Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What They Didn't Teach in Library School: Promotion & Programming

'What They Didn't Teach In Library School' is a series of guest-authored posts, written by YA Librarians from around the country, highlighting situations or skills that were never addressed in formal Library School, but that are integral to librarianship.
Promotion & Programming by Nick Madsen

How do we keep this crazy ball rolling?
For those that have been paying attention to these guest posts, you might have noticed that mine came out a little bit late. Ironically, I got caught in the tidal wave of programs this week, and completely spaced that I was the guest blogger. My bad!

Now before I start giving my ideas, please know that I have absolutely no answers for you. I click on pretty much anything that has promotion and programming ideas in the title or tags. But, even though I get some ideas from these posts, it still doesn't solve the quintessential problem; how do I ensure that my programs are vibrant, engaging, and growing?

Short Answer: I believe that each library, each librarian, and each program will have a very different answer to that quintessential problem, so just keep working on that perfect combination, and then keep mixing so it stays awesome.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the sheer number of programs that I have to plan, as well as the diversity programming needs of the teens I serve.  What I've found when it comes to program ideas and planning that the trick is to narrow it down!  Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Keep Calm and Plan a Program.

"There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony."
When trying to reach as many teens as possible, try a rotating schedule with varying types of programs. For older elementary and middle school students my rotation has consisted of the following programs: Games (video & board), Science Experiments, Cooking, and Crafts.  Our high school teens have different wants and needs, so their programs have bounced from Next-Gen Advisory Team (our Teen Advisory Board) to TeenBookWorms (our book group), movie nights, and special events like a Zombie Prom or Hunger Games Party.

"Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship."
Coming up with new program ideas can be difficult, so here are some things to try to get that ol' imagination flowing:

  • Ask yourself 'what did I like as a kid?'.
  • Would something "old school" work for your group?
  • Which video games or apps are popular right now? Notice that Angry Birds is huge? Try a Life-Size, Live-Action Angry Birds game.
  • Ask your peeps
  • Notice that you have absolutely no ideas? Commandeer ideas from Pinterest boards, blogs or craft sites and adapt them for your students.*

It’s completely true that most people don’t know what they want until they see it. But, asking for input and letting your participants choose from a couple different options has worked for me. If they’re excited about it, they’re more than likely to come, right?

Program Promotion - Don’t Be Discouraged

Working with teens often feels like herding cats.  Sometimes you've planned a really great program, promoted it from the rooftops and no one shows.  Or even worse, only one or two teen show.  So, what’s the trick to getting them to show up? I think it is about building relationships with your teens and  doing your job to the utmost.  Don't be so concerned with the outcomes or the statistics. There are bosses and boards that want amazing programs, high program attendance, and consistency. But consistency and teen programming do not go hand-in-hand.  Don't worry about the numbers, focus on relationships with your teens and the statistics will work themselves out.

Blast It All Over
Everyone tells us that about 10% of the people you tell about a program will actually show up.  It is likely that the percentage is even lower for teens.  If that’s the case, you need to reach as many people as possible. Get your program information onto social media, school newsletters, school newspapers, school video announcements, home school newsletters, email lists, text alerts, Foursquare, local business windows and bulletin boards, and obviously all over your library.

But, while you’re doing all of that, don’t forget about connecting with people one on one. I can’t count the times that a program is saved from obscurity because one teacher got excited about it.  So, if you’re a school librarian talk to your public librarian, and if you’re a public librarian talk to your school librarian. Visit the PTAs at the schools.  Say "YES" when a school asks you to read The Lorax at their next assembly. Visit that classroom with your science experiments and keep following up with the after school group that likes you. Talk to that friend that has a son or daughter that could be coming to your fabulous program. See if a Youth Group will let you mention your programs during their game night.

You are the brand!  It all boils down to one thing, your programs are awesome because you are awesome. You are the brand that makes these programs work! So keep working, keep trying, and keep connecting.

