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:

  1. You can get pizza delivered to a closed library at midnight. Really.
  2. Teens are busy! School, jobs, lives, musicals, sports … Somedays we are there to help them with all that, somedays we are there to discuss Star Wars, and both are important. I was always one of the quiet, shy teens try to be approachable without being in the way. I’m happy to see a teen reading or working or hanging out even if they don’t actively need me. They are also often only sort of in charge of their own schedule. I recently had two valiant volunteers show up on a snowy afternoon only to be commanded home by a mom worried about the storm.
  3. Teen communication is either rapid fire or nearly non-existent. You might get a barrage of questions, ideas or texts. Or you may be left wondering if there’s anybody out there. Figuring out which I’m going to get is often a mystery and a challenge. I recently planned a program along with our Children’s Librarian for a high school senior to give a presentation about his year he spent studying in India. The presentation was thoughtful, funny, informative, and generally amazing. But the amount of silence I heard trying to plan it was nervous-making.
  4. Teens are full of great plans and it’s up to me to see if they can also be realistic plans. About half the programs and 100% of the Doctor Who videos we’ve done have been teen-led plans.
  5. A view from behind of someone wearing a red plaid shirt, jeans, and pink fairy wingsSupport and cooperation from other staff is the only way you’ll survive. My job has been a combination of new and inherited plans and a lot of figuring out how to fit into traditions and relationships. While not always easy, the staff around me has been unfailingly willing to help me. And they have also listened to the strange and wonderful ideas that are brewing with open minds. I have been lucky and co-opted one of the clerks (Watson to my Sherlock, as a regular teen described him) who has done everything from be tech support to co-adult afterhours programs with me. When the Teen Council decided he should dress up for our Halloween event as “A hipster lumberjack fairy with wings,” his only reply was that he’d need wing supplies.
  6. Middle School and High School teens are different. I obviously knew this; there were those classes with the social and brain development discussions. But knowing and knowing isn’t always the same thing. That said, they are both fun and generally supportive of each other.
  7. You can fit 7 teens in a cardboard Tardis.
  8. We welcome all your comments, articles, photos, book reviews, ideas, and suggestions for future OYAN Review newsletters! Please submit to oyanpublications@gmail.com.

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.

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OYAN Review: The Uncertain Future of Douglas County Libraries

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.

Federal timber payments are drying up in Southern Oregon, and libraries are being hit hard. In 2007, this conflict was brought to national attention when voters in Jackson County failed to pass a funding levy, which resulted in all libraries closing for six months. They were able to provide services to patrons by operating with severely restricted hours under the management of a nonprofit. In 2014, voters approved a library district, and Jackson County was able to resume normal library operations.

Marilyn Woodrich speaks at a kickoff for a campaign aimed at saving the Douglas County Library System in RosebergDouglas County is the now facing this economic crisis. Comprising an area of over 5,000 square miles which span the coast to the Cascades and serving 100,000 people, Douglas County has already made deep cuts in many county services to deal with this loss of revenue, and the library is the newest casualty. The Douglas County Library System is slated to close ten of its eleven branches on April 1st and the main branch in Roseburg on May 30th. Continue reading

OYAN Review: Salem Library’s Teen Book Club named to the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten panel

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 Sonja Somerville of the Salem Public Library.

The logo for YALSA's Teens' Top Ten listSalem Public Library’s Speak Up! Teen Book Club has been selected for the official Teens’ Top Ten panel for 2017-2018. I’m psyched because it was a bit of a complicated application process and they choose just 20 nationwide.

Teens’ Top Ten is an annual project of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. Announced each October during Teen Read Week, the list recognizes the best young adult books published in the previous year, as nominated and voted on by teens across the county. In 2016, a total of 28,000 teens voted on the 25 nominated books to narrow the list to the official Teens’ Top Ten. As part of the panel, Speak Up! will play a key part in choosing the list of 25 nominees for the next two years.

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OYAN Mock Printz + YMAs

The cover of the book The Lie Tree by Frances HardingeOn Saturday our Mock Printz workshop was held, and the results are in! Our winner was The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, and our honor books were We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson, The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, and Railhead by Philip Reeve.

Want to know how our predictions stacked up? Check out this list of all of ALA’s Youth Media Award winners or watch the video of the announcements!

Nominate someone for the 2017 OYEA!

Nomination for the 2017 OYEA (OYAN You’re Excellent Award) are open now! Details from Ian Duncanson:

It’s time to nominate someone for OYAN’s prestigious OYEA Award!

Here’s the lowdown:

WHO: An individual, library, organization, program, or initiative that has made a positive and significant contribution to teens in libraries in the state of Oregon may be given the award. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. The individual, library, or organization shall reside or operate principally in Oregon.
  2. Only living persons may be considered for the award.
  3. If a program or initiative is being nominated, it must have occurred within the previous or current year of nomination.

Preference shall be given to nominees who are supported by a letter of recommendation written and submitted by a teen.

I’ll need the following information:

  • Nominee’s name
  • Nominee’s contact information
  • Description of the nominee’s positive and significant contributions to teens in libraries in the State Of Oregon.

Please send your nominations to me by March 15, 2017.