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Great ALA Finds

Since ALA annual was local to me this year, I got the opportunity to go up to the exhibit hall for the day. I had hoped to talk to a lot of publisher reps about what they were pushing, excited about, or thought were the underdogs, but sadly the chaos surround most of the booths stopped that from happening. I had planned to talk about those books, but the best laid plans sometimes get changed. Instead, I’m going to highlight some of the books I got, saw, or heard about from others that I think people should have on their radar.

 

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Published: July 2017

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Why it’s on my list: This one may be a bit obvious, but with the refugee topic being such a hot-button issue this is a much needed book. I’m hoping it’ll give a look into what refugees are going through and help people understand the dire consequences most are in.

 

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn
Published: September 2017

Dear Best Friend,

I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.

Sincerely,

Ava Helmer

(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.

Stop crying.

G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

Why it’s on my list: Ugh, just reading the description tugged at my heartstrings. As someone who has moved a lot, I feel like this is totally relatable on so many levels, but it’s especially hard that first year of college when you’re starting that “next chapter”.

 

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

Published: October 2017

Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

Told in fifty-four short, episodic, moving, and iridescent chapters, Calling My Name follows Taja on her journey from middle school to high school.

Why it’s on my list:  This is one a rep recommended, but also that description sounds so good.

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Published: October 2017

 

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

Why it’s on my list: This one was already getting a bit of buzz, but just from the description I can tell why. I have a feeling this will be one of those powerful books we’ll all be talking about.

 

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
Published: October 2017

One teenager in a skirt.

One teenager with a lighter.

One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Why it’s on my list: This is another one a rep booktalked. I always feel I’m a bit weak on non-fiction and love when I can add new titles to my wheelhouse. The author interviewed both sides and I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s told respectfully (the rep assured me it was).

 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published: September 2017

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Why it’s on my list: I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings, but also this was one the rep was really excited for.  Also, I’ve already heard a lot of good buzz about it!

 

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Published: October 2017

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Why it’s on my list: Beyond the buzz/love this one is getting, I just really love fantasy. I love dragons and kick butt girls and this one just seems like it’s going to be much talked about fantasy book.

 

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Published: February 2018

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

Why it’s on my list: Okay, technically this was on my list before ALA, but it still counts, right? First the cover is gorgeous, the description sounds amazing, and there’s already TONS of buzz. This one seems like a total hit in the making.

YA SMACKDOWN June 2017 Round-up

Welcome to our YA Smackdown Round-Up! For those of you who haven’t heard about it, YA Smackdown is an informal, guerrilla-style idea-sharing activity for teen library service professionals. It’s always fun and there’s something to learn for everyone.

You can join in on a Smackdown at various professional events, start your own with our handy downloadable kit, or join in on a TSU-hosted challenge on social media every Wednesday! (Find us on FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr.)

After each month, we’ll post a collection of some of the more noteworthy responses. We hope you’ll all join in every week!

 

Most Sought After SRP Prize by Your Teens So Far?

A Lego Mindstorms EV3 starter kit purchased with grant funds, a “Swag Bag” with fidget spinners and a donated limo ride to get ice cream, and (as always) a $40 Barnes and Noble gift card! – Rachel M.

Polaroid Snap Touch Instant/Digital Camera. – Donna B.

The prize for us is getting to hang out with me all summer  Haha! Our system did away with grand prizes this summer and we aren’t really feeling an impact on program or circ numbers. In fact, we were able to put more money into free books for the kids/teens that inquired about summer reading and it also left more money for programming supplies. So, win for us!- Amy M.

 

Favorite 2017 LGBTQAI+ book/GN?

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is SO good. It is everything I never knew I needed. – Kevin K.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. – Jenny Z.

It’s fluffy but Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde! – Kathleen H.

 

 

Photo Scavenger Hunts

One of the things I love about summer programming in a small town is that I can do programs that involve the teens running around the neighborhood. Anything that gets them out and about (and wears them out) is a good thing, and if I can incorporate something they already use all the time – their phones – then I’m golden.

I remember doing photo scavenger hunts back in the olden days when I was a teen. Our scavenger hunts involved Polaroid cameras, which you could still use if you wanted to, but aren’t completely necessary. All you really need is some willing teens, some fully charged devices, and a list of items to take pictures of.