About Nick Madsen
Nick Madsen is the Young Adult Librarian at the Community Library Network at Hayden. When he isn’t filling-in for a storytime, blowing things up, working on his MLIS (hopefully finishing this fall) or chatting about everything or nothing after a program, you will most likely find him hanging out with family and friends, playing ultimate frisbee or basketball, ballroom dancing, or helping at his church. You can find him on Facebook as Nick Madsen or at Next-Gen Adults of the Community Library Network, on Twitter as @CLN4NextGen, or his library blog at

Want more posts on issues not covered in Library School?
Check out Teen Librarian Toolbox's series Behind the Scenes @ the Library.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Monster Giveaway!

will receive 5 handmade Book Monster Bookmarks!

All you have to do is tell me what kinds of YA Program Ideas 
you'd like to see on Lunanshee's Lunacy. :D

Monday, March 25, 2013

Library After Dark: Lock-Ins 101

Lock-Ins are extremely popular with younger teens (6th-8th graders) who love the idea of being in the library when it is closed to the public.  This program is guaranteed to boost your numbers and draw attention from the community when marketed correctly.  However, the thought of entertaining a group of teens locked into the same space for hours can be a daunting.  Make no mistake, Lock-Ins are not for the faint of heart but, when properly planned, are an awesome program that your teens will beg for over and over.

  • 10 to 15 you can run activities one at a time
  • 15-30 you will need multiple stations for activities that can happen at the same time
  • 30-50 need multiple stations and plan for some activities to run in multiple “flights” 
Staff-to-Teen Ratios
  • 10 to 15 teens = at least 2 staff
  • 15 to 30 teens = at least 4 staff
  • 30 to 50 teens = at least 7 staff 
Lock-Ins can run for any designation of time - 4hrs, 8hrs, 10hrs - it's completely up to you, but will depend on number of staff and/or volunteers you have available.

To Keep in Mind When Choosing a Date:
  • Are others available to help?
  • Is the branch open the next day? If so, what time does it open?
  • Are teens available that weekend? (Especially important if planned during the school year - look at major sports games, homecoming, prom dates etc.)
  • If hosting an overnight lock-in you will need to let your Facilities department know & get permission for an after hours event. You also need to make sure they remember to keep the A/C or heater on.
  1. Signed Permission Form to register and/or participate in after-hours program. (I recommend that you have the Legal Department review form for insurance/liability purposes.)
  2. Teens must sign a Teen Agreement before participating.
  3. Teens must be between 12-18 years old and a current student in grades 6-12.
  4. Teens agree to stay for duration of lock-in. (If you have teens leaving at all hours, it becomes very difficult to keep track everybody's location.)
  5. No outside food or drink allowed (unless for religious/medical reasons).
  6. Parents should inform staff if a teen has any medications/dietary restrictions/allergies.
  7. Have Photo Release on file (unless parent/guardian will not sign) so that photos can be used for promotional purposes at a later date.
  8. Parents must sign their teens IN and OUT! This is a good way for you to have the chance to physically remind them about pick-up time. You also can determine that the adult leaving with a teen is approved by the teen's parents.
Teens munch for most of the night, so I recommend having a table set up and stocked with snacks and drinks for the duration of the event.
  • Pizza for dinner (all night lock-in)
  • Chips
  • Fruit
  • Cookies
  • Water, Lemonade, Sports Drinks (I tend to avoid soda since the teens are hyper without caffeine.)
  • Donuts or Breakfast Tacos & Juice (for breakfast)
If you want a Lock-In to run smoothly you need to plan a wide variety of programs to keep your teen occupied.  When teens get bored, mischief and bad behavior ensue.
  • Movie Room 
    • You should have a Movie Room with films playing all night
    • This can also be the room where teen can sleep if they want (don’t expect many to sleep).
    • Teens can leave their things in this room while doing other things
    • Lights should be dim but not completely turned off
    • An adult should be stationed in this room at all times
  • Relay Races 
    • These are a good way to burn off some energy, promote interaction and break down any cliques that may exist when the Lock-In starts
    • Relay Ideas
      • Clothes Horse
      • Pea and a Straw
      • Beach Ball Between the Knees
      • Bunny Hop
      • Mummy Wrap
  • Other Energy Burning Activities
    • Red Light/Green Light, Freeze Tag, Simon Says
    • Ultimate Twister (add knees and elbows to the spin card)
    • Ninja
    • Giant Jenga
  • Video Arcade
    • Variety is the key but also have a few staples
    • While other games were played for a shorter times, Guitar Hero was an all-night event
  • Craft Station
    • Decorate a Pillowcase
    • Sew a Dream Pillow
    • Make a Journal
    • Altered Books
    • Jewelry/Beads
    • Design the Perfect Teen Space
  • Mini Golf
    • Need: putt putt clubs, golf balls
    • Create course using library materials i.e. books, furniture, craft supplies
    • Person with highest score gets prize
  • Board Games
    • Midnight Monopoly Tournament
    • Giant Sequence
  • Ghost Walk/Haunted House
    • Take the teens through the library telling them spooky stories about the building.  If you don’t have any real, make it up.
    • Supplies 
      • Glow Sticks for teens (lights should be off)
      • Small flashlight for leader 
    • Have volunteers (staff & older teens) work on creating a haunted house in a designated space.  I use the second floor of my library which the teens are restricted from accessing during the Lock-In.  If you don't have a second floor try to find another space that is separate from the rest of the Lock-In.
    • If you have a large number of teens you will need to do more than one Ghost Walk
  • YA Lit. Trivia 
    • Create a Trivia Game using YA Lit as the base for the questions
    • How Well Do Your Teens Know: Twilight, Percy Jackson, Gallagher Girls, Cirque du Freak etc. Prizes for winners.
Questions?  Feel free to leave them in the comment section and I'll respond as soon as possible.

