You Are an Army of One, the Only Teen Services Librarian in the Library System.
– Velasquez, Jennifer. 2015. Real-World Teen Services. p. 100-102.
Even when alone, a librarian for any part of the community needs to stay connected. Groups like YALSA and the ALA feature programs and connections to fellow librarians who can solve problems that might be similar to ones they come across with teens. In a lot of circumstances, as the only teen librarian, it will be important to be that teaching influence to show the other librarians that the teens are still patrons and their needs must be supported.
Focusing on the whole of the library system for the community can help give librarians a sense of the big picture, they need to decide which programs are them most possible, influential, and most importantly the programs cannot interfere or limit the with budget for future activities. The idea that a single librarian for a specific group of patrons must do this until more librarians for teens can join, if that is even possible, can be daunting but important because teens need someone to advocate their needs since other librarians might be less than eager to help those they consider a problem waiting to happen. The reward, being able to unite the community by showing that teens have a right to be in a library, and to do that there must be people who advocate for patrons who must have a future involvement in libraries to keep the building alive, even if it just comes down to the dedication of one sole librarian for teens.
Teens Want to Say Hello by Hugging You.
Velasquez, Jennifer. 2015. Real-World Teen Services. p. 109.
There are boundaries set up to make sure there isn’t just a professional distance from patrons but also so the librarians have a personal sense of safety. However, teens need a connection and a sense that the librarians are there for them. But librarians and not meant to be a teens best friend, they are a guide and ally for the needs of the teens only. Granted, a hug is not the worst so long as it isn’t more than that and as long as it doesn’t become too familiar that boundaries are crossed. The policy of the library usually sets out boundaries but it also depends on the situation and the librarian’s connection on a patron-to-patron basis. If the hug is too enthusiastic, make sure you address it in a way that respects the teens without belittling the emotion and above all allows the librarian to be professional. The emotional connection is important to create a bond that can help patrons, but only in the form of a guide or helper, nothing too personal.
Your Impulse Is to Give Teens Cash, Food, a Ride, a Place to stay…
Velasquez, Jennifer. 2015. Real-World Teen Services. p. 108-109.
A librarian must be there for their patrons, no matter the age or needs of the people. The trick is that this could contradict with a library’s policies, it’s meant to be a place education and personal self-growth in the form of books and other items. However, librarians are their to serve, and that demands empathy with a deep drive to help. That impulse to give a teen a place to stay when their home’s not safe, money for food or possibly any meal you can get them, and the assurance that their value goes well beyond if they check out a book. It’s not even a matter of favors for favors, they aren’t obligated to circulate items anymore than you’re technically obligated to assist them with matters outside the library, but these actions create a connection where anyone can be helped. Learning comes from the patron’s experience of the library, a librarian can be their guide but both them and the building must embody a place of help first.
Chaos, Adventure, and the Teens who face it all
The overabundance of Young Adult (YA) literature trapped in the typical love-triangles, straight male/female protagonists, and the constant ‘need’ for trilogies leaves literature for teens limited. Through this YouTube series, Andrew Sparling will work to promote books that feature something outside of the norm. Heroes and heroines whose stories stand apart because their story is not dictated by the typical tropes. These are characters whose adventures, challenges, and romances are defined by them more than any formula. By talking about these, teens can see they too have the potential to not have to follow a script and possibly see themselves in these unique as they too grow in their own lives.
- Maintain a YouTube account that posts book critiques on YA Literature every two weeks, on Tuesday.
- Customize videos to give teens a place they can discuss, debate, and recognize YA literature outside of the norm.
- Promote unique narratives that feature stories that have characters that don’t fit the formula usually associated with YA Literature that are more interested in formulaic trilogies than multifaceted characters.
- Keep the conversation open using the comment section on the YouTube Videos and a Facebook page where links to the videos can be found that acts as a constructive space to continue the conversation.
- It’s a social media platform that useful in analyzing themes in Pop Culture.
