Booktalk: Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

This booktalk was written by Susan Smallsreed of the Northwest Library, part of the Multnomah County Library system.

The book cover for A.J. Hartley's SteeplejackIn an alternate South Africa, steeplejacks climb the highest chimneys & buildings to repair the bricks & mortar that hold them up. And the faster they work, the more money they make for their gang and themselves.

Anglet Sutonga has made a name and living for herself as the best steeplejack in the city. She works more quickly and more efficiently than anyone else. That status provides some protection from the brutality of her gangleader because he doesn’t want to risk losing one of his best sources of income. But if Ang doesn’t perform, all bets are off. And at 17, Ang could also be used for prostitution, a fate she wants to avoid at all costs.

So when she’s told to train a new apprentice, she agrees, even though she knows that this one is afraid of heights. When he doesn’t show at the right time, Ang goes looking for him. Unfortunately, the reason he didn’t show up? He’s dead.

The authorities think he slipped and fell. And since he’s just another one of those poor, lower caste Lani kids, why bother to investigate? Ang thinks he was murdered and that he deserves justice, the same as if he’d been a white Feldish kid. But what to do about it?

And then the Beacon, the source of energy and light for the entire city, is stolen. And it had to have involved a steeplejack … a really good steeplejack … someone as good or even better than Ang.

Are the theft and murder related? How will she keep the gang happy, protect herself AND solve two crimes? Read Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley.

Upcoming OYAN meetings

OYAN meetings are a great way to swap book recommendations, get help with your teen programs and services, and hear what other libraries around Oregon are doing for teens in their communities. Join us at one of our upcoming meetings!

Oregon Librarian Danielle Jones Wins YALSA Writing Award!

The logo for YALSA's YA collections blog, The HubCongratulations to Danielle Jones at the Multnomah County Library’s Hollywood Library for winning YALSA’s 2017 Writing Award for her blog post on The Hub, “Racial and Social Justice Podcasts for Teens.” In the post, which was published in August, she curates a list of “current podcasts, podcasts that have teen appeal, that we can all be listening to that explore racial and social justice in the United States, and especially during a time where politics are front and center.”

Danielle’s excellent work earned her prize money as well as a plaque and recognition at YALSA’s Membership Meeting at ALA Annual this coming June. Be sure to congratulate her next time you see her!

OYAN Review: Six, Maybe Seven Things I’ve Learned in Almost 6 Months as a Teen Librarian

This post is an article from the Winter 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Rachel Timmons of the Hood River Library.

A cardboard TARDIS with the foot of someone inside visible“I have my cardigan and my sunglasses, so I’m ready for anything!” I said this originally about a day out in San Francisco, but it seems to apply pretty well to being a Teen Librarian. I started as the Teen Services Librarian for the Hood River County Library District in August. There had been a teen services person before me, but I am the first Teen Librarian. While people always talk about jumping right into a new job, for me it was more of a head first dive. When I was hired there was an overnight teen lock-in scheduled and full of participants but otherwise unplanned. I got my desk on Thursday and the lock-in was on Friday. And from that amazing and sleep deprived start, I’ve learned some lessons that they only sort of teach you in school: Continue reading

OYAN Review: 2016 YALSA Symposium In a Former Hometown

This post is an article from the Winter 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Violeta Garza of the Multnomah County Library.

OYAN does not simply support teen services in Oregon, but at times, it reunites members with their Ghosts of Library Past. I finished library school while working at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in 2008, and thanks to an OYAN scholarship, I was able to attend this year’s YALSA Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA. So basically I met author Jesse Andrews (highlight #3) while learning about teen trends (highlight #2) and also learning from my super talented former library colleagues (highlight #1).

Highlight #1
San Antonio Public Library Teen Services Coordinator Jennifer Velasquez — my boss of yore — blew my mind when she reminded me that children’s services in libraries run 12 years, adult services for decades, but teen services is really only 6 years.No wonder our numbers for teen programs are small! It’s our smallest window. Hang in there, and talk about your success stories within those numbers.

An image of librarian Violeta Garza (shown from the shoulders up) is superimposed on a scene from a Star Wars movie in which Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are visibleCarnegie Library of Pittsburgh Digital Librarian Corey Wittig spoke of building equity and reaching those teens who are not yet in the library. He did a teen series project where teens built a “Humans of New York”-style blog about Pittsburgh trolley workers. Upon completion after 5 days, teens got a $100 gift certificate. This ensured that teens not only walked away feeling good about the experience, but they also made the connection between learning and making money. Also, teens get badges when learning to use their Makerspace-type equipment in the Labs, such as the music recording booth, the green screen and iPad, and the like. CLP staff get to know the teens first, and then comes the learning and the badge.

Continue reading