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.