- There is a strong opportunity to network with individuals who are already famous on YouTube (YouTube Celebrities/YouTubers) who can carry the message and possibly be involved in videos in the future.
- Easy to upload and edit videos for immediate viewing by anyone interested in the subject.
- The more successful the YouTube Account, the possibility of it being financially backed by advertisers to improve on the quality of the videos themselves.
- Can create a page dedicated to updates on the YouTube Account in the form of upcoming books, special guest star interviews, and have links to videos available.
- Creates a space to discuss the content of the videos and get feedback on how patrons and viewers feel about the videos.
- Provides a place for people to make friends based on common interests or just by being fans of the YouTube videos.
Social Media Calendar:
- Week of January 3:
Post First Video: Book Review of Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Post Link of video on Facebook
Post Introductory Video on YouTube and Facebook that promotes the purpose of the sites, to show alternative narratives outside of the Twilight/Divergent/Maze Runner types.
Post on Facebook on January 5 to ask for thoughts on what are the viewer’s favorite adventure stories, and why?
- Week of January 10:
Post Second Video: Book Review of Flying by Carrie Jones
Post link of video on Facebook
Post on January 12 on Facebook to ask the viewers what are the favorite heroines in YA Literature, why?
- Week of January 17:
Post Third Video: Book Review of The Abyss Surrounds Us by Mily Skrutskie
Post link of video on Facebook
Post on January 19 on Facebook to ask the viewers what are their LGBTQIA characters, why, and what kinds of stories would they like to see that feature such characters?
- Week of January 24:
Post Fourth Video: book Review Joyland by Stephen King
Post link of video on Facebook
Post on January 26 on Facebook to ask the viewers what are there favorite murder mysteries, why, and what detectives have been their favorite to read?
- Week of January 31:
Post Fifth Video: Book Review Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Post link o video on Facebook
Post on February 2 on Facebook to ask viewers about alternative coming of age stories might be interested in seeing on shelves in the future and why.
Post a Sixth Video on YouTube where Andrew addresses the more unique questions/responses to the videos and posts in the month of January.
At the Queens College Library, there is a program on November 17th in the Averne workshop called Teen Tech Time. It’s purpose is to help teens with homework, research colleges, and learn how to constructively update their social media. This kind of class is important because teens might have laptops but may not know how to best utilize them, an important skill to have in the future as things become more dependent on computer awareness. They give teens involved with computers the skills that are overlooked or undervalued. Giving the teens a laptop to work with allows them to be prepared to use the devices even if they don’t own a laptop personally. The course is held between 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm this Thursday, November 17th.
No registration is required.
Looking through the various items sites presented in this list, the prospect of creating a annotated list to help teams with identifying themes that can help them grow and make their progress through adolescents a little easier. Their is a bias on what each gender is both capable of and where they are allegedly limited. While there are clear differences, there should also be a recognition of each gender’s traits so they can be shown their respect and create a greater united front. The graphic novel Bandette presents a heroine who utilizes the skills of boys and girls in her group to battle evil. X-Men Evolution is an animated series that shows how young men and women can work together to create a better future for themselves and embrace their individual abilities towards a greater good. The more this message is expressed in a way that relates to teens can help them overcome stigmas against either group and create a better community for all.
The last thing teens need to deal with is fighting between the genders. We’re working on being a more inclusive world and there are examples that show there has been progress. The first two on this list are sites that promote the value of women and ways to help both genders. The others on this list are provided by libraries in the Suffolk County area and are available through Live-Brary.com. These include everything from comics, cartoons, anime, as well as books that deal with transgender teens. Recognizing the value in others, no matter their gender, is an important step towards making a more united community.
- He for She
Age Appropriate for: All Ages
This is a site dedicated to promoting global gender equality. It details efforts around the world where men and women work to break down stereotypes, sexism, and toxic masculinity that poisons the progress for humanity. Emma Watson, Hermione Granger herself, is one of the main promoters of the group’s efforts.
