Bending the Rules

Sometimes I furtively drink coffee at the circulation desk.

I’ve seen students photocopying school textbooks, and I’ve looked the other way.

More than once, I’ve kept the library open well past five o’clock–without kicking any students out or writing the extra minutes on my timesheet.

In short, I’m a library outlaw.

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28 Days of Advocacy #24 – Radical Trust

Once you are able to find support, funding, spaces, community connections, etc for teen services in your library’s structure you might now look for ways for teens to be involved in the everyday decisions and workload.’  We can talk about supporting the wants and needs of teenagers forever, but the next step is actually using them as a resource (a very valuable resource) in the day-to-day functions of the library, beyond shelving books and preparing crafts. Continue reading

Preventing Dating Violence

“Hiding the bruises and the hurt Paul inflicts on her is harder than getting straight A’s. But Paul’s happiness soon becomes more important to Johanna than her own. More important than her relationship with her parents and friends. More important than her grades, her safety, and her future.”-Things Change by Patrick Jones (Walker & Company, 2004)

Sound like anyone you may know?

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Our Students, Ourselves

Librarians’ hearts were aflutter yesterday as the New York Times reported on school librarians in their Future of Reading column. Motoko Richs’ article “In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update” features a day in the life of Stephanie Rosalia, a librarian at Public School 225 in Brooklyn. The piece marvels at how she does not simply stamp books and shush students, but rather teaches information literacy. It rose quickly to the #1 slot as yesterday’s most emailed NYT article.

My Twitter network was quite active as we traded links to various responses, and, regrettably, the comments on the article itself. Most dismaying was comment #24 from “suenoir,” a reader who identified herself as a school board president from King County, WA and who felt that school libraries & librarians are superfluous in the face of the Internet and public libraries. She commented: Continue reading

Saving Money During a Bad Economy

It can be disconcerting to read about the state of the economy. There is lots of appropriate concern about what the current economic conditions will mean for libraries of all types. Happily for me, the other day I had a conversation with Connie Urquhart, Teen Services Coordinator at the Fresno County Public Library, that got me thinking about ways to turn the negative of budget cuts into a positive opportunity for trying new things at the library, making change happen, and demonstrating that teen librarians are aware of the importance of spending time and money wisely. Continue reading

Selling Surprise Experiences

There’s a new organization on the block in New York City which officially opens in April called SurpriseIndustries.’  The description about the organization on their web site reads, “sells surprise experiences in NYC. It could be anything from a deep tissue massage to a fire eating class, but you won’t know for sure till you get there.”

You can probably guess where this is going. But just think . . .
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28 Days of Advocacy #8 – How a Teen Services Vision can be a Solid Advocacy Tool

Does your organization have a teen services vision? If so, great! If not, it may be time to think about one.

A teen services vision can have a variety of applications including defining partnerships with community agencies and also solidifying teen services within your organization.’  If you have a teen services vision, drafted and agreed upon by teen services staff, you have a statement
that can:

  • Act as a guide for teen services priority and decision-making.
  • Act as a clear indicator that teen services staff speak with one voice and has a vision beyond the immediate work of teen services. Continue reading

Where are All the Good Female Characters Hiding? Are They Under My Bed or Something?

I often find it annoying that, while I’m searching for manga at the library, I overhear other patrons talking about just how awesome and thing-I-am-not-allowed-to-say-in-polite-company-kicking their favorite male characters are. As a girl otaku (manga and anime fan, for the uninitiated) I find this rather disappointing. Now, I’m not saying that male characters are bad (you won’t find a huger Edward Elric fan in all of Pittsburgh than me. Well, probably) but where’s the gender equality? Way back in the early days of manga, Osamu Tezuka (yes, THAT Tezuka, the one they call the God of Manga?!) revolutionized the hero archetype with his comic Pricess Knight, featuring a heroine who could handle a sword just as well as any man. Where’s that spirit in today’s comics, I ask? Continue reading

Teen Programming: Basic Steps for the Overwhelmed

If you are new to young adult services getting started can be daunting. The first step is mental. You must have a clear, professional, and personal understanding of why you are developing a teen program.

Professionally; pleasure reading and library use decline during the teen years. Traditionally we have reclaimed these lost patrons when they have children of their own but the changing face of the information, education, and entertainment world may change this. Young adult programs are needed to help teens think of libraries as relevant to their lives, so that we don’t lose them as patrons in the first place. Continue reading