When I started as a librarian, I wanted to help all libraries reach out to teens in meaningful ways. I’ve been at my job for a little over a year now, and while I still have a long way to go, I’m proud of some of the things I’ve done this past year to help the teens own teen services at my branch.

Working with teens takes trust, a caring heart and a willingness to listen to new things. While I would love to have a huge teen space in every branch with daily programs and amazing collections, I’ve found that teen services is more about relationships than the size of your collection, the amount of your programs, or even the amount of space dedicated to teens at your library. Read More →

Last week on the MacBreak Weekly podcast roundtable members briefly discussed a little-known fact about MacBook USB ports. As I listened I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, this is why L Lee had audio troubles this the semester.) When I had a chance, I emailed L Lee the information I’d heard on the podcast, and he agreed what they talked about could very well have been the problem.

Thinking about this I realized, once again, how serendipitous information gathering and the exchange of information with others can be. I also realized how important it is, as a librarian, to really listen to what others say so that these opportunities for serendipitous information exchange can actually take place.

Read More →

Earlier today, as I was waiting for a meeting to start, I found myself eavesdropping on a group of librarians who were lamenting the fact that the students they served only wanted to use Google. As I listened in on the conversation a couple of things came to mind.

  • First, I thought, why is this conversation going on AGAIN? Aren’t librarians finally at the point where they realize Google is here to stay, we have to accept it, and our job is to figure out ways to help teens use it in the best way possible?
  • Then I thought, are librarians such a judgmental lot? Are we always judging the teens who come into the library and not simply accepting them for who they are? Do we focus too much on what we judge to be the best in materials, searching, etc.? Is this the reason why a conversation on this topic STILL takes place?

Read More →

fly on the wall  by e. lockhart fly on the wall is a three part story about Gretchen Yee’s sudden insight into the actions of boys. How? She’s turned into a fly on the boy’s locker room, of course. :3

And who uses the guys’ locker room? Why her crush, OF COURSE. And those other guys. The jocks/stoners. And some more guys. Like the gay ones. Well. She gets more than she bargained for, but it all comes together. Read More →

Okaaaaayy….since I’m bored and this is supposed to be a blog for a library and hence a library means books and I’m a teen and I read books why not babble on about new books/old books that I adore?

Right, done with the justification for random BLAH that suddenly is going to pop up on the blog.
boyfriend list coverthe boyfriend list by e. lockhart (LOLZ.), and the sequel

the boy book by e. lockhartthe boy book

These two (and possibly more) books document Ruby “Roo” Oliver’s unfortunate interactions and escapades with boys/guys/boyfriends/possible boyfriends/guys she’d love to have as boyfriends, and one “rebound” boyfriend (you know, the guy-you-go-out-with-for-one-date-because-your-boyfriend-just-broke-up-with-you dude.)

Read More →

In this podcast Linda Braun talks with Carrie Bryniak and Sarah Cornish Debraski, co-chairs of the 2008 President’s Program, about the upcoming program titled Between Home & School: The Teen Third Space The program will be held during the 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.


You can read more about third space:

To contribute a snapshot of your library or MySpace for use in the program slideshow send an email to aorr@pvld.org.

This is the first podcast from the 2008 Teen Tech Week committee. The podcast includes two informative interviews with library workers who run successful blogs. Youth services librarian Crystal Niedzwiadek interviews Stephanie Iser about her Alternative Teen Services Blog and gaming expert Eli Neiburger about AADL’s Gaming Blog. These library workers will inform and inspire you to dive in and try your hand at blogging with your teens!


Topics that are covered:

Dear teens,

You’ll probably never read this post, but that’s okay. I just wanted to write because I’ve been thinking about you lately. Today, Pittsburgh’s loomed with overcast skies and coated us in drizzle. I had some tofurkey with friends earlier, and now I’m back home on the couch, taking stock of my life. You see, I recently read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest it. It’s an evocative–if not emotionally excruciating–account of what happens to a family after an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it out of orbit and toward the Earth. Natural disasters, extreme temperatures, and flu outbreaks ravage civilization, killing countless people across the globe. Meanwhile, the main character Miranda documents it all: the mad rush for food, the volcanic ash blocking out the sun, and the knowledge that anyone, no matter how much you love them, is at risk for death.

