I’ve changed jobs recently, going from Library Programs Coordinator (programming/marketing for all ages) to Youth Services Specialist. Oh, has it been a transition.
I used to be a bookstore manager, so this isn’t new. Honestly, it’s fun to be in charge of ordering again. My method’s normally to pack my cart with everything that looks interesting leading up to time to order, and then trim down according to what I feel are my priorities so I can do a side by side comparison of everything I think has potential. Right now, for instance, our Teen NF is rather dire, so I’m prioritizing filling in a few holes when something promising comes out. I’m particularly excited about How to Money by Jean Chatzky and Queer Ducks (and Other Animals) The Natural World of Animal Sexuality by Eliot Schrefer. How to Money might not make it to the shelf for awhile, we’ve got multiple parents working here and they’re all interested in this book for their teens. Queer Ducks was really fun and informative. Bless NetGalley for letting me preview stuff before purchasing, what a huge difference THAT makes.
I actually enjoy weeding, but BOY is there a lot to get to. Speaking of Teen NF, I essentially halved what we have on just a rough first go through. And that was being generous. Things that haven’t checked out going back at least 4-5 years unless it’s out of date or we otherwise have some reason to keep it. Between everything the past couple of years and the fact that the teen program was pretty dead here, I’m not surprised I had to go back that far to keep from cutting almost the entire section. I also got some Juv NF out of the section, which helped as well. I’m definitely going to have to fine tune further as time goes, but as far as a quick cut goes, I’m happy.
Fiction’s a whole other ball game. As a bookstore manager, I became very particular about how my kids, preteen, and teen fiction was sorted out. And now, well…I’ve got my work cut out for me. I am very much a fan of having what amounts to a preteen section that is for the books marked 8-12, 10 & up, and 12 & up. A lot of parents don’t let their kids move to YA until they have to, and with how YA’s been trending I can’t completely blame them. Plus all my sections are just in dire need of a trim. Honestly, the only thing that’s kept me from diving further in is the looming monster that is Summer Reading. Long term plan is to weed weed weed (I keep waiting for our cataloger weed ME), reshuffle some books into their appropriate sections, and shift things around until I’m happy and it makes sense.
And oh yeah, I found this article: Embracing Dynamic Shelving from the Don’t Shush Me blog. I highly recommend checking out that article and others on her website. There’s some great stuff there. My to do list feels like it doubled in size, but oh well. I’ll get to it when I get to it.
Have I mentioned I’m just waiting for our cataloger to weed me? Because I feel like it’s coming. All the teen manga and graphic novels are together, and the manga’s organized by author not series name. Also, long term I’d really like to have series numbers on the spine labels in general fiction. Ideally some indication of series name or some other way of marking different series by the same author, but that’s something to discuss with our cataloguer in the future. And let’s not get into the fact that I far prefer BISAC for nonfiction over Dewey.
TAB & Discord
I am a huge fan of TAB groups, so getting one started here was a high priority. I’m already quickly reworking my strategy from my last library though. It was more professional there, with applications, interviews, and the board voting to approve new members. Here, the five teens that came to the exploratory meeting (and I’ll take five when the teen program really was dead prior to my arrival) voted for it to be a drop in type, much more informal. I’ve decided to also take that further, with their approval, and make TAB half virtual where teens don’t have to come to meetings if they can’t make it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the in-person discussions, and I think it’s valuable experience. But teens are busy and overloaded and just can’t always get transportation. Thus…Discord, here I come.
It’s a work in progress as of yet. I’m brushing up on my server creation skills and working on incorporating bots for the first time. We’re keeping earning volunteer hours as a large element to TAB. I like maintaining a separate google sheet for each volunteer (if you like it, feel free to make a copy for your own google drive!) and sharing it to their personal email as a viewer, so their total number of volunteer hours is always available to them. I’m going to build it in that the TAB channels/roles are separate from the rest of the server, so it can hopefully serve as a hangout spot for teens that maybe don’t want to participate in the TAB stuff but do want to participate in other things. Then I’m going to advertise the heck out of it and the TAB stuff this summer. Speaking of which…
I’ve mentioned this in a previous article, but I’m hitting summer hard with the teens this year. I’ve got flyers at the local schools, I’m doing everything but shoving the flyers into their hands if they come into the library, and as always, social media. I can’t say I’m expecting huge crowds, but I am hoping to start building up a core group of teens who can trust that I’m trying to get some good stuff going. And that I’m always ready and willing to listen to them and take their thoughts into consideration.
We’re also getting into group prizes and moving further away from personal incentives. From what research I’ve been able to do, while readers who enjoy reading might have a slight uptick in reading when competitions and prizes are added in, it often doesn’t make a difference with reluctant readers. Group prize is either going to be a classic Wii w/games for the teen room, or a 3D pen.
If you’re interested about learning more about incentives and summer reading programs:
Survey on Library Incentives Results (sent survey out on the Alabama state and ARSL listservs, and a couple of Facebook groups including TSU. 148 participants.)
Much like Bruno, we don’t talk about the craft room. My current strategy is to pretend it doesn’t exist when I can and otherwise ignore it until after summer.
I have none. But seriously, I AM trying to pace myself, even if it doesn’t feel like it. My to do list seems to grow much faster than my done list, but I keep telling myself I have time. There are so many incredible teen librarians out there (especially my fellow TSU bloggers, y’all are awesome!) doing so many wonderful things that *I* want to be doing. I have to remind myself that a good teen program, like Rome, was not built in a day. It can and often does take months, years to really establish yourself in a new library, especially when you’re building from the ground up. And as has been mentioned many times on this blog, with everything that’s happened the past few years, in a lot of places even if you’ve been there awhile it still feels like we’re starting over anyways.
I can’t believe it’s halfway through May already. That’s terrifying, honestly. I am both elated and horrified by that. I feel like there is SO MUCH left to do, but on the other hand, if I can just get past this then I can concentrate on other things! You know, in that brief time when it’s like, “Ahhh, it’s over…” and “Ack! There’s only 8 months left until it’s Summer Reading again!” I swear, library seasons are: Summer, NOT Summer, and Prep for Summer. The middle season’s the shortest.