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Recruiting the Young for My Teen Advisory Group

Okay, so apart from my many jobs I have, I have been wanting to have a nice group of kids for my Teen Advisory Group.  Last year we only had one student.  Very loyal indeed but one gives the group a sad face.

So, I have read articles and comments about how to recruit kids and I find food is a definite taker! Also, peer influence matters so much at this age that if someone who is cool joins, maybe the others will follow.

I tell you it is very interesting observing kids at this age.  I don’t mind by any means but it truly matters that your library staff is on board.  Keep in mind some people don’t approve of any loud noise or any noise. What! Til this day, libraries still have issues with there being a little bit of noise.

You have to keep in mind, kids are loud.  True fact. It’s hard for them to keep it down especially if they are with friends and they just want to hang out.

Rewards: What do They Get Out of It?

Like I had mentioned, food is always a perk.  Also, if you have games or contests it’s always nice to give them a little something.  It will keep them coming.  Another thing that I have found that get these kids approval is recognition.  They like to be recognized and especially if you know their name.

So, I have recruited about seven kids so far! I am very pleased that our TAG has gone from one to seven. I still have work to do.  Something that is work in progress is that I am trying to create a space for them where they can keep their ideas (a desk) and files where to store them and an area where they can keep snacks whenever they want to come to the library and work on library projects.  My whole goal or purpose is to have kids have a space and say in our library.  Lot of work but love it!


Library Social Media and Social Media Policies

I have been eager to create a facebook page for our Teens and Tweens for our library.  Actually thought about creating a proposal for our director to get that approved.  Well, at the ILA conference this year there was great hype about creating blogs and facebook accounts for libraries that my director was quite pleased to hear.  Later that day she went to a luncheon were there was an attorney talking about the downsides of creating these social media tools.  He had mentioned how one library was sued for deleting someone’s comment. 

I was a bit turned down because I have seen really neat library facebook pages.  It really is a nice tool to market programs and new books in your collection.  It even gives authors to promote their new books.

So, I went to a meeting where local libraries gathered to discuss upcoming events and on the agenda was marketing ideas and social media.  Interesting, right? Well, we discussed that there has to be some kind of library social media policy to help staff members stay safe and to provide rules on what could and cannot be put one these social media tools. 

I do believe, to play it safe, libraries should have social media policies for both staff and the users on the other side.  I think this should not discourage anyone from creating these great social media tools that are made available to us.  As more people are on their phones and electronic devices I think its a great tool to use for our library patrons to market our programs and library collections.

Libraries and Technology

I think there is so much to be said about this subject. Libraries have changed so much and still are changing. It’s so interesting seeing how are youth is changing with technology advancements. I recall when I was in fifth grade kids didn’t have cell phones. Now you see these kids looking at Facebook and YouTube on their cells.

I bring this up because at work we had a discussion about replacing computers at work for new ones and an interesting point was brought to my attention as the head of our YA/Tween department: the usage of our computers in my department have dramatically gone down.  And I was asked to conduct a survey to find out the reason of the number decrease.

I do want to point out however, several observations I have seen and that most of you might be able to relate.  When indeed we get a rush of kids and they plunk down on our teen area you see these kids on their cells looking at who knows what while they wait for their rides. You see them bunch up around the kid with the cell. Kids used  to get on the computer for e-mail and Facebook.  Now they check their phones.

Today a staff member tells me there has been a rush of kids with their parents getting library cards because a teacher told them they had to show her they had a library card in order to use her e-reader device.

Libraries in these days and on have to keep up with technology. Our kids theses days adapt so well in this age of technology. New innovative gadgets, devices are being made and libraries have to keep up.

ILA Conference 2012: Programming Ideas

Last week I went to the ILA Conference.  This is my first year that I attend an ILA conference.  Last year I went to my first ALA conference.  I must say however, that I enjoyed the ILA conference a lot more.  I think I took in a lot of useful information.  There were fewer sessions but a lot of them had great programming ideas that I think would be quite useful for my Tween and Teen department.

There was one in particular that I loved and it was from the Oak Park Public Library.  They had great volunteer programs, including an internship program. Apparently they have had years perfecting this program and have made it fit to their library.  Which would make sense.

It takes work getting a right volunteering program established at the library.  What I liked about this library’s program was that their were several types of volunteering programs that fit different age groups.  Which would be perfect for a library who serves teens in high schools and the middle school kids.

Also, they have an internship program that college students could apply for.  I think that is such a great idea, especially for libraries who are short staffed.  College students could be getting experience and the library would be getting help as well.

There were many neat program ideas.

Here is a link of some ILA Conference handouts:

Library Dress Code: Being Reasonable but Adding a Touch of You

I think it is hard to decode what the dress code should be for libraries.  It really is.  There are different opposing viewpoints.  It is true; however, you are not going to please everyone on how you are dressed because of different style tastes that exist and society itself.  Also, what of the importance and role you play in the library? Does that play into how one should dress?

I have had the opportunity to work in several libraries and have seen different styles within.  I have also read articles on dress codes and have heard stories galore of how one should dress professionally. Yes, it is true that you represent your institution.  That the way you present yourself is how people view you.  I think society might be changing but there still standards on how one should dress. I have seen library staff in different styles.  I have seen library staff in t-shirt, jeans, gym shoes and piercing who are geniuses. I think what’s important is the service most library staff offer.  If they can comply with outstanding service to its patrons the patrons should oversee how the hipster librarian is dressed.   

 I work with teens and it seems when I am most casual, I even get treated like one of them.  There is confidence in joining the programs and they feel like they can be themselves.  I think that is such a privilege to have that because they are the patrons that I am serving most of the time.  I want to know the insight of what teens in today’s age like and look for.  I think if I was to wear a blazer and dress pants they would be more intimidated then someone who seems more relaxed and cool in casual clothes. 

I do think that the role you play in your library does influence how you should dress.  I do think that there are boundaries and limits on what one can wear at work and that is why I think one should be reasonable but not be afraid to add a touch of one’s personality.  I think that adds to a more colorful and fun library environment, a welcoming diverse library.

Updating Reading Lists

You know it has been quite busy lately with programing and research.  My director recently gave me a project to work on.  We had an organization put up a display on domestic violence.  They gave us a reading list handout to put on their display.  I was shocked to see their reading list was updated on 2005.   I thought it was a mistake and so I went on their website and sure enough the last time it was updated was in 2005.  I think it is important for one to review their information, especially if it will impact a lot of people.  Interesting enough, I am updating the list and wow it’s quite some work. 

SASSY Meetings

So what are SASSY meetings? They are Youth Services Library meetings, where library staff in neighboring libraries meet to discuss library programming ideas. They share and bounce off of ideas.

This past Friday, I went to a SASSY meeting in Plainfield, Illinois.  This would be the first time this group would officially discuss Tween and Teen programming.  I was very excited to hear new ideas, especially in that age group.

I enjoy these types of meetings because their comes a point that you run out of ideas or are worn out trying new things that would get others to come to your programs.  Indeed, some libraries faced the same issues.  Even though our libraries are located in different locations we sometimes encounter the same issues and maybe their solutions could help yours.  We all try to promote literacy through our programs and hope they are always successful.  Sometimes not so much.  That is why I am thankful of meetings like this where staff can discuss problems and give out ideas.  Very much needed.


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