Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You Can't Do It Alone: Great Teen Stats

If you work with teens and your library is structured anything like mine, than you are probably the only person in your branch who willingly works with teens.  In my branch, I am the YA Librarian, single.  I plan, prepare and execute programs on my own, for the most part, but have discovered several tricks for getting the rest of the branch staff to help me gather great YA stats.

Motivation
Most YA Librarians operate independently in branches or schools and, for the most part, we tend to enjoy the freedom this gives us.  However, there are times when a single YA Librarian cannot get the job done alone.  The trick to getting the branch staff to assist in Teen Summer Reading comes down to motivation.  Discover something that your staff loves and use it as a reward for certain goals being met.  Example: last year I set a specific goal for Teen SRP registration.  I told the branch staff that, if we got 200 teens registered for SRP, I would bring in chocolate and ice cream cake.  By the end of the summer we had about 230 teens registered.

Interest
If you are lucky, there are likely several staff members in your branch who are willing to help you with Teen Programs that require more adults (like a Lock-In or Scream-In).  If someone expresses interest in a program gauge their interest.  If it seems genuine ask if they'd like to help out sometime.  You will need permission from their supervisor, but this can give you the help you need to pull off larger programs or programs you don't have the expertise to host yourself.  Example: Last summer I wanted to host an Indian Dance & Henna Program.  While I am familiar with and can apply simple henna patterns, I am not qualified to teach any sort of traditional Indian dance.  So I reached out to one of my co-workers, who happens to be Indian, to see if she would be interested in helping with the program.  She was thrilled at the opportunity to share her knowledge and the program was a huge success.

Inter-branch Cooperation
Another way to help boost your YA stats is to reach out to other branches around you and collaborate on programming.  Want to host a Lock-In but don't have the staff you need?  Talk to the nearest YA Librarian at a neighboring branch.  For the last several years I have co-hosted programs ranging from Lock-Ins to Writing Contests with the fabulous YA Librarian at a close branch.  Just remember, if they are willing to come help you run a program, you need to be willing to help them run one too.

The biggest thing to remember when you are working with teens is that you are not in it alone.  There are lots of YA professionals that you can reach out to for ideas, support, and expertise.  Don't be afraid to try something big and don't forget to reach out and ask for help when you need it.

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