Further Reading: Teen Librarian Toolbox has also done a couple posts on library Lock-Ins

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: 'Walls Within Walls' by Maureen Sherry

After their father strikes it rich as a video game developer, the Smithfork siblings are forced to move away from their cozy Brooklyn home to a stuffy apartment in wealthy Manhattan. CJ, Brid and Patrick are, understandably, unhappy about their new life in a strange apartment, at new private schools and surrounded by spoiled rich kids. But when they stumble across clues to a decades-old treasure hunt left by the original owner of the apartment, things start to look up. Now the kids are on a race around New York City to find clues leading to the treasure, uncover secrets long buried, and overcome their own challenges.

I approached this book, the current pick for a tween book club I co-host, hoping for something similar to The Westing Game or From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - a good old-fashioned mystery. Unfortunately, what promised to be a fun, adventurous treasure hunt across New York City was ultimately crushed under the weight of poorly written sentences, one-dimensional characters, and an implausible mystery.

One of this book’s biggest flaws was the amateur writing style and unbelievable dialogue. First novels are always tricky (even the first Harry Potter novel is messily written), but I still found it difficult to wade through the poorly constructed sentences in order to focus on the mystery. The dialogue, in particular, was jarring and unrealistic. In the acknowledgements, I believe, Sherry references listening in on the conversations of her own children and their friends and building her dialogue stylistically from what she heard. I don’t have children of my own, but the kids I do know are far more interesting, animated and age-appropriate than the Smithfork siblings. Dialogue should be a window into each character’s personality, but the dialogue in Walls Within Walls was flat and interchangeable.

This novel also suffers from one-dimensional characters. Part of this can be attributed to the poorly utilized third person omniscient point of view, which allows readers to see bits and pieces of all the characters, but doesn't seem to give them any depth. At the end of the novel, main characters still lacked real personality, and secondary characters were merely cardboard cutouts present only to spout long informational paragraphs or further a plot point.

Children are incredibly dynamic and I think Sherry missed a real opportunity to tap into the quirky things they say and do. Instead of three siblings like those in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, who are cleverly drawn with separate behaviors and interests, the Smithfork siblings are carbon copies of each other. A more unique grouping would have given the book added personality and wider appeal.

