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. Last month we met Andrea, and this month we’re getting to know Christie!
- What’s your favorite type of library program?
For me, I think my favorite ones are the ones with themes, so maybe the bigger ones. I love doing lock-ins where the teens and tweens have earned the right to stay all night- there’s something that’s really rewarding about those because the energy is up and they’re excited beyond belief. I love Free Comic Book Day, ones tied in with Halloween, and ones that we can do with city partners and schools so that the energy and excitement carries beyond myself and the teens into the atmosphere of the library.
- Why do you enjoy working with teens?
I enjoy working with teens because I feel that out of all the demographics that come into the library, they’re the ones that are most disrespected, and the ones that I can help the most. I may be silly, or strange, but I can understand where they’re coming from in a way that others don’t seem to grasp, and they understand that on a basic level and know that I’m not putting them on. They know that they can come to me with anything, and that my area is a safe space. Teens are one of the most deserving areas within library service, yet are still the most undeserved still.
- What kinds of things do you do when you’re not at work?
When I was in Texas, I’d game, read, go out and watch movies, and a few years ago my husband and I rescued Willow, our soft coated Wheaten Terrier, so I snuggle her. Now that I’m in Orlando, I can haunt the theme parks until closing and beyond, and feed my coaster addiction!
- Craziest thing you’ve done as a teen librarian?
According to admin, it’s that I am willing and able to hold full on, 12-14 hour lock-ins with teenagers, and that I’ve either done that or tried to do that at every place I’ve worked for since I’ve started. For myself, I’m not sure that anything I’ve done could be considered crazy in that everything fits within the realm of teen librarianship.
- 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?
Aside from actual teen areas, I’d love to buy a 3d printer and material for the last library I worked at, and all the latest tech gear. They’re in a really underserved area, and while a lot of them are able to get into the tech magnet high school and work with that technology, a greater number aren’t.
- What is something you struggle with the most?
Aside from balancing everything and not bringing work home with me, I struggle with balancing when to stop giving my heart away. I end up loving these teens and tweens that I work with, and their triumphs and heartaches become mine as well.
- If you could build your dream teen area what would it look like?
A separate library off a normal library. HA! I don’t think there’s one dream teen area because as soon as I see someone’s area I’m all, OOOOHHHHH, I want that part of it, and then I want someone else’s part and then this part of someone else’s. Ideally, it would be like the dream youth space but bigger and for teens. A separate programming area that’s enclosed with tables and chairs and working, up-to-date electronics that’s dedicated to the teens, with a huge area for teen fiction and magazines. Tons of seating, browsing areas, study areas, talking areas, charging areas, etc. Basically, a separate teen library or teen floor build within a normal library.
- If you have desk do you decorate/what does it look like?
A mess. Always. There’s a pile of to-do stuff, a pile of stuff that’s done that needs to be filed, and a pile of stuff I have no clue what it is and no clue where it came from. And all sorts of memorabilia, craft materials, reference books, and figurines like Funko Pops and others.
- Tips/Tricks that help you manage it all?
When I was working (I’m currently not due to personal reasons), I made sure to have a white board so that I could write down what needed to be done that day, and that week. I also made sure to clean off my desk by the end of the day so that I could start new, and that I took breaks when I could. Self-care is extremely important, for if you don’t take care of you, who will work with the teens?
- If you had to work in a department other than teen, what would it be and why?
If I had to work somewhere other than teens, it might be youth because it would still be programming and I love programming for kids. Other than that, I’m not sure where I would be, and that’s what I’m working on now.
- What was the first YA book you remember reading?
I was one of those weird kids that skipped around books and levels when I was young. I was reading Sweet Valley High while reading Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark, then reading the serialized Star Trek novels while reading Stephen King. I was very lucky in that my parents didn’t censor my reading at all, and let me read what I wanted when I was ready for it.
- If you could have a fictional pet/fantasy animal, what would it be?
Dragons. It’s always been dragons. I have two Folkmanis dragon puppets that I used in storytime and outreach for years, and they lived in my office. In fact, if you ever go on YouTube or find the game show Tic Tac Dough, it’s a weird coincidence but when she’s freshly groomed our dog Willow looks the dragon from the game.
- What’s your Oreo preference?
Double stuffed. It’s all about the cream.
- Your dream vacation?
I’m very lucky in that my family lives the Orlando area, so when we moved to be closer I now see the fireworks of the Magic Kingdom every night and can go see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when I desire. That Guy (how I refer to my husband on social media) and I have also been lucky enough to take a couple of short cruises, and we’ve been all around the USA. However, I’d love to go abroad and see my family roots in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and my husband’s family roots as well.
- Cat or dog?
Dogs! I’m allergic to cats (hives for days) and so is That Guy, so it has to be dogs. And hypo-allergenic ones at that due to his allergies. Therefore Willow. However, I’m slowly working him up to another one.