The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way Home… and Some Unexpected Help from My Mother!

We’re on the way back to Boston… (again, not really – I have been home for a week now – but this post covers the return journey.)

This leg of the trip was less structured than the beginning. We’re staying with family (my brother in Ohio) and friends (my friend Katie in Kansas) and my wonderful second family in Rochester, the parents of Maggie Levine, one of the children’s librarians at the main branch of the Boston Public Library.

Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library Teen Space

Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library Teen Space

I also received a surprise phone call from my mom telling me that, while on vacation, she read all my posts. They inspired her to visit the Pitkin County Library in Aspen, Colorado to check out their collection. More ‘ about them later in the post. Continue reading

The Roadtripping Librarian: Austin! and the Surrounding Cities

I’m in Austin!

(Okay not really anymore, I am home now, I couldn’t really write coherently from my iPhone while on the trip…)

In Austin, I was lucky to be able to spend a few day with my friend Jenny and her husband George. Jenny is a former blogger for Forever Young Adult and currently blogs for Writers Out of Bounds. She is working on her first YA novel, so we have a lot in common and a lot of YA to talk about…we’re both hardcore fans of Michael Grant’s Gone series and hadn’t seen each other since before the last book came out.

OutYouth Center for LGBT Teens in Austin

OutYouth Center for LGBT Teens in Austin

While in Austin, I visited three libraries, ate LOTS of BBQ and was lucky enough to meet with Natalia Ornelas, the program coordinator at Out Youth, a nonprofit in Austin that serves LGBT youth. Before I describe my experiences, I want to quickly go over my method of identifying libraries to visit and what I do once I am there. Continue reading

The Roadtripping Librarian: On the Way to Austin

The road trip has begun! It is hard for me to write a ton while I am on the road because I only have my phone but here are my thoughts so far:

1. Texas is really hot. I was expecting the heat, and I was prepared because we just had an awful heat wave in Boston where I live, but Texas is something else entirely. It also didn’t help that I waited outside in the sun for three hours at Franklin’s BBQ for lunch. Although it was totally worth it. Now that I have eaten Texas BBQ I can never go back to what we eat in New England.

2. The libraries I visited on the way to Austin were very varied in their size, collection, set up etc. (no surprise there) but mostly really awesome in their own ways.

I’ve been to eight libraries with plans for a bunch more in the next week or so. All the libraries I’ve visited have had at least three novels on the shelf in their teen collection with LGBT characters and at least one nonfiction title discussing being gay in a positive way. Of those eight libraries, four have had at least ten titles and multiple nonfiction titles (either in a specific teen nonfiction section or in the regular adult nonfiction section.)

Laman Public Library in Little Rock Teen Space

Laman Public Library in Little Rock Teen Space

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The Roadtripping Librarian: Northeast Ohio

I haven’t left for my road trip yet, but I did do a little pre-roadtrip library-browsing in Ohio, while visiting my brother who lives in Oberlin. While there, I visited four local libraries: the Oberlin Public Library, the Lorain Public Library, the Avon Lake Public Library, and the Herrick Public Library in Wellington. As outlined before, I’m checking out their teen rooms, seeing what types of programming they were offering, and reviewing their titles to determine how their collection represented LGBT teens. I’m not looking in these libraries’ OPACs to see if these books might be checked out, or checking to see if they are part of a larger consortium of libraries that might contain these titles; I’m only looking at books that are currently on the shelf.

Oberlin Public Library

Oberlin Public Library


I’m approaching this project as if I were a teen going into my local town library searching for these titles, without any knowledge of how to find them besides looking on the shelf. Obviously, some teens would employ other strategies if they were unable to find certain titles (Interlibrary Loan etc.), but I wanted to experience what most teens would encounter when seeking books for immediate availability.
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The Roadtripping Librarian: A Little Background

Welcome to my first post in a series covering my ten-day road trip through the South. I’m a school library teacher at a private 7-12 school in Dedham, MA, and I am very fortunate to be spending part of my summer visiting libraries across the country. I’ll be looking for design and programming ideas and casually examining teen collections. Most of my trip will take place in the South (Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas), but I did make a quick stop in Northeast Ohio, to visit my brother, after the ALA conference where I examined five different libraries.
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My purpose is examining how different spaces are being set up for teens to access library materials. Do they separate general fiction from nonfiction? Is there a separate fiction section for teens, but nonfiction mixed in with adult nonfiction, and are those labeled or not? Are there separate periodicals and DVDs specifically for teens? Are children and teens lumped together in one shared space? Is there a dedicated teen librarian? My quest is to see how it is really being done from sea to shining sea? Well, sea to sweltering desert (I’ve been told Texas is hot in the summer!)
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