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

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

OYAN Review: 90 Seconds of Fame

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 Sonja Somerville at the Salem Public Library.

A momentary hush fell over the room as the screen sprang to life. It was a big moment for seven members of the Salem Public Library Teen Advisory Board — a moment months in the making. They were about to see all 90 seconds of their creative retelling of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine on the big screen, during the official screening of the annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.

They were ready, and perhaps a bit sheepish, as the audience met their Ella (played by an eggplant with glued-on googly eyes) and Prince Charmant (a poblano pepper with with glued-on googly eyes). But as it turns out, this madcap creative effort was a good fit for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, an annual project organized by James Kennedy, author of The Order of Odd-Fish.

Continue reading

OYAN Review: Aha! Moments

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 Julie Jenmard at the Cottage Grove Public Library.

I recently had a series of “Aha Moments” in regard to my life as a youth services librarian. It all started during the week of the OLA conference. I knew TLAB had a huge program the following week on Friday: a teen art show. Last year it was highly successful, but I was not yet at the Cottage Grove Public Library for the program. As of the start of the OLA conference, I had two art submissions; last year the two gallery walls were filled. Thus starts my panic. I heard rumors that the teens tend to wait until the last minute to turn in art, which was true as of the deadline; however, one week before the show this fact did not assuage my fear that the art show that teens had worked so hard and long putting together would be a flop. I personally wanted it bigger and better and not to fail under my guidance. So, I made a back up plan that turned out better than expected. I contacted the high school art teacher to see if I could go to her class to procure art. She responded quickly and invited me to all five of her art class periods. Tuesday did bring in about ten art pieces. Even still, those few pieces would not have had the gallery brimming with art.

The day of the visit rolls around, I have a bell schedule in my hand and I venture to the local high school for my first ever class visit as a youth services librarian. Aha moment number one: I am not nervous around a large group of teens. I have never had the opportunity to be around so many teenagers at once. Instead of feeling any ounce of trepidation, I felt my introverted self more energetic around their presence.

Continue reading

OYAN Review: Better Than a Bio: Meet Greta

This post is an article from the Spring 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog.

OYAN Review – spring 2018

Recently I spoke with Greta Bergquist, Youth Services Consultant at the State Library. Here’s what she had to say for herself.

What’s your deal?

I love kids and libraries. And chocolate and dogs.

Tell me about a book you didn’t finish.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I tried to like the Lunar Chronicles because my teens did, but I just couldn’t get into them. A few of my YA favs are Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Jason Reynolds, John Corey Whaley, Deborah Heiligman, Sharon Draper and Sharon Flake. I just started Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali.

What would I find in your fridge?

Butter, lemons, eggs, spinach. And a door full of condiments.

Are you more a hunter or gatherer?

I’d rather be a gatherer but I think I’m more of a hunter.

In the movie about your life, who would play you and what genre would it be?

A comedy starring Amy Poehler.