I warned my teens in advance that they would want a phone, tablet, camera, or other picture-taking item to use. Really, it’s only necessary to have one device per group, and since the internet wasn’t needed for this project, I didn’t mind asking them to bring their phones. The teens met with me in our programming room, I explained the time limits, the rules, and the list of items, and I sent them on their way. When time was up, we looked through all the pictures, calculated the points, and declared a winner. Afterward, when the winners had been announced and snacks had been acquired, the teens were more than happy to chat with each other and look at their silly pictures from the night.

Pictures: There are dozens upon dozens of scavenger hunt lists online. I took one and whittled it down to include a reasonable list of items that gives enough variety and also provides a challenge to our teens. Some lists include various levels of points – pictures that are worth fifty points, others worth one hundred points, etc. etc. I kept it simple and left the point level for all pictures the same. I omitted any picture ideas that involved things that were dangerous or mocked other people; it’s completely possible for the teens to have a good time without making fun of others or putting themselves in danger.

Rules: I know my teens can act like reasonable human beings, but just like adults, teens occasionally need reminders about what that looks like. I did not allow them to drive for this scavenger hunt, and I specifically mentioned not doing anything illegal, not stepping on other people’s property without permission, and not causing disturbances in any businesses. For example, if they wanted to do the picture involving Burger King crowns, I didn’t mind if one of them quietly went in and asked for a couple of crowns and left, but I didn’t want them to bother the employees of the store.

Adjustments: Can’t let the teens run around the neighborhood? Could you do this as an after-hours program in the library itself? Could you have a meetup at a local park or mall and do the activity there? There are lots of ways to work around the idea of running about a small town, and the teens will love that you gave them an opportunity to do what they already like to do – take silly pictures and share them with each other.

Getting through a reading slump

As librarians, we feel the pressure to keep up on all the latest books our teens are reading, but also to read adult fiction and nonfiction and professional books too. It can be a lot of work, but it’s usually a great delight too.

Still, we can’t always keep up, and what’s more, sometimes we’ve lost our motivation. Many librarians are proud to be avid readers, but sometimes stress, responsibilities, illness, and the rest of life get in the way of being the kind of reader we want to be.

Yes, even we librarians hit reading slumps (obviously). I found myself in a several month long reading slump during this school year, but I’m starting to come out of it. Here are some the strategies that helped me get back to a place where reading was fun and came easily again. If you are going through a reading slump yourself, I hope they can be helpful!

  1. Don’t worry about it! This, for me, was a big deal and harder than it seemed. I kept worrying that I was behind in my reading goal for the year that, not only was I not enjoying a pastime I usually love, but I also wasn’t that great at my job. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry. Your reading slump is a phase, and if you work at it, give it time, and have patience with yourself, you’ll get back to where you want and need to be. Sometimes, life comes first, and that’s ok. 
  2. Carry books everywhere. Keep books on your phone, in your bag, at your desk, by your bed, on the coffee table. If you always have a book nearby, you are more likely to pick it up in a small spare moment like waiting in line, and those little moments can add up to a break in a reading slump. 
  3. Find something fun to read. A reading slump is not, perhaps, the time to abandon your favorite genre. It may not be the best time to tackle a serious and complex long novel. Or, in fact, it might be just the time to try a new genre or challenging read. If it’s going to be fun for you, read it!
  4. Reread old favorites. Old favorites like comfort food for the brain and soul, and if your attention wavers, a familiar story can keep you grounded. 
  5. Try an audiobook or graphic novel. These are great formats to explore even when not in a reading slump, but I find that sometimes varying formats can help me get back into reading. 
  6. Make a DNF (did not finish) pile. I get that having DNF piles can be controversial advice, but especially during a reading slump, be kind to yourself and abandon a book if it’s just not working. If you have limited reading energy and enthusiasm, spend it on what’s really bringing you joy. You can always go back to those unfinished books later.
  7. Rely on book reviews to keep up professionally. We all use reviews to find new books for our collections or to recommend to readers. Even when not in a reading slump, there just isn’t time to read everything. Still, I find I feel guilty about using reviews during a reading slump (probably because I know I’m doing relying on reviews more than reading the books I need to), but it’s totally ok. It’s a temporary strategy, and you’ll get back to reading widely soon. 