- Feminist Frequency
Age Appropriate for: 15 and up; graphic violence
This site confronts sexist stereotypes of women in various types of media, primarily video games. Anita Sarkeesian is a consistent speaker on the site, speaking in videos through their YouTube account negative portrayals of women that undermine any progress to make videogames, and society, more inclusive.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books, (2012- present)
Author: Paul Tobin
Artist: Colleen Coover
Call Number: AG-YA Area YAGN TOBIN (Amagansett Free Library)
Age Appropriate for: 14 and up; some violence and slight sexual contentShe’s a master thief who steals from those deserving of it with a smile and charm equal to none. Bandette lives in a world where everyone can be the best or worst no matter their gender, but no one is greater than her. With adventure, fun, and a cleverness equal to none, Bandette is a grand heroine for everyone to root for.
- Teen Titans
Animated Series, (2003-2006)
Call Number: BW-Teen Services TEEN TEE (Brentwood Public Library)
Age Appropriate for: 13 and up; animated violence, teen drama
Five teenagers with amazing powers work together to protect their city from evil while struggling to live under the same roof. Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy come from different walks of life with their own ways of dealing with life that sometimes class with their friends and roommates. However, when evil surfaces, there’s only one group to call, the Teen Titans!
- Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
Book, 2014, Biography
Call Number: BW-Adult Section BIO ANDREWS, A TEEN Brentwood Public Library
Author: Arin Andrews, Joshua Lyon
Age Approriate: 15 and up, sexuality, bullying, and mental and physical strugglesArin Andrews made a decision that changed his whole life as a high school junior. Realizing he was a boy in a girls body, he worked to change this and embrace his true self in an environment where changes are constant, difficult, and can unfortunately lead to horrifically cruel behavior against those bold enough to be themselves. This is a book that shows the courage it takes to find personal happiness and how its always worth it.
- I am Princess X
Author: Cherie Priest
Call Number: AG-YA Area YA PRIEST
Age Appropriate for: 13 and up; violence, discussion of abuse, and some language
May saw her dear friend, Libby, buried in the ground at the funeral, so why are there stickers of their childhood creation, Princess X, plastered all over Seattle? With the help of several computer savy young men, May begins to piece together from an online website dedicated to her childhood creation a tale of murder, abduction, and the possibility her dear friend may not be so dead. The story presents not only the lengths one shall go for a friend but also how unlikely can be found from the simplest of bonds.
- X-Men: Evolution
Animated Series, (2000-2003)
Call Number: Teen XME- BW (Brentwood Public Library)
Age Appropriate for: 13 and up; animated violence, teen drama
Before the X-Men could save the world, they had to get through High School first. These are the adventures of teens who would lead one of the coolest superhero teams of all time as they struggle through teens drama and grow into their destinies. Through the chaos of their adventures, the teens learn to unite embrace their differences to become something more.
Graphic Novel, 2012
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Call Number: YAGN TELGEMEIR – AG YA AREA (Amagansett Free Library)
Age Appropriate for: 13 and up, teen melodramaA story for everyone trying to understand love in the chaotic time of middle school. Callie works as a stage-hand in the new school play and becomes good friends with a pair of brother, one of whom she discovers is gay and the other she pursues as a potential love. A charming story of friendship and love where teens of every gender are working on finding love and themselves at the same time.
- Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Anime Series, (2009-2010)
Call Number: FM-Teen Space YA DVD FULLMETAL (Floyd Memorial Library)
Age Appropriate for: 15 and up; intense animated blood and violenceThis is one of the best Anime series ever created. The story of Ed and Al as they struggle to make up for their pasts is full of incredible boy and girls, men and women, whose grand skills are never limited by their gender. It’s a story of adventure, horror, and above the redemption and love that makes family more than just blood.
