Wallowa Public Library is hoping to offer a Teen STEAM Saturday with STEAM stations set up around the library for preteens/teens to come in on their own time and try out circuit building, levers, inertia, and a gravity maze. Planning activities in-person during a huge influx of new covid cases is hard and the stations may end up set up on tables outside the library if the weather permits. These plans are still in progress.
We started up a virtual Dungeons & Dragons Club at the Multnomah County Library and it has been a total success (and a total blast)! We meet monthly for a couple hours and we have over 20 teens and tweens involved, with another 20 on our waiting list. Adventuring parties have created real bonds with each other and their DMs (Dungeon Masters), and in one recent session we had a teen exclaim in chat “this is the most fun I’ve had in months!”
BRIANNA SOWINSKI AT NORTH PLAINS PUBLIC LIBRARY
It’s so hard to pick just one meaningful moment! Three standout interactions this summer so far are:
I invited two teens to sign up for our teen book box program. They shared a library computer to fill out the readers advisory survey. They had so many questions about the survey and genres. They were laughing and filling it out together, clearly enjoying themselves. It was the first time I had been able to personally invite teens to the program and have them fill out the survey then and there. It was great to finally get feedback! [Learn more about Teen Book Boxes on page 7 of the 2021 OYAN Review.]
Hearing teens share their free writes in our virtual Write On Creative Writing series funded by a grant from the State Library of Oregon. I was amazed by their creativity and their willingness to share with the group, and I can’t wait to hear what happens next in their stories!
At our outdoor family bingo event, a teen chose a Summer Reading shirt out of all the prizes. They put it on immediately over their t-shirt. I happened to be wearing the same design so I went over and said “Yay! Now we match!” and she smiled.
Since even before the pandemic, my library has had trouble connecting and maintaining connection with the teens in our community. When the pandemic hit, that minimal connection dropped to zero interactions. With the help of a grant from the State Library of Oregon, I began a book club to engage young teens and encourage connection with the library and each other.
During book club, we talk about the book, but we also provide opportunities to connect and foster community through board games, role playing games, and other such fun. I recently had a teen attend one of our book club meetings for the first time (he and his family had just moved to Baker) and he couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was, how much fun he had, and how he was going to tell everyone he knew about it!
Through a grant from the State Library of Oregon, my library has been able to develop a Teen Community Garden program this summer. It’s hard to pick one moment, because it is just so amazing to be working directly with youth again, but I’ll try. One moment that stands out for me is how one day after the garden work was done, the teens spotted a card game in our community room and within minutes they were immersed in a game and having fun. These kids are hard-working and dedicated, but still able to switch to all fun at the drop of a hat. I think that this mix of serious and fun is what I love most about working with teens.
RACHEL TIMMONS AT HOOD RIVER COUNTY LIBRARY DISTRICT
One of the senior teen regulars at my library had been sending out college apps and was waiting to hear back from her dream school. One day, the school sent her a text saying to check her email soon. So she was on the Discord, vibrating with nerves because they hadn’t actually sent her anything, and the group of about another 4 or 5 teens and I were hanging out on Discord chatting to be there (if only virtually) when she did get the email from her dream school. And then we got to celebrate that she got in!
KRISTEN BRODBECK-KENNY AT DRIFTWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY
My favorite interaction was with a young teen who came into the library looking specifically for both fiction and non-fiction about space travel. It was a delightful conversation because he was so clear on what he wanted, particularly in his fiction: near-future, realistic space travel. NOT Star Wars or stuff that waved away the technology. I got him started with some suggestions, and grabbed a copy of Packing for Mars from the non-fiction section. When I returned to the science fiction section and asked if he’d found anything, I was met with, “Probably TOO MUCH!”
Part of the reason it was so delightful is that we all remember him as a pretty obnoxious tween, but on this visit he was absolutely delightful. It’s pretty amazing to see what a year+ can do when it comes to kids and teens!
AIMEE MEUCHEL AT TUALATIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
The most joyful teen encounter I’ve had (so far) has been a group of Upward Bound teens using the Teen Room daily. When I walk in they say “Hi Aimee”. It’s so heartwarming!
MARIAN ROSE AT SEASIDE PUBLIC LIBRARY
The teen book club at my library started meeting in-person and we are having a great time. Discussions are long , relevant to the book, varied opinions and reading experiences, fun and an all-around good time. At our last meeting we discussed books to choose for our next round of reading (we choose four hoping to give each member a chance to get a book in that they want to read). One of the books in discussion and highly desired to read by the group is about a school shooting, This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. Then one teen started to tell us about an experience her family had when they lived in a town where a shooting took place in the community. She was obviously showing yet unresolved fear, sadness, and trauma from the experience.
We all acknowledged the realness of her experience and expressed our sadness that she and her family went through. I suggested that we did not have to read this book as it could cause continued pain. She quickly said no. She wants to read the book and spoke of how relevant it is for us to know and understand these situations. These are not her exact words, but my summation. I would not say this is my favorite interaction with my teens this summer, but it was very meaningful to all of us in the group. Teens always surprise me with their bravery to take on these topics and have deep meaningful opinions about them. We will finalize the books to read at our next meeting and I won’t be surprised if this on the top of this list.
MEREDITH KOSTEK AT LEWIS & CLARK LAW SCHOOL, BOLEY LAW LIBRARY
Starting in February, Boley Law Library has been sponsoring student organizations/activities with virtual bookshelves and added information about the student organization. The virtual bookshelf is a simple libguide with a carousel of some of the books on our homepage (at the middle bottom).
This fairly simple project gives visibility to a student group, like OutLaw, and support for digging deeper into a subject. I’m happy to answer questions if there’s interest.
“OutLaw: Lewis & Clark OutLaw provides a forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning law students and their allies to meet, exchange ideas, share experiences, build community, and bring pertinent legal and political issues of the LGBTQ+ community to the L&C law campus via panels, social events, lectures, trainings, and forums. (Organization’s description)“
ERICKA BRUNSON AT DESCHUTES PUBLIC LIBRARY
Large events in Central Oregon this year are still virtual. At Deschutes Public Library, I created a resource list of links to booklists (for kids, teens and adults), local organizations, small events during Pride month, and partner information for the LGBTQIA+ communities and allies. It’s small (hopefully next year we can do more) but it’s something!
If you have any suggestions for additions, I would love to hear them.
MARILYN KEARNEY AT TILLAMOOK COUNTY LIBRARY
I’m the new teen librarian at Tillamook County Library, so I set up our first Pride display in years! I’m also working to increase the queer diversity of our collection, and, as an out nonbinary lesbian, I’m making them feel welcome just by being myself!
I have been working hard at expanding LGBTQ representation in the West Albany High School Library collection. Our school Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) meets in the library (I am the advisor). This banner hangs behind the circulation desk, although I’m going to move it tomorrow to the PRIDE book display for the last couple weeks of school.
The time has come for you to nominate the best recent graphic novels and manga.
Graphic Rave is an annual graphic novel and manga list produced by the members of the Oregon Young Adult Network and announced in late summer. Books nominated should be written and marketed for readers of middle and high school age (generally 6th-12th grade) and be published between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021 (we are extending the nomination period back to March as to include books we missed in the last two months of last year’s nomination process.)
Nominations will be collected May-June. Members will then be invited to vote on the nominated books through midsummer, narrowing the list to approximately 20 OYAN Graphic Rave selections. The list is further discussed at the summer meeting of the Oregon Young Adult Network.