+The Roles &Responsibilitiesof Tween & TeenLibrarians inPublic LibrariesWhat I Did (and Didnt) Learn at my NYPLTeen Services InternshipBy Genna Sarnak
+ Questions I Had to Ask Myself In this day and age, how important is it to connect on a daily basis with our tweens and teens? Should libraries and librarians actively play a role in shaping today’s young adults? Is it librarian’s jobs to foster a love for reading in teens? How can librarians create and implement teen programs that are engaging and educational? This project’s goal is to explore the roles and responsibilities of tween and teen librarians in public libraries.
+ Introduction Teen Librarian who doesn’t like working with teens. Never reads Young Adult (YA) literature. Thinkscontent-based programs for teens are “dorky” and a waste of time. The only programs she thought were good were self- directed and unstructured times where the teens had to entertain themselves, which requires little to no effort of the librarians on hand.
What Roles Do Libraries Themselves+ Play for Young Adults? Libraries are a safe “third space” (between home and school) and are valuable arenas that facilitate interaction between young adults. They also help foster a sense of place and belonging. A place where tweens and teens can access resources and information, both tangible and intangible. It’s where they can find books, movies, and DVDs, but also where they can interact and socialize with their peers. By giving young adults a space of their own, libraries can provide them with autonomy, an undisturbed place that they can claim for themselves. Implementing innovative programs for young adults keeps them out of trouble and intellectually engaged.
+ What Roles& Responsibilities Should Young Adult Librarians Perform? All librarians should have at least these 4 skills:1) leadership 2) advocacy, 3) interpretation, and 4) empathy and imaginative entrepreneurial skills Librarians need to be advocates and leaders in their own communities and positively influence the members that they serve. YA librarians need to be proactive, approachable and actively listen to the young adults. They need to be able to pick out popular teen literature selections as well as conduct successful readers’ advisory interviews, They need to be able to be good role models and to foster a love for reading. They need to conduct advisory groups, where they ask the young adults what they want to see in the library. Youth services librarians need to retain a positive and inquisitive attitude as well. Above all, youth services librarians need to read, read, and read some more. Continue to grow through professional conferences, booklists, trade magazines, and blogs.
+ The Future of the YA Programs at the 67th Street Branch No immediate future for teen programs because no librarian there is interested (or passionate) enough to devote time to tweens and tweens. Once I leave, everything that I’ve developed will be gone. Argument that there’s not enough staff to continue with the teen programs More a priority and balancing issue. Instead of shuffling around existing librarians to positions that they aren’t suited for, NYPL should hire and promote passionate librarians who truly believe in the values and principles of the mission statement.
+ Conclusion The role of librarians within their communities is paramount. Even more so, young adult librarians are charged with many more responsibilities. They need to be committed to youth and customer service, and be truly passionate about young adults and reading. Every library should have a section and passionate staff for tween and teen services. If they are lucky enough, though, a successful tween and teen librarian will see the “return on their investment,” so to speak, by building a strong future community of intelligent, compassionate, and powerful people.
+ References Carter, Betty. “Who Is Margaret Edwards and What Is This Award Being Given In Her Honor?,” The ALAN Review. Spring 1992: 45 – 48. Reprinted on YALSA. Edwards, Jane, Williams, Pip. “The Role Of Libraries In Helping Adolescents And Their Families Juggle TheDemands Of Work And Life.” Aplis 23.3 (2010): 84. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. Gilton, Donna L. “Information Literacy As A Department Store: Applications For Public Teen Librarians.” Young Adult Library Services 6.2 (2008): 39-44. Academic Search Premier.Web. 26 Nov. 2011. Redrup-May, Margaret. “Growing A Young Adult Librarian: Recruitment, Selection, And Retention Of An Important Asset For Your Community.” Aplis 23.2(2010): 74-79. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. Tice, Margaret. “Radical Change.” School Library Journal 57.7 (2011): 32- 34. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Nov. 2011.
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