What do you do? In the future, I would answer the question like this:
“I am a Teen Services Librarian, who plans programs, keeps the collection updated on what teens are requesting, manages teen advisory groups, and who makes sure our teen space is safe always.”
What do teens need a library for? I am going to split my answer into two kinds of people:
Teens: Do you want to have your own space for your needs? Do you need help with your mountain of homework that seems never ending? Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want the latest books to check out? Do you want to chat with your favorite authors have video game tournaments, or watch movies? This space is for you and your needs. Parents, other adults. and teachers may think they can control you, but not here. Here in our library, we want to help you as well as keep creating an equal space.
Parents or people who don’t think libraries will help teens: Teens don’t need a library, they need their own safe space. You might want them to focus on school work instead of extracurricular activities, but all work can be hard on growing teens. We are providing a place to go that promotes lifelong learning and successful tactics for the real world. Even if the teens just hang out, as long as they are using the space they are in need of it.
Q2: You are an army of one, the only Teen Services Librarian in the Library System. (Velasquez, 100)
The role of Teen service Librarians can be overwhelming because you have to raise your voice higher to be heard and you may even take your work home with you. The job doesn’t stop after one goes home, but your mind might be filled with so many ideas which never stop. If you are the only Teen Services Librarian in one system, I agree with Kitchen when she states to be a member of YALSA and thus create a community. “There may be times when it feels as though no one else cares about your passion, or shares your vision. So how do you turn this challenge into an opportunity ? Easy-you create your own community.” (Velasquez,100)
A community of people of shared interests is life changing. This summer I joined a community of book lovers because the people around me did not share my excitement to just read. I read more books than I thought I would because I got recommendations and I trusted it. The community changed me because I thought I had to hide and be excited by myself. This is what a community can do for fellow teen librarians. It should be an open forum where they can share things as well as chat with other teen service librarians. It can still feel overwhelming doing the daily work, but make sure you have people to talk to.
The role of librarianship is giving your all to your patrons. How can we give our all if we feel burned out or overwhelmed with no sign of changing that?
Velasquez, J. (2015) Real World Teen Services. Chapter 6: Lightning Round. pp97=111
I created a separate Instagram account and used NYPL’S library system for this platform.
Although it’s targeted toward helping teens find their next read. The goal is to include news about their favorite authors or books. Also to inform about upcoming events. This platform is fast and can come with appealing picture.
My experience with this was I was having trouble being creative. I used Novelist Plus and NYPL to find books.
- One post on a fiction new arrival
- One post on a popular teen fantasy book
- Booktuber alert: A video reshare when a You Tuber uploads a new video.
- One post on a Valentine’s Day themed read a like in fiction or non-fiction.
- One post on book review on the tYA book on New York Best seller list.
- News on programs or services.for African American month.
Each month will be different or the same, but the goal is to find books or services that fit with the theme of the month. Will also include teen read week, LBGT week, disabilities week, Hispanic month, African American month.and more.
Q9: Teens want to say Hello by Hugging You- pg 109
Librarians are often seen as caretakers for children, a buffer for adults or a familiar face for teens. Once a librarian reaches a teen they become a symbol of familiarity and safety. Every day they will go to the library and greet their favorite librarian, but they may not understand boundaries.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t do this or that.” It’s easy to put rules on appropriate behavior like don’t make out in the library. Librarians can use the opportunity they would joke about to instead give the teens information in how different cultures greet. They can make it fun and informative. Librarians can also be honest about hugs upfront and maybe the teens will understand. Awkwardly standing there as one is surprised by a hug sends the wrong message. Librarians can do more than a joke about it.
Q8: Your Impulse is to Give Teens Cash, Food, a Ride, a Place to Stay… -pg 108
“If you know a teen in distress who needs a place to stay, this is the time to put to use your librarian superpowers and connect that teen to agencies in the community that can help.” (Velasquez, pp109) The horrible things that happen in the world can also happen to teens. They can become homeless leading to feeling hungry and unable to pay for necessities. It’s hard not to feel sad about that because as a human being you want teens to feel safe and secure. Information is indeed the way to go. Google searches that can be done on teens smartphones often lead to misinformation. Not all information is accurate and reliable and this is how librarians superpowers come into play.