There is always some suspension of disbelief necessary when reading a mystery novel, particularly those involving children. Why would a child with limited knowledge and life experience be able to solve a mystery that has stumped hundreds of professionals? Usually I can overlook that and accept the plot for what it is. Not so this time. In Walls Within Walls, it is specifically mentioned that people have studied the apartment many times over with infrared technology and other fancy equipment, all of which should have been more than capable of finding the clues the Smithfork kids stumbled across so easily.

Even engaging the necessary suspension of disbelief required for juvenile mysteries, I still thought the mystery was inconsistent. Tying poetry to architecture is an interesting concept, perfect for a setting as rich in history and culture as New York City, but it wasn't always exciting. I did like how Sherry eschewed some of the more well-known tourist attractions and showed readers another side of the city but, on the whole, I think the city could have been a stronger component. I also felt like some of the clues didn't logically lead to the destination the characters thought they should. Some points in the mystery just didn't make sense (including the final destination), and the credibility of the story suffered for it.

The first book in a new series, Walls Within Walls had the potential to be an exciting adventure story, but ultimately could fails to deliver on its promise. However, this opinion is not a popular one, so give this book to your kids, who will probably love it, but approach it yourself with extreme caution.

Book Source: Local library
Reviewer: Kimberly

Recommended Ages: 9+

Recommended for Readers of:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

8 Oldies But Goodies: Graphic Novels & Manga for Modern Teens

There are few things in this world as frustrating as waiting for the next volume of a current comic or manga to release.  It's like being cut off from finishing a book in the middle of a chapter and often requires a wait of a month or more.  Teens love graphic novels (for obvious reasons) but often have a hard time waiting patiently for the next volume to make it onto library shelves.

Since there's not much more annoying than a whiny teenager, I've created a list of older ("classic") graphic novels that are completely finished (or have at least 10 volumes) to keep your teens happy while they wait.  Enjoy!

Title: The Arrival
Series: n/a
Author: Shaun Tan
Volumes: 1
Status: Completed
Where to Get It: Available at many book and comic retailers
Recommended Ages: All

Synopsis:  This graphic novel reads like a silent film following the experiences of a traveler who arrives and makes his way in a new, unfamiliar place.  *One of the most poignant and beautiful graphic novels I've read.
Title: The Grand Quest a.k.a. Fire & Flight
Series: ElfQuest
Authors: Wendy & Richard Pini
Volumes: 18+
Status: Completed (The Final Quest is ongoing as a web comic)
Where to Get It: Out of print, but can view series  for free here.
Recommended Ages: 16+ for sensuality, adult situations & some nudity

Synopsis: After betrayal leaves the Wolfriders stranded in a foreign land, Cutter must ensure the survival of his tribe while they search for a new home.  But this journey leads to an adventure the elves could never have imagined.
Title: Legends in Exile
Series: Fables
Author: Bill Willingham
Volumes: 18+
Status: Ongoing
Where to Get It: Published through Vertigo (an imprint of DC Comics). Available at many book and comic retailers.
Recommended Ages: 16+ for sensuality, adult situations & some nudity

Synopsis: Characters from folklore have been driven from their homeland and are settled in the community of Fabletown in the busy metropolis of New York City.  Willingham has re-imagined familiar characters and created a multi-layered, dynamic series with a truly epic scope.
Title: Hikaru no Go, Volume 1
Series: Hikaru no Go
Author: Yumi Hotta
Volumes: 23
Status: Completed
Where to Get It: Can be found in many book and comic retailers.
Recommended Ages: 10+ mild language

Synopsis: Middle school student Hikaru discovers an ancient Go board in his grandfather's attic, only to find that it is haunted by the spirit of a long-dead Go Master. Now the ghost won't leave Hikaru alone until he learns to play Go!
Title: Hana Kimi, Volume 1 (a.k.a Hanazakari no Kimitachi e)
Series: Hana Kimi
Author: Hisaya Nakajo
Volumes: 23
Status: Completed
Where to Get It: Published in the US by Viz Media. New 3-in-1 editions available.
Recommended Ages: 15+ gender-bending, romance, mild sensuality