Why You Need to Enforce The Rules (and Feel Fine About It)

Last week Molly posted about When Bad Teen Behavior Gets You Downand she makes some excellent points. We’ve all been there, and we all want to be the one that ALL the teens love.  We want to be the one that they follow in droves, and have huge numbers to show for all of our efforts.

It’s not going to work for everyone. It’s just not. If you let some behavior slide, then they’re going to push to see what else they can get away with. And if you give some rewards while others miss out, then it’s going to seem like favoritism. It’s a slippery slope and a tricky balance, but you (and your staff) really only need to remember three simple rules that can be enforced within the library that can help everyone get to the same place.

Respect Yourself. Respect Others. Respect the Space.

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Reader vs Reader: Jane Unlimited

Welcome to Reader vs. Reader.  Two librarians who have read the same book will discuss it critically.  They may agree, agree on certain points, or completely disagree.  RvR will challenge your reading comfort zone and dig deeply into the text to find potential problems or subtle brilliance.  And maybe both.  

In June, Andrea and Pam both read Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Reader vs Reader: Jane Unlimited

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

The Quick Reactions:

 
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Pam: Two thumbs up. It’s exactly the kind of story I wanted to read, and it felt so different from most YA out there. I love stories about parallel universes or the multiverse or whatever you want to go with, and so I loved this!

Andrea: I’m a thumbs up as well. It’s weird and quirky and I’m not sure I know *exactly* what happened or how to sell it but I ultimately enjoyed it.

 

Snippet of our conversation (Warning: spoilers everywhere! Also, this book does not come out until September, all conversation is based off ARCs.):

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Ask An Agent: How Do You Get Teen Volunteers to Participate?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question:  I’m a Teen Librarian and inherited my department’s Teen Volunteer Program. It’s a mess and I need help! To give you a backstory, when I inherited the teen volunteers, there was no structure in regards to a written schedule with the volunteers. They came and went as they pleased and weren’t really monitored during their time, so when it came to verifying hours the staff would use the honor system. This was before I came to the department. When I came to the department, I started having mandatory monthly meetings, implemented a monthly schedule that goes out to the teens via email and to the staff in the department and I have the schedule posted in several places. I also implemented the dress code, as well as a no show/no call policy. My supervisor and I also implemented a task box, so the teen volunteers can refer to that if they are in need of something to do. I also on occasion will send out emails featuring upcoming programs that the department will need help with so the volunteers can have extra opportunities to volunteer. As an extra volunteer opportunity, I’ve also implemented a full teen review, where a teen volunteer has 30 days to read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), and fill out a form where they have to write an original book review, and discussion questions. I would say out of all of my teen volunteers, only a few out of the 35 I have actually take part. Most of them, if they show up, are only here to get their hour for their scholarships. Short of completely scrapping the program and starting over, I don’t know what to do. I will take any and all suggestions.

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Snark Attack!: Making Bad Movies Good

Movie program are great, right? They require minimal planning, you get to hang out and watch a movie, teens are happy…it’s the best.

Except when your teens won’t stop talking the whole time, and you have to be one of those dreaded Shushing Librarians, and you barely get to watch the movie at all. This was my experience every time I tried to show a movie at the library. My teens kept requesting movie programs, but then they’d spend the whole time talking and making fun of the movie they had asked me to show them.

When I was finally at my wit’s end, I asked my Teen Advisory Group for suggestions. Those lovely and clever teens had an idea: What if the whole point of the program was to make fun of the movie?! Brilliant! Thus, my monthly “Snark Attack” program was born.

Every month we channel the folks at MST3K by watching something terrible and yelling about how silly it is the whole time. And trust me, there’s no shortage of bad movies out there that are perfect for this program. Teens give me suggestions from YouTubers like JonTron, I scour the library’s donation room, search for cheap movies on Amazon, and look up lists online. Children’s movies work well, as do older movies with more dated sensibilities. The possibilities are truly endless.

