OYAN Review: Libraries in Profile: Athena Public Library

This post is an article from the Summer 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Kristen Williams at the Athena Public Library.

Athena is a town of 1,300 people nestled in the wheat fields near the Blue Mountains by the Washington border. There has been a public library in Athena for more than 100 years, and almost 15 years ago the town came
together to build a beautiful new library.

Our new building has some of the only public meeting space in town, and it has a cozy reading room with soft chairs in front of a welcoming fireplace. And, unlike the old building, it has dedicated spaces for children and young adults. Athena is understandably proud of the new library building. In fact, even though it’s been nearly a decade and a half since the building was completed, when someone new comes to town, you’re likely to hear people asking them if they’ve “seen the new library.”

Life in a rural library presents some challenges, such as a limited budget. We are an autonomous city library, but we are also a member of Umatilla County Special Library District. Through this county-wide taxing district, we receive half of our annual funding and also some programming and cataloging support. In addition, we are a part of the Sage Library consortium. Sage has 77 member libraries in 15 counties in Eastern and Central Oregon. Being a part of Sage offers very tangible benefits to our customers in terms of access to resources we couldn’t provide on our own.

I started as Library Director in November of 2017 and was able to work side by side with the previous Director until her retirement. That time of transition was so good, both for me and for the town. There was a lot concern about the previous librarian’s retirement. Change is difficult for library users of all ages and can be especially difficult in a library with only one full-time librarian. The time of overlap was useful in reassuring customers that the library would remain open and that, for the most part, the things they loved about it would stay the same.

There has been a thriving program for children for a long time. We have a long-standing toddler storytime on Monday mornings that is well attended. We have an excellent collaborative relationship with the local preschool that helps us reach the younger kids in our community, and we have a great relationship with our local elementary school. There is no librarian in our school district, so last school year I provided library instruction at the elementary school library, and I’m hoping to do something similar this year.

A main part of my goal planning for this year is our lack of teen programming. We have a core group of teens who use the library on a regular basis, but I’d really like to build on that. I started working toward this goal by including teens more intentionally in our Summer Reading Program. We have offered some library activities and have also created some volunteer opportunities for teens within our elementary and preschool programs. The hope is that these opportunities will help build a feeling of ownership in the library. At the beginning of this upcoming school year, we will launch a teen advisory board to give teens a voice in programming, collections, and leadership in our community. We’re also planning to letting them redecorate the teen space. We hope to use this core group of teens to help us better serve the other kids in our community.

I feel like a big part of this first year as Library Director has been about getting to know the community in my new role. I have lived here in town for ten years and have fairly deep connections, but telling someone you’ve lived in a small town like this one for ten years is the same as telling them you moved to town yesterday. I’m still introducing myself to people and trying to ease in to new ideas. I do regularly remind myself to slow down and not to force things. Athena Public Library is in a season of growth and change, and it’s really exciting to plan for the future.

OYAN Review: Four Days in Pendleton

This post is an article from the Summer 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Stephanie Goodwin at the Klamath County Library.

I have never been one to keep a bucket list of things I want to accomplish or experience in life; instead I choose to take advantage of opportunities as they land in front of me. Throughout my library career I have known several who have had the opportunity to attend various leadership trainings. Every time one of them went, I was intrigued and would think how someday I’d like to go one myself. Then one day I saw an email about a new leadership training opportunity called LIOLA (Leadership Institute of the Oregon Library Association). I decided that this was my opportunity, so I quickly submitted my application. I was delighted when I was accepted and began my hunt for scholarships. The OYAN scholarship was ideal. For anyone out there who is looking for scholarships to library trainings or conferences, this is an easy application. The only requirements are that the conference relates to serving young adults in Oregon and to do a brief report when you get back so others can get a glimpse of what you learned.

After receiving the scholarship I eagerly anticipated the approach of LIOLA by reading the book Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test. Continue reading

Mock Printz Title Recommendations Sought

Posted on behalf of Lisa Elliott of the Tigard Public Library with light edits for blog publication.

Hi folks! Have you had ample time for pleasure reading this summer? No? Weird. Well, if you have read something that knocked your socks off, we’d love to hear from you. Your Mock Printz crew is putting the list together for the 2019 Mock Printz Workshop on January 19. Please send me your recommendations of young adult books that meet the following criteria:

  1. Published or will be published in 2018
  2. Published in the USA (US editions of books originally published elsewhere definitely qualify)
  3. Published for and marketed to teens
  4. Any format will do: fiction, non-fiction, graphic novel, poetry, or anthology
  5. Titles that are self-published or only available as ebooks are not eligible

Thanks all! Happy reading.


Twisted Tales: Fairy Tales Re-Imagined

This booklist [pdf] comes from Tualatin Public Library and features retellings of fairy tales.

Beauty and the Beast

  • The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
  • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
  • Roses by G. R. Mannering
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Continue reading

Summer OYAN Review Call for Articles

How is your Summer Reading program going? Do you have any interesting young adult programs happening? Did you have any *ahem* learning experiences that would be willing to share with your colleagues? Do you have any unique challenges or opportunities that are worth sharing? Let your colleagues around the state know. Send in your articles (1/2-1 page) to be included in the summer newsletter. Pictures with captions make for an especially interesting reading experience.

OYAN Review: Jason Reynolds Talks Like an Author

This post is an article from the Spring 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Kristy Kemper Hodge at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

It was Saturday night of the OASL Fall Conference, and Jason Reynolds towered on stage. He regaled us with the story of how he went from an obstinate non-reader to the author powerhouse he is today. The story begins with a much younger Jason, who grew up in a neighborhood that was dangerous and full of perils like gangs, shootings, drugs, and death. Where young men walked on one side of the law or the other, dealing and gang-banging or keeping their heads down, going to school, and staying out of trouble. Jason was able to keep out of trouble, and focus on school, but he was no reader. Why read? Why bother when there were no books about people like him? Who looked like him, talked like him, walked like him, lived like him? Or about people like his friends, family, and the people in his neighborhood? What could books possibly offer?

Then came Queen Latifah. Continue reading

Nominate Your Graphic Faves for the 2018 Graphic Rave!

Posted on behalf of Traci Glass

Hello OYANers!

Guess what? It’s time for the 2018 Graphic Rave nominations! For those of you who are new to OYAN or have just forgotten, the Graphic Rave is OYAN’s annual list of the best graphic novels, comics, and manga for teens. The process will be almost, if not totally, identical to the process we all go through to come up with our Book Rave list.

Continue reading