Synopsis: Mizuki Ashiya has such a crush on Japanese track star Izumi Sano that she decides to move to Japan, disguise herself as a boy, and enroll in Sano's all-boys boarding school.  Much gender confusion and hilarity ensues.
Title: Mars, Volume 1
Series: Mars
Author: Fuyumi Soryo
Volumes: 15
Status: Completed
Where to Get It: Out of Print. Can be found online at sites such as MangaReader or individual sellers on Amazon.
Recommended Ages: 16+ sexual abuse, rape, romance, adult situations

Synopsis: Bad boy Rey and gentle, artistic Kira are worlds apart in personalities, but may just be perfect for each other. When Rey rescues Kira from the hands of her sleazy art teacher, Kira finds the courage to ask Rey to model for her. However, as their relationship blooms, the jealousy of an upperclassman and dark secrets from Kira's past come back to haunt them.
Title: Mr. Stuffins
Series: n/a
Authors: Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes
Volumes: 1
Status: Completed
Where to Get It: Multiple book and comic retailers
Recommended Ages: 12+ mild language, spy action, violence

Synopsis: An A.I. spy personality ends up loaded into a Teddy-Ruxpin-like stuffed animal who, when powered up, believes he has a mission to complete that is critical to national security. *Make sure to read the tweets at the end!
Title: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 1
Series: Sailor Moon
Authors: Naoko Takeuchi
Volumes: 12 (as of this post 8 volumes available)
Status: Ongoing
Where to Get It: Kodansha Comics is re-releasing the Sailor Moon manga as a 12-volume set in celebration of Sailor Moon's 20th anniversary.
Recommended Ages: 12+

Synopsis: Usagi Tsugino and her friends may seem like your average high school students, but they each have a secret identity as supernatural protectors of Earth!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kick-Ass Femmes in YA Literature - Part 2

Finding strong, independent female characters in popular literature can be difficult, but there are some Ladies of the Pages that do the female gender proud:

Cammie of Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Book one of the Gallagher Girl series

Cammie is a second generation Gallagher Girl attending the prestigious Gallagher Academy - which just happens to be a training facility for teenage spies.  She and her classmates excel at tailing, hand-to-hand combat and code cracking, but Cammie's special talent is for blending into the background.  She prides herself on not being noticed.  So when a boy from the local town actually does notice her, Cammie is stunned.  Could he be the boy of her dreams? Perhaps.  But falling in love is difficult when your trying to uncover a national conspiracy, keep your grades up and keep your mom, the super-spy, in the dark.

Traits: Loyal, Intelligent, Friendly
Pressia of Pure by Julianna Baggott

The Detonations destroyed the world as it was; what has survived is utterly changed from the Before.  Groupies roam the streets turning their many eyes in search of victims, OSR takes anyone over the age of 16 to be either soldier or cannon-fodder, and altered strange amalgamations of animal, plant and mineral wait for the unwary.  Above the turmoil of the outside sits the Dome, a haven where the Pures where protected from the blasts and where they wait for the Earth to renew itself.  Pressia has just turned 16 and the OSR is coming for her; but she does not want to kill or be killed and, in running, puts herself on an even more dangerous path.  Click here for full review.

Traits: Kind, Thoughtful, Resourceful, Determined
Sunday of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and, in a land where magic abounds, this can mean many things.  But Sunday has lived all her life in the shadow of her older sisters experiencing none of their adventures except vicariously through the stories.  Sunday loves stories, hearing them, collecting them, creating her own and writing them down in her magical never-ending journal.  But Sunday never tells stories, over time she has discovered that her tales have an unfortunate habit of coming true, so she contents herself with her journal and her dreams.  Until one day she befriends an enchanted frog in the Wood and unknowingly sets her own story in motion.  For full review click here.