It’s a lot to think about. And it got me thinking that disaster preparedness isn’t just having the food, fuel, and tools you’ll need to survive. It’s about making sure that the people you appreciate are reminded that you appreciate them, because–well–you can’t predict the future.

That’s why I wanted to write this post. Because you, teens, are people I appreciate.

Never mind the sensationalized news reports. Never mind the heaps of bitter blog posts about you from librarians that don’t “get it.” Every day, I wake up inspired to serve you. I appreciate your energy. I admire your courage. I wonder at your fortitude. The challenge to hold your attention has had a momentous impact on library services across the board, and has kept me striving to keep up with innovations in how I deliver information to you.

Your questioning about our policies, services, and collections helps me constantly reevaluate what I do and why I do it. Sometimes, I have a good answer for you. Other times, it means I have an opportunity to improve the library. You give me somebody I can talk with about cutting edge literature.

I appreciate that you’re so willing to share. I appreciate your engagement, your care, and your concern for the world around you. I appreciate that no matter what you ended up doing while here (and how much trouble you may or may not have gotten for it), you at one point thought, “You know, the library is a place I want to go.”

So thank you, teens. Thank you for the weeks of long hours, stress, and hard work. Thank you for the excitement. Thank you for the exhaustion. And, perhaps above all, thank you allowing me to never hesitate when answering the question “How do you like your job?”

What else is there to say but “I love it!”

So while you may never read this, I just wanted to put it out there. I hope that the sentiment seeps into the ether, so that when you enter your library, you know that at least one librarian, somewhere, really appreciates you. And that thanks to the efforts of people from Margaret A. Edwards and beyond, there’s an awful lot more of us where that came from.

With gratitude,
Joseph Wilk

P.S. — While on the subject of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Debbie Reese’s blog American Indians in Children’s Literature (see http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com for more information). Debbie’s been a critical voice in reminding us that the American Indian Movement is still alive and relevant, and that there’s a lot to consider when we’re presented with teen books featuring American Indian characters or themes. It’s no secret that many people celebrate Thanksgiving based on historical myths, and that many other myths continue to affect people’s perceptions of American Indians. Debbie’s blog will help you think critically about and untangle those notions, wherever they might exist in the literature that we promote to teens. Thanks, Debbie, for the resources! For answers to more questions about materials, services, and resources, check out the American Indian Library Association.

A few hours ago I received an email from a library school student that included the following:

I’m on the board of our small public library – we were doing a goal setting exercise – I brought up enticing more teenagers to use this library (they don’t). I could not believe the negative reaction that I got – It was a why do we need that generation here kind of reaction.”

Every time I hear a story like this I feel so sad. Every day I am reminded of the great progress we’ve made in guaranteeing that teens are supported in their libraries. But, then again, at least once a week I’m reminded of how far we have to go.

I ask myself, how does a community get to the point where they think that it’s OK to say no to teens in the library? I wonder, how did some libraries get to the point where they think if they say no to teens today when those same teens become adults they will come back to the library? (By the way, those teens should never return to any library that treats them that way.)

If you encounter a library, librarian, or community member who thinks it’s OK to say no to teens, what can you say to turn things around? Will it work to:

  • Explain that the teen is a future taxpayer and that it’s important to serve the teen today so they will vote for your budget tomorrow?
  • Talk about the developmental assets and the role libraries play in helping teens grow-up successfully?
  • Focus on the library as a place where teens can learn how to use technology tools in positive ways so they know how to be smart and safe while online?
  • Reflect on the ways in which libraries can serve teens through youth participation programs?

These are of course just a few of the ways to help circumvent the negative attitudes that sometimes still exist when it comes to teen services in libraries. If you have other ideas or best practice suggestions, submit a comment for this post.

In this podcast Linda Braun talks with Kim Bolan about library spaces for teens. The conversation includes discussion of:

  • Technology in teen space
  • Selling fellow staff and administration on the importance of teen space
  • Current trends in teen space
  • Working with teens in creating library teen spaces

You can learn more about Kim and teen spaces on her blog – The Indie Librarian.