What each of these, cash, food, a ride and a place to stay, have in common is instantly the teens will have something to eat or somewhere to stay. Teens do want instant gratifications so how do we find them information that helps them right then and there. Do they want papers or numbers that lead them to the right agencies or do they want help in finding the right way to the information? Talk with the teen. Don’t just hand them a phone number or an address that is a shelter or food stamp application. Communicating with the teen helps them to learn that is okay to wait and there are places to go in case of an emergency. They are feeling scared and alone. It is important to be there for them as well as give them information that will lead to what they need for longevity. Not all teens have parents who give them shelter or food.
Do you want more information on US politics before you vote for the first time? NYPL can provide lots of resources for you teens. It can be a movie or documentary and it can be a book that is shelved in your neighborhood library. Being informed is key and will help you along the way. This list can be your starting point to learn more about politics or government.
- How to Win the US Presidency: This documentary describes the key components that presidential candidates need to win the presidency. It focuses on the past as well as recent presidents. If you want a short review of US presidency history with humor, find this on Netflix.
- Election Day: choosing our president (2012): This educational film gives viewers an idea of how the past presidents’ campaign for office. If you are interested in the history of how these leaders became president give this film a try. NYPL has it as a DVD click here to place a hold or find it on the shelves.
- Teenage citizens: the political theories of the young (2013): If you can’t vote, it doesn’t mean you don’t have your own opinions. This book shows how teens form their own political views. Read more about it here and find the library you may read it at.
- Painless American Government (2004): This series is created to provide a fun and light read on hard subjects. In this book, the government and other factors are addressed. was written by teachers who wanted a guide for anyone study habits. Here is the book on NYPL’s catalog: Painless American Government
- The branches of U.S government (2012): Remembering the important part of government can be tricky. With this book, you can memorize it and it can be more understanding as you think about how our government works. Try it out here.
- Hope was here by Joan Bauer (2005): Although this book is old the story is still filled with a strong message about democracy and politics. Check it out here, Hope was here.
- Legend by Marie Lu (2011): A trilogy on the effects of the government on these teens. It is dystopian if you like this genre.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry: This timeless story will open your mind to the main characters government. It is not on US government, but it’s an interesting read for lovers of dystopian.
- The USA online guide to government information and services: This guide takes interested people through a variety of options like voting and elections. Teens can learn all they want and can feel informed when they vote for the first time. https://www.usa.gov/
- C-Span: This is a website where you can find campaign information. In the future when you will become a first-time voter you can access this website and find about the presidential candidates.
If you want more information use ASK A LIBRARIAN chat or go to the reference desk in your neighborhood library. Reference librarians have lots of databases and resources in their arsenal that goes beyond NYPL.
Question 11: You are often called to the Reference Desk to help teens-Whether you are on desk or not. You don’t really mind because you worry teens won’t be treated well.
Question 7: You get angry about the way teens are treated at your library.
Teens are being perceived negatively in the library and outside of the library. Sometimes it is before they even speak. Teen services librarians understand this more than anybody. I am also starting to see how much teens are being neglected. It is important to come together as one to address all the needs of every patron. Working in a different department does not mean you won’t have to encounter teens in the library.
An example is a reference librarian being approached by a teen. Reference librarians are more capable of finding information no matter what age the patron is. When they call a teen services librarian for help they take them away from what other projects they have to make things better for teens. However. maybe a reference librarian does not understand them when they speak their lingo or maybe they misinterpret a facial expression on the teen and in response treat the teen poorly. This is where staff training comes in handy. Teen services Librarians should lead the training and help the library become closer for one goal. Treat every patron with respect and be professional.
“What you don’t want to do is alienate your coworkers.”(Velazquez. 108) is good advice to calm down if a librarian is angry. However, not every librarian acts the same when they are angry. Some might not even get angry, they might just get frustrated. Treating teens with respect has more to do with the general idea of how a librarian should act with their patrons. You have to treat them all like they are safe and welcomed there. Teens are not going to automatically be a displeasure to work with. They want a space as much as children and adults do. I do agree that librarians should be professional when they are angry by how the teens are treated, but isn’t it better to have meetings where everyone can discuss behaviors they want to bring to the library’s staff attention. Meetings should include more than just what the library needs and include how each staff member can make it a safe space.