You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….
Question: What do you wear to school visits? I’m torn between trying to dress nice and professional and wearing geeky superhero/library shirts and jeans to be more laid back with the teens. Your thoughts?
Elizabeth (Commerce Township Community Library) says:
For my summer reading promotion outreach last year, I wore a skirt with a different geeky superhero shirt every day. I found this was a good blend between hip and professional. 🙂
Natalie (Farmingdale Public Library) says:
I usually wear what I would wear to work. Your enthusiasm for the upcoming programs will be more than enough to get their attention (or at least for most of them). Mention the prizes you’ll be giving away and anything special going on. Make sure to bring flyers for all on whatever you are there to talk about.
Michele (Westwood High School) says:
I am a high school librarian and we are encouraged to dress professionally at school by our administration. I think it probably depends on the school and the type of visit. I have a partnership with our local public library and when our Teen Services librarian stops by for book club (after school) very casual dress would be very ok while a presentation for database resources would require a more professional look. I also find that often the librarian comes straight from work so is usually in professional dress. I don’t worry much about how I am dressed when I work with teens. They seem to accept me as I am. I think how interested you are in them and how kind you come across seems to be the ticket. Noticing what they are wearing (and that includes hair color, nails, shoes, socks (big with the guys this year), band shirts, etc.) and asking them what they are into works wonders for me.
Samantha (Winslow Public Library) says:
I usually try to bridge the gap in between– i.e., if I’m wearing a geeky shirt, then I tend to not wear it with jeans but with dress pants and I’ll add a nice sweater. I don’t personally have any HerUniverse or similar dresses, but if I did, I would definitely wear that with pride and not worry about somehow making it more “professional.”
Valerie (Springfield Greene County Library) says:
I follow our dress code guidelines and mix it up with a geeky shirt, a geeky dress or accessories. I don’t wear jeans to school visits because most schools do not allow their teachers to wear them. Plus, our library has set guidelines for how we present ourselves to the public. However, you can totally rock both. I have a fantastic Stormtrooper button up shirt that I wear under a plain black blazer with lightsaber earrings. I have several geeky dresses that I throw a cardigan over and add crazy bright tights. If you can sew there are lots of easy patterns out there for simple skirts. I have made several with geeky fabric (Doctor Who, Avengers, Star Trek) and fabulous pockets! Sometimes just a simple funky accessory is all you need. I did a visit right after an important meeting and I had a professional looking black dress, with a plain cardigan, high heels, and Harry Potter book earrings. The earrings were a hit. So were the shoes… because retro heels!
I have found that teens really don’t care how I dress as long as I treat them with respect and maintain a fun and happy attitude at my visits. I do get a few more compliments and a bit more notice when I wear a bit of geek but not enough to make it a big deal when I don’t. I encourage you to look at your dress code and see how you can work in a bit of fun and nerdiness. You don’t have to dress super laid back to make a difference with teens. Your attitude is what counts the most!
Wendy (Cullman High School) says:
My answer: Resist the urge to dress down for school visits. At least in my area, looking professional will go a long way towards getting asked back. Dress for the school administrators, not for the students. Also, you don’t want to get stopped in the halls!
Thanks to our volunteer agents for the awesome answers. If you have a question about anything teen services related ask it here! Your question will be featured on the blog with answers from our agent volunteers or TSU team members. If you’d liked to be a volunteer agent, please submit your info here.