Traits: Loyal, Creative, Kind
Aislinn of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

The fey realm gets a bit darker in this urban fantasy.  Aislinn has been raised by three rules: don't stare at invisible fairies; don't speak to invisible fairies; and don't ever attract fairies attention.  But those rules will not keep her safe from Keenan, the Summer King, who has spent the last 900 years searching for the one girl capable of becoming his Summer Queen.  Now Aislinn faces an impossible choice: give up her freedom (and possibly her life) to become Keenan's Queen, or watch the world and the people she loves descend into unending Winter.

Traits: Fierce, Determined, Self-Possessed
Cleo of Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

For a hundred years magic, the lifeblood of the three realms of Mytica, has been fading, slowly killing the land and driving two of the three kingdoms into desperate straits.  Cleo, Jonas, Lucia and Magnus soon discover that the actions of a single person can change the course of history and determine a nation's fate.

Traits: Loving, Passionate, Strong-Willed

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: 'Eighth Grade Bites: A Graphic Novel' by Heather Brewer

Vladimir Tod is just trying to get by as a normal teenager who doesn't suffer from any vampiric inclinations.  He keeps his head down, eats peanut butter and blood jelly sandwiches and hangs with his best (and only) friend, Henry.  But there's a problem - Vlad actually does have Nosferatu-like tendencies; he inherited them from his father who really was a vampire.  When a new teacher who seems more than passingly familiar with the supernatural comes to town, Vlad's very existence is threatened.

This graphic novel is based on Brewer's best selling The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod novels which spawned a companion series, The Slayer Chronicles. As with most graphic novel adaptations of full-length novels, I was disappointed by Eighth Grade Bites: A Graphic Novel; it felt shallow and rather empty and lacked the introspection and individuality of the text novel.  Tony Lee, who adapted the text to graphic novel format, has stripped the characters and story-lines down to bare bones while the illustrator, Julia Land, seems to have phoned in her drawings.

The entire graphic novel is flat and somewhat confusing since many of the characters are drawn in such a similar way.  The plot, what's left of it, is jumbled and I suspect that people who have not read the novel will be very confused at the end of the graphic novel.  While I highly recommend Heather Brewer's novels, I cannot say the same for the graphic adaptation.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 12+
Recommended for Readers of:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Three Book Giveaway

Break My Heart
1,000 Times
by Daniel Waters
Falling For You
by Lisa Schroeder
Poison Princess
by Kresley Cole

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What They Didn't Teach in Library School: Adapt or Perish

'What They Didn't Teach In Library School' is a series of guest-authored posts, written by YA Librarians from around the country, highlighting situations or skills that were never addressed in formal Library School, but that are integral to librarianship.

Adapt or Perish: Culture of a Library for 21st Century Learning
by Naomi Bates
School libraries today are enjoying a time of changing boundaries and imagination-fueled innovation. No longer are we bound by bound pages, four walls, or even a physical campus.  Outreach to students, parents, and administrators can be found on a wide variety of devices and the Library’s presence can spread via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, websites, and apps in mere seconds.  While being able to share information at lightning speeds is a wonderful, to truly be a 21st Century Library, a librarian has to look beyond the platform, beyond the devices and dig into the meat of serving students in the 21st Century.

Students today have grown up in a world where technology is constantly shifting and changing the way we work and play.  Today's students are assimilated to this ever-changing tide of social and educational output and are often far ahead of their instructors when it comes to the newest technology trend. With school work focusing more on collaborative learning, libraries must adapt their traditional roles to the 21st Century to ensure they align with the attitudes and expectation of their patrons. It’s about culture more than anything else.  Culture is a chimera, an amalgamation of disseperate parts that creates a unique and ever-changing whole.  The resources and services offered by a library must also be ever growing or face a bleak future.

What do you think of when you hear the word "library"?  Chances are you imagine a quiet place with little or no peer interaction or engagement. It’s a place used mainly to check out books or study quietly at a desk. The librarian is the 'Keeper of All Knowledge' and you must be worthy to be trusted with his/her precious tomes. 

