Like all good satire, the television show South Park is often thought provoking. The recent episode The Ungroundable hit me’ where I work. In it, the school’s popular students embrace the current vampire craze (Twilight is directly referenced) to the point of wearing black clothes, plastic fangs and drinking Clamato juice as a blood substitute. No one is more horrified and disgusted by this than show’s well established clique of goths. They feel this is an appropriation and debasement of their style. For me, the show raised an immediate question with larger implications; how as a youth librarian, do you cater to both the vampire kids and the goths?

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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. Read More →

There is no shortage of books on youth subcultures. Generally they fall into two types, popular and academic. Many popular works are written by rock journalists with strong editorial biases. Others are written by subcultural participants who also have agendas to push. Scholarly works are more objective but are often aimed at graduate level sociology students. Even if you are really interested in youth sociology these can be hard dry reading. Finding accessible, reasonably objective survey works for a reader who just wants to be a bit more “literate” about youth subcultures can be a challenge, but this book is good start. Read More →