When I do outreach and tell teens about Snark Attack, they often ask me what kinds of things we watch. I tell them that basically, if the title or cover of a movie makes you involuntarily cringe, it’s perfect for Snark Attack. Some of the “gems” we’ve forced ourselves to sit through include the following:

From left to right: Sharknado, Gay Purree, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, Mac and Me, Sleepover, and The Shaggy Dog (Tim Allen version)

 

This program is consistently my most well-attended each month. I regularly have 10-15 teens at each session, which is awesome considering my other programs average around 6-8. The hardest part is getting teens to stay for the entirety of the movie. These movies are so stinking awful that, usually around the halfway mark, I’ll start getting questioned about how much longer we have left. I’ve decided to start awarding little prizes to anyone with the fortitude to stomach a full film.

If I have high attendance and things are a bit chaotic, sometimes I’ll ask the teens to look out for specific things while watching. For example, when we watched Sleepover, I asked them to watch out for cliches and tropes while I kept a running count. We noted over 150!

Another way to make a Snark Attack program more structured is to use MuVChat, a software program that allows patrons to text or use the MuVChat app to project comments about a movie onto the screen. I have not personally tried this, but I’ve talked with other librarians who have used it successfully. Comments are filtered using an algorithm designed to block foul language, or alternatively, you can opt to screen the comments yourself.

Have you ever hosted a program like this? I’d love to hear about what you did and how it went! Please share!

 

 

Teen Librarian Blues: When Bad Teen Behavior Gets You Down

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We’ve all been there.

You advocate for teens at your library constantly. You listen to the complaints of staff or patrons about the noise, the trash, the attitude. You keep up on the latest trends, books, movies and T.V. shows. You try to be cool, someone they can relate to; “hip,” without being a pushover. You do hours of online research on blogs and Pinterest to find that great idea for a program or a craft – something that will get them into the library and keep them coming back for more.

They are the most under-served group of library patrons, the ones you try so hard for…. and they are driving you effing nuts.

Today is the first day of our Summer Reading Program and I am trying something entirely new for the Teens, which, of course, means I had to reinvent the wheel this year and do a ton of extra work. I have no idea how it will go, if they will like it, if the adult staff (who will have to deal with the program because YA is on the Adult level) will hate me. But it makes me reflect on WHY I am doing it…other than because it’s my job. Sure, I want to increase my summer stats, like everyone else, and I’m hoping that this program will seem easy and fun. But I think what I really want is for those teens – the ones that come to the library, but not to check out books – to participate in the Summer Reading Program. More than that, I want them to have fun, to think the library is cool, and to think I’M COOL.

Image result for cool librarian(I’m going to have to buy this.) 

I have had run-ins with teens over the years, but a few stick out in my mind and they still bother me. Recently, we’ve had a group of girls and boys in 7th and 8th grade hanging out in our lobby and just being…annoying. Sitting in the windows, standing on the tables, bouncing a basketball, riding their bikes – yep, they think it’s hilarious to start on the 2nd level (street level) and ride the bike to the elevator, take it down to the lower lobby, and ride it outside again in to the back parking lot. We’ve also found them all in one bathroom with the lights off and their phone flashlights on….I don’t even want to know why….

I feel like I always go through these stages of dealing with teen behavior:

  1. I’ll ignore some of the little things at first and hope it will go away on its own. Not the ball bouncing and bike riding – those I have to stop – but the noise level, the trash, etc. Maybe they are just here today and won’t be back.
  2. I’ll be the cool librarian. i.e. “Hey guys, I need you to get down off the table because I really don’t feel like wiping up the blood after you crack your head open. Thanks!”
  3. I’ll try to bribe them to be good. “Do you guys like popcorn? I have this extra bag leftover from our TAB meeting (insert advertising here.) Oh, and here’s some candy!!”
  4. I’ll throw other staff members & patrons under the bus.Pssst….So listen guys, I just heard a patron complaining about you and the director said she was thinking about calling the police. You might want to get out of here.”
  5. Depending on the crowd, I might try to get them to “help” me with something, like moving tables or making me a list of movies or music we should buy, something constructive/distracting. (I’ve attempted to get them involved in programs and schedule them when I think they will be there, but they tend to just move to a different part of the building or leave.)
  6. I’ll try reverse psychology. “Seriously, guys? Even my 2 year old knows how to throw her trash away.”
  7. I’ll LOSE my COOL. (Like, physically, emotionally and socially.)