This "traditional" style of library creates an autonomous space rather than an open space for all classes and students. Table and chairs are dominant; structure and regiment are rampant.  The staff likely believes that the best work comes from behind a desk  (wouldn't want to get too friendly with those students). In this library there is little to no collaboration; the majority of decisions about the library come from the Head Librarian who is resistant to change.  Minimal effort is put into learning new concepts or  tools, and the changing roles of libraries and librarians is discussed with dismay. There is little virtual presence promoting the library or programs and the library webpage has basic links.  In fact, this library is rather far behind in the technology department - desktop computers and perhaps a scanner are this library's most cutting edge tools. New devices, including e-books and learning apps are not readily accessible and the staff has little knowledge of new technologies.  These librarians cannot facilitate a lesson or discussion about Twitter, Tumblr, Pheed or other current technologies.

What do I think when I hear the word "library"? I imagine a vibrant place where collaboration on multiple levels is not just allowed, but encouraged. It’s not a quiet place but resonates with the hum that builds when of all types of students are engaged in learning. My library encourages all types of learners by creating different spaces to accommodate their individual needs; such as an open learning commons, a quiet space for independent learners, and smaller spaces for classrooms to use as a teaching area. Comfortable seating in groups are found throughout for students to lounge on while reading a book of their choosing. The staff is open to collaboration and can be seen outside of the library working with peers and classrooms. This level of collaboration is permeable within the library as well, with purchases coming from requests of both students and teachers. (Patrons have direct influence on the collection and equipment.) The librarians continue to work on learning and leadership as well as honing new technology skills. In this modern library, new technologies are explored and librarians seek out new learning technologies to bring into the classrooms and support the curriculum. The librarian is also more than proficient on many different webtools and devices and builds a strong virtual presence. The recognition of the shift in the relationship between student reading, research and technology is accommodated and promoted.  Students see the staff as approachable and knowledgeable and patrons feel welcome because the staff has created a positive culture built on relationships and openness.

A 21st century library is not just a catchphrase but a live entity; an organism that is in a constant state of adaptation. It’s a shift in attitude, a change in direction, and a chance to redefine the meaning of "library" for an entire generation. For libraries to continue to be essential in this ever-changing environment of technology and collaboration, librarians must be part of this culture. We must embrace our shifting roles and be on the cutting edge of education and technology if we are to stay relevant. Information is nolonger bound by the covers of a book, or the walls of a library.  The physical media containing information is no longer a librarian's purview, but rather the media necessary for people to access information.

Change can be scary but without adaptation, conformity, stagnation and eventual extinction will occure. Let's not be dinosaurs.

About Naomi
Naomi Bates has been a school librarian for the last thirteen years and is currently the high school librarian for Northwest High School in Justin, TX. Her first passions are her husband and daughter, and her second passion became her profession, which gets her up every morning wanting to go to work. She actively blogs about books, technology and other library related items on her blog, YA Books and More. You can find her via Twitter @yabooksandmore.

Want more posts on issues not covered in Library School?
Check out Teen Librarian Toolbox's series Behind the Scenes @ the Library.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What They Didn't Teach In Library School: Every Day is Different in Libraryland

'What They Didn't Teach In Library School' is a series of guest-authored posts,
written by YA Librarians from around the country, highlighting situations or skills
that were never addressed in formal Library School, but that are integral to librarianship.

No Do-Overs: Every Day is Different in Libraryland
by Katie Bradley

Like many librarians, I am a planner. An organizer. A list maker. I like having a schedule and a to-do list; I enjoy putting items in their place and being able to quickly evaluate the day's tasks. Lists and plans help me get through the day and stay on task in my non-library life and, when I became a librarian, I automatically applied those organizational tools to my library life. I've found, however, that in my library life it would sometimes be better if my schedule and to-do list were crumpled up and tossed in the recycling bin as soon as I got to work. I am a planner, but have come to realize that most of the time you cannot plan for working in a library.

I learned early on in my public library career that what you have to do can change rapidly, especially when dealing with children and teenagers. Things happen that make a day's planned activity impossible. There are a lot of things that I plan to do everyday, however, there are different things that occur that make me change my "plan" to better serve the patrons and the community.

