Happy February! Here are some interesting happenings, research, and innovation that you might want to share with your patrons. As always, leave comments if you have any suggestions.

  • Programs such as the It Gets Better Project have made teen suicides, especially those related to homophobia, a more pressing issue. But is it reaching middle school-aged teens and tweens? A new study shows that many teens who have made suicide attempts made their first ones before high school, which means new approaches to mental health and wellbeing need to be taken earlier. U.S. News and World Report did a writeup of the study, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
  • If you’re looking for a way to make your programming happen outside of the library, take a note from Katie Glick, a poet who set up the Spontaneous Prose Store, which consisted of her, sitting on a street corner, selling poems. Passersby could offer a monetary donation and Glick composed a poem for them on the spot. If your library hosts a writing group, propose they do this instead of a normal meeting. Or set teens up at different points in the library, having them compose on-the-spot poems for or about other patrons, random books pulled from shelves, or anything else you can think up.
    Rosenbaum, Richard. “Poetry in the Streets: The Spontaneous Prose Store.” Broken Pencil, 53 (2011).
  • I don’t even have a suggestion for this, but it was too interesting not to share. The Telegraph has reported that, in the UK, at least, parents are increasingly deciding not to read fairy tales to their children, because they consider them too scary or outdated for them. That’s striking, considering most people like to talk about how sanitized fairy tales have become over the years. If nothing else, this should spark discussion amongst your colleagues and patrons about that ever-present topic in libraries: censorship.
  • The University of California system is actually considering going tuition-free, Colorlines reports. Students presented a plan to the UC president proposing that, instead of paying tuition, graduates pay a portion of their income for 20 years after graduation, which would actually make the university more money in the long run. Bring this up as a snappy tidbit at college application or SAT workshops, or use it to spark a discussion about the economy and teens’ plans for the future.

Until next month!

About Hannah Gómez

School librarian in Northern California. MA children's literature, MS library and information science (Simmons College). Sometime scholar, sometime reviewer, sometime creative writer, always media-obsessed.

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