursages, spiked punch, romance, late-night hotel parties, and figuring out where in the world you are when you wake up the next morning. (If you don’t believe me, read Brian Sloan’s A Really Nice Prom Mess.)

At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I never went to prom, but I sure did hear lots of stories about it. Some may have been real, some may have been imagined, but it was all fascinating. Continue reading

25 Classic Albums Teens Still Love

The decades may be gone, but many of today’s teens still have an affinity for the albums that for generations have carried a cult following in America’s high schools. Here are 25 time-tested albums that you can share with the teens you serve, culled by teens at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

The Beatles
Abbey Road (1969)

You can’t pick just one, but The Beatles’ last album to be recorded vies for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the most iconic cover. It also contains a nice array of songwriting contributions from all four members of the band, whether in Lennon and McCartney’s moody “Come Together” or George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” Mak Delaney’s Pepperland is a touching teen novel you can use to follow up with any Beatles-loving teen.
Continue reading

Katie & Joseph’s YALSA Vlog Ep. 1: You Can’t Spell Intellectual Freedom without “Teen”

From time to time, YALSA teen blogger Katie and I will get together to have a heart-to-heart talk about issues affecting teen librarians from both a teen and librarian’s perspective. First up: what does intellectual freedom mean to the teens who use our library?

For more information about teens and what you can do to be an advocate of intellectual freedom, please visit the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom or YALSA’s own Intellectual Freedom Resources.

~Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

Top Albums of 2008

Pop ruled 2008. From indie to hip-hop to dance to punk, no genre was immune to pop’s grasp. Even pop got poppier! In no particular order, here are my picks for the must-have albums for teen music collections in 2008.

Any additions or insight? Please add your thoughts in the comments.

Tha Carter III
Lil Wayne

After saturating the rap game with mixtapes and guest appearances, Lil Wayne (aka Weezy F. Baby)’s opus became the most anticipated album of 2008. This bizarre, disjointed joyride takes you from club bangers like “Lollipop” and “A Milli” to songs like “Phone Home,” in which Weezy raps through an alien voice filter. There will be no shortage of interest in this album for several years, at least, if Lil Wayne’s casual swagger is any indication.
Continue reading

Joseph’s Lexically Limited Review of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Late in the movie, Norah tells Nick about the Judaic concept of tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase that translates to “repairing the world.” It turns out to be the perfect phrase to chart the course of two characters who begin the film broken but find solace in one wild New York night. [view trailer] Continue reading

Tales from the Land of Teeny Boppers

I’d imagine that for most librarians, the thought of several thousand screaming middle schoolers is more a nightmare than a dream come true. But for pop idols Jesse McCartney and Jordin Sparks, each hysterical 12 year-old is the bread and butter of their professional life. Such is the land of teeny boppers, a cultural and marketing phenomenon of pop music, fashion, and celebrity aimed at adolescent girls. Continue reading