What do you mean 'cat's aren't
allowed in the library'?!
There are no do-overs at the library. If you can’t find that perfect book for a patron, if you can't answer the reference question, that patron might not return to the library. Ever. Expectation is everything when serving the public, and the public expects to be able to find an answer to any question.  Patrons also expect you to be able to accommodate a multitude of situations without batting an eye. With that in mind, my day's "plan" does not seem as important - I've learned to expect the unexpected and approach librarianship with flexibility and resourcefulness. Whether it is a class of forty 3rd graders suddenly show up for a library visit,  or a performer (who has been scheduled for months) calls to cancel the day of performance, or an upset teen crying in front of me - I am the librarian. The "Keeper of All Knowledge".  And the one responsible for making each person's library experience worth repeating.

I know that even though I have deadlines to make, book lists to write and a whole pile of books to read, the customer service aspect of my job is the most important aspect of my job. Without patrons, there is no library. Therefore, I must do my best to answer questions, suggest titles, be a welcoming face and listen to every patron.  (Yes, even the annoying ones.)  I get sick of telling people where the superhero books are or where to find the next thrilling book in the new dystopian series.  Sometimes I wish for a button under the desk that would drop annoying patrons into a tank of alligators.  But even if I've answered the "where's the tax forms" question fifty times or explained to ten different customers that there is a wait list for the new Rick Riordan book, I still must be courteous, professional and answer every question to the best of my ability.  Getting the correct information, book, or print out can make or break a patron's day - and possibly their overall feelings toward the library. What I have learned over the years is that you cannot redo an experience you had with a patron. You got one shot to get those answers and books they crave. One shot to instill appreciation for the services and resources libraries provide. From that perspective, my perfectly lined to-do list isn't so important. It can always wait until tomorrow (or the day after that…or the day after that)!

About Katie
Katie is the Children’s Program Coordinator at a suburban Chicago library. Her days consist of running around like a crazy person, making a fool of herself in storytimes and telling people that even though she is running around that there really is no running in the library. Her friends and family think she sits and reads books all day. Ha! Wouldn't that be amazing?!

Want more posts on issues not covered in Library School?
Check out Teen Librarian Toolbox's series Behind the Scenes @ the Library.
What They Didn't Teach In Library School Post Schedule
January 1, 2013 - Overcoming the Pied Piper Syndrome
January 16, 2013 - Finding Balance - The Enforcer vs. The YA Librarian
January 23, 2013 - Dealing with Peeps Not Like Me
January 30, 2013 - Mousy & Mild Won't Cut It
February 6, 2013 - Community Service and the Library
February 13, 2013 - Dealing with the Angry Folk
February 20, 2013 - Mistakes as Opportunities
February 27, 2013 - Librarians as Social Workers
March 6, 2013 - Adapt or Perish
March 13, 2013 - No Do-Overs
March 20, 2013 - Promotion & Programming

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bookmark: TV Show Read-a-Likes

The Scene:

Teenager: I need a book.

YA Librarian: Okay. What kind of book are you looking for?

Teenager: A good one. I need it for school. Have a report.

YA Librarian: Can you tell me some books that you've enjoyed?

Teenager: O.O (a.k.a. The Blank Look)

YA Librarian: How about TV shows or movies?

Teenager: Oh! Okay. I like Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries & Dexter.

We've all been there...
Now, you may or may not be familiar with the television shows that a teen mentions. When I first heard my teens talking about Teen Wolf I thought they were being "retro" and watching the Michael Fox films from the 1980s.  Enough of them mentioned it that I did decide to watch a couple episodes just to figure out what kind books to recommend when it was mentioned. (I am now a total Teen Wolf geek and have star-crushes on Derek and Stiles. And Jackson.  BTWs it is a FABULOUS show.)  But I digress...

Since it is hard to keep track of all the multitude of television shows your teens may be watching, I've put together a bookmark to help you out:


You can download the image here.  Feel free to use for NON-COMMERCIAL school or library use.