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Author/Photographer: Susan Kuklin
AG-YA Area YA306.7 KUKLIN Amagansett Free Library
Age Appropriate: 15 and up for explicit sexual contentWinner of the Stone Wall Award in 2015, Susan’s book focuses on six teens she interviewed in their steps towards discovering their gender preference. Collecting photos of family and their personal journeys towards acceptance of themselves. This is an important book for those who are still struggling to find themselves as the world becomes more inclusive of the LGBTQIA community. For everyone struggling to embrace their true gender and for those confused about what that means, this book tells the journey of six people who found those answers and can others do the same.
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 That Teens Won’t Be Treated Well.
– Velasquez, Jennifer, 2015, p. 110-111, Real-World Teen Services.
Playing a mediator between the Reference Librarians and the teen patrons they are possibly alienated from might be a necessary job for Teen Librarians. The Reference Librarians will look to the librarians who work with teens the most to help instill the teens with a greater sense of belonging. This could also be seen as an expression of alienation too, as if teenagers speak a language that is foreign to adults, which isn’t too far from the case depending on how aware of social media terms they are, and should not be presented as something too isolating. The other role to keep in mind as a Teen Librarian is that they are the only ones who typically interact with both fellow librarians and teens and by finding a way to create that air of familiarity between both groups will make the position of mediator unnecessary. Training Reference Librarians to understand the possible wants or needs of teen patrons so they become less of an unwanted challenge. Above all, Teen Librarians, by embracing the ways to bridge the gaps between these groups will help be the first of many steps to a fully united library.
You Get Angry about the Way Teens Are Treated at Your Library.
-Velasquez, Jennifer, 2015, Real-World Teen Services, p. 108
There are libraries where teenagers are seen as an uninvited guest or worse a potential menace to other, older ad younger, patrons. This mentality of seeing teens as a problem first and a patron second needs to change. The best way of improving this mentality is by promoting a positive teen space in the public eye of the library and not in the corner or off the beaten path, make the teens appear as a welcome addition to the library. Librarians need to push to promote a positive image, and make sure that the library is presented as equally reciprocating. It’s not just a matter of convincing older patrons to not judge the younger but to make sure that the library is one that teens can find a sense of belonging. They are growing through adolescents into adulthood, which means that concepts teens of today might agree with could become elements future adult patrons enjoy. A step towards this is to create programs where teens and adults can interact and get a better understanding of both. The more both groups interact, it will be able to help create the image of library where everyone, no matter how old they are, can belong.
An article written in the School Library Research research journal written by Sandra Hughes-Hassell in 2013 called Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)- Themed Literature for Teens: Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collection? expressed ideas that are important to consider when it comes to LGBTQ-themed material in school libraries. The most prominent reason for making sure the school libraries stock such materials for teens is because “adolescents struggle with the decision of not just who they are, but whether they are, and who they dare to tell about it” (Hughes-Hassell, p.2, 2013). Finding out about oneself demands self-education as well as materials that create not only a better understanding for one’s self but for society as well. There is a lot of ignorance about what being in the LGBTQ community means and this confusion resulted is shown through the results of a survey conducted to see if 125 high schools in one Southern State had a significant collection of LGBTQ items. The results of the survey said that “half the schools held fewer than 31 titles; only 22 percent of the schools held more than 50 titles” (Hughes-Hassell, p. 6, 2013). This survey isn’t meant to disparage the schools but to show where improvement is needed. A lack of LGBTQ materials “sends a message to youth that it is not okay to be gay, bisexual, transgender, or lesbian” (Hughes-Hassell, p. 4, 2013). Libraries are meant to facilitate any and all information pertinent to education, sexuality is part of that because it affects one’s risks to STDs, pregnancy, and preventative measures to ensure safety akin to their personal passions. These kinds of materials also help “open a world of understanding and tolerance” (Hughes-Hassell, p. 13, 2013). Education helps to establish a person’s growth by showing them where they can start searching and guide them through adolescence so they are able to embrace themselves and be understanding of how complicated the world is. Placing such book in school libraries will to embody a universal truth, everyone deserves a space to learn.
Hughes-Hassell, Sandra. 2013. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)- Themed Literature for Teens; Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collections? School Library Research. Vol 16, p. 1-18. Ebsco.