Smackdown Round-Up, January 2016

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 Facebook, Twitter, 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!


What was your favorite teen book of 2015?

This one had several comments, but after careful number crunching and other weird math stuff (I guess it’s called “counting”?), the general favorite was Nimona, with Dumplin’ as a close second. Some honorable mentions: All the Bright Places, Carry On, Challenger Deep, A Court of Thorns & Roses, Everything Everything, Illuminae, Queen of Shadows, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Winter.

Y’all sure are a well-read bunch.


What would you do if some teens were playing truth or dare in the library and things started veering into crazytown?

“Step in and talk about boundaries and respect for everyone and the space. Kinda like school…Maybe suggest other games too – bring out Apples to Apples!” – Molly C.

“I approach with my thoroughly bored face and say, “Topic needs to change. You are making me uncomfortable, and not respecting the place.” I include my own feelings to remind them that I have them, too. I say, “respect the place” because that’s a rule that most have them have heard and just need to be reminded. Usually, when I do this, one or two of the kids in the silly game either shoots me a look of gratitude or thanks me when no one is looking.” – Frieda T.

“Invite them to TAB–where we play crazy games of our own, and then redirect them to play CURSES! which is like truth or dare, but all of the things on the cards are library appropriate.” – Kelsey L.

“‘You are making others uncomfortable here in the library. You can either change topics / stick to G-rated material, or you can leave for today.'” – Jenni F.


Which library environment do you prefer: complete silence or complete anarchy?

Most people opted for complete anarchy, for numerous reasons:

“Anarchy! It seems to me the people, especially young people who cause anarchy are the ones most needing of the library and librarians. If they’ve taken over the place it means they are there and cognizant that the place exists, so check off step 1!” – Grace M.

“Anarchy – that means there are people here, resources/books/computers are getting used, and its a chance to join the melee and talk to people/help people/promote other services” – Colleen L.

“Anarchy forever! I do my best work under pressure, and having to juggle patrons and crises (not literally!) keeps my mind busy and makes the time fly!” – Pamela P.

“Anarchy! More fun and shows more of that “3rd space” to the community” – Maggi V.

There were also some dissenting/alternate opinions:

“On a normal day, I’d personally join the anarchy chorus (anyone want to join my new punk band Anarchy Chorus?), but final exam season has me thinking about those incredibly surreal and sublime moments when your space is full, but instead of anarchy there is silence, because everyone has their nose stuffed into books/laptops cramming every last bit of info possible into their heads. They’re incredibly rare, but I kind of treasure those fleeting teen librarian unicorn moments where silence doesn’t indicate a lack of activity but an abundance of it.” – Evan M.

What would you do if a teen was arguing loudly with their parents in the teen space?

“I try to guide the parent and teen into a more private space, away from the group. We don’t have a lot of physical space, but by directing the argument away from the group is helpful to everyone.” – Ronda C.

“had a dad say the F word multiple times & LOUDLY in the children’s area once when yelling at his daughter. It was making all of the other parents uncomfortable so I redirected his behavior focusing mostly on the language he was using. The parent who approached me about the situation in the first place specified “Be careful how you handle it or things could be far worse when she gets home.”” – Tinna M.

“Sometimes just saying, “Hey is everything okay?” or “Can I help you with anything?” breaks the moment and forces the parent to realize what is going on and stop or go else where. It also gives them escape without you calling them out.” –Megan R.

“Ask them all to take it outside. This has happened a few times, and all but once they realized what they were doing and quickly went elsewhere. One time, I had to call for backup because the dad back-handed the kid right in the face…right in front of me” – Kim D.

“If I saw a parent backhand their child, I’d be calling Child Protective Services. I just witnessed physical abuse, and in Nebraska, everyone is a mandated reporter. I also used to work for Child Protective Services, so I’m pretty sensitive to those things. I’d definitely still approach and ask if everything’s alright and ask what I can do to assist them, but a call is definitely getting made…that’s probably the best response.” – Dustan A.

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