 Image result for angry librarian

Usually after this happens, I immediately feel awful. I feel like I’ve failed at my job and I’ve failed the teens too. I wonder if there was some other way I could have reached them. I’ve attended workshops about dealing with bad teen behavior and I know the research on how teens’ brains work. I know some of these kids have a bad home life, so they are hanging out at the library, or some are just trying to be “cool” themselves and impress their friends while their parents aren’t around. But sometimes I just lose it and I feel like a jerk.

However, I forget about the other teens that come to the library. The ones that volunteer or attend programs or actually get excited about making book displays and decorating the Teen Space. Those teens are awesome. And I guess you can’t please everyone – but I’ll probably keep trying.

I would LOVE to know about other ways to deal with bad teen behavior in the library so please leave comments!

Cheers,

~ Molly

Meet the TSU Agent: Andrea

We’re starting a new monthly feature called Meet the TSU Agent. We realize you guys have been reading the blog for a couple of years now, but may not really know us. This will also be a way to get to know new agents as the come onboard. Without further ado, let’s meet this month’s Agent: Andrea.

  1. What’s your favorite type of library program?
    I actually enjoy all sorts of programs, to the point I don’t have any that I really hate. For me, it’s more about who is there than what we’re doing. I love when my long-time regulars are there, but an event can easily go south if there are teens who don’t/won’t listen.
  2. Why do you enjoy working with teens?
    There are many reasons I like working with teens, but I really like that I can be a straight-talker with teens. Whether it’s with budget concerns/why we’re cutting something to life in general, I’ve found that teens respect when you’re honest. I also love watching them change/grow over the years into amazing young people.
  3. What kinds of things do you do when you’re not at work?
    This highly varies on my mood, but some of the things I enjoy are knitting/crocheting, binge watching T.V., playing games (both board and video), & cuddling with fur-babies.
  4.  Craziest thing you’ve done as a teen librarian?
    I’ll be honest, I don’t do a lot of crazy things, however, letting teens throw pies in my face is probably at the top. Although, if you asked my admin, it would probably be that I used to do overnight lock-ins.
  5.  If you suddenly had extra money in your budget to buy one thing you’ve always wanted for your teens/library, what would it be?
    Does an actual teen area count? Otherwise, I’m not sure. We’ve been pretty lucky to get a lot of the things we’ve needed/wanted through grants and what not. The only things I’m after right now some maker-space things like a smaller button maker & sewing machines.
  6. What is something you struggle with the most?
    Trying to balance it all. I know I have co-workers who always lend a hand, but it’s hard not to think that teen services is all on you when you’re the only one that holds that title. I’ve gotten way better at asking for help, but it’s stuff hard sometimes.
  7.  If you could build your dream teen area what would it look like?
    I would love an area that is enclosed, preferably with glass/someway to look in. I would want LOTS of space for bookshelves so I could stop worrying about tight spaces. Also, at the top of my list: lots of seating area (tables and comfy), study rooms, gaming area, craft area, & maybe a few computers.
  8. If you have desk do you decorate/what does it look like?
    I currently decorate my off-floor desk. I have a few fandom art up, my old favorite craft samples, and several Funko Pops.
  9.  Tips/Tricks that help you manage it all?
    My bullet journal has been a life saver. It took me a few months, but I was able to find a layout that worked for me. It has done so well with helping me focus on what needs to be done and staying on track.
  10.  If you had to work in a department other than teen, what would it be and why?
    I think about this a lot, especially since I feel I may be nearing the end of teen services. Right now, my top choices would either be outreach or collection development. Mainly because those are the two aspects of my job I love the most & tend to stress me out the least.
  11.  What was the first YA book you remember reading?
    Beyone R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, it would be the Alanna/Song of a Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce. It still holds a very special place in my heart.
  12.  If you could have a fictional pet/fantasy animal, what would it be?
    Hands down, a dragon. But like a miniature one and not a super giant one.
  13.  What’s your Oreo preference?
    Golden. I’m not an Oreo person in general, but I do love me the golden ones.
  14.  Your dream vacation?
    I’m extremely lucky in that I’ve already had my dream vacation, which was visiting Ireland & Scotland. However, I love to travel so anywhere new is always fun in my book. Oversea wise I’ve been to Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, & Hungary. I’m hoping my next one will either be to England or Thailand.
  15.  Cat or dog? 
    Both! I’ve had times in my life where I’ve only had one or the other and really missed the one I didn’t have. Both animals are so different most of the time and bring me happiness in very separate ways.