On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

Brace-Yourselves Summer Reading
I am so, so stinking excited for Summer Reading this year. Last summer, I was so busy juggling the children’s programs (since our YS Librarian quit) that I didn’t get a chance to develop the teen program the way I wanted to. This year, however, all of that will change.

Our county, Wasco, has the highest childhood obesity rate in all of Oregon. So this year’s SR theme, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” is perfect for getting tweens and teens excited about staying active and healthy this summer.

The Plan:

Part 1: Fitness Fridays

  • Every Friday at 4:00 pm, I’ll have a different teen program. Each one will place an emphasis on some type of health or wellness activity: yoga, tai chi, self-defense, fencing, zen gardening, etc.
  • At each event, I’ll put out a book display – both fiction and nonfiction – relating to the topic of the day. That way, I’m still incorporating a literacy component and encouraging the teens to extend their learning outside of the class.

Part 2: Summer Reading BINGO

  • Our Bingo Cards this year will be a mix of reading and physical activities, continuing our theme of staying both mentally and physically active this summer.
  • Each BINGO a teen completes will earn them a raffle ticket and a chance to win our Grand Prize: a whitewater rafting trip for four down the Deschutes River. We’ll also give away smaller prizes (ex: movie passes) once a month.

Part 3: Market, Market, Market

  • A class set of SR Reading event flyers will be given to every teacher at both the middle and high school
  • A pre-recorded message will be played weekly on the local radio
  • Events will be pushed heavily on social media, especially Facebook, where we’ll share our Teen Summer Reading Commercial 

I’m so excited I can barely stand it! Here’s hoping my tweens and teens have an exciting and educational summer.

Volunteering Vs. Service Learning

I just got back from the YALSA conference, which was held in Portland this year. My head is still swimming with ideas and information. But of all the sessions I attended this weekend, one in particular stood out to me: “Elevating Teen Volunteers to Loftier Roles.”

IMG_1595

My minions. *Cough*  I mean volunteers.

I’ve been struck lately by how boring traditional “volunteering” duties can be for teens. Yes, shelving books and DVD’s can be helpful (and necessary). But, if that’s all your volunteers are doing, that makes for a pretty uninspiring volunteer experience.

Enter the Seattle Public Library’s Service Learning Program. SPL wanted the same thing I do: to give their teens a meaningful role at their library. Their goal was to help their teens develop leadership and project management skills while working collaboratively together. So they decided to put their teenagers in charge of their programs.

Yes. You read that right. The teens were in charge of programming.

There were three key requirements for the programs the teens built:

  1. Projects had to be teen-driven (and they had to be exciting to the teens)
  2. Projects had to meet a community need
  3. Projects had to meet a library need

For example: Let’s say the teens wanted to start a Animanga Club. All three of the aforementioned requirements would have to be met in order for the program to take place.

It sounds so simple but is really is profound. I love this idea of making volunteering more meaningful by allowing teens to plan and implement their own Service Learning Projects. It gives them a chance to develop real-world skills they can use later on in life (marketing, event planning, working within a budget, etc.) It makes their voices and ideas hold weight and empowers them to take ownership of their library.

This is something I hope to implement in our volunteering program going forward. Our teen volunteers give so much to the library. I want to make sure that they’re “getting something” our of volunteering too.

 

Humans vs. Zombies

IMG_1540

So I asked my TLAB (Teen Library Advisory Board) students what they wanted to do for Halloween this year. And the verdict was unanimous: Humans vs. Zombies. With NERF guns. After hours. In the library.

*Cue hysterical laughter*

Don’t get me wrong: I love crazy, off-the-wall programs. But the prospect of hosting a full-fledged NERF war in the stacks after dark made me a little nervous. Would the Director go for it? Would people show up? Would we actually be able to pull it off?

Fortunately, the answer to all of those questions was yes. 🙂

IMG_1514In the weeks leading up to the event, we marketed our program. Hard. My volunteers made a commercial that was broadcast at the local high school and handed out flyers to all of their friends. Teens had to register in advance and fill out a liability waiver. I bought ten Zombie Strike NERF guns (since that’s all our budget would allow). The first ten registrants were guaranteed a gun; anyone else had to bring their own.

The night of, the teens arrived early. They “zombified” their shirts, did their makeup, and helped decorate the library. We used red paint to to create “blood splatter” on plastic tablecloths and hung caution tape. Then I turned them loose and had them shuffle around as our “starter” zombies. They snarled and lurched as the “human” participants arrived at the library. 🙂

The game play was pretty simple. We herded all the visiting teens into the survival shelter (aka our meeting room) for review of the rules.

Everyone, except my volunteers, started out as humans. Humans could shoot zombies anywhere but the head (our zombies were a special mutation). A zombie who got shot by a human had to go to a penalty box for 1 minute before rejoining the game. Any human who got two-hand touched by a zombie was “turned,” had to surrender their gun, and don a green “zombie” bandana. Myself, our director, and another adult served as referees.

In total, we had 24 teens participate in our Humans vs. Zombies Program. This one’s definitely going to be an annual event for us. 🙂

Coming Up For Air

batgirlmeg

So for those of you wondering why I fell off the face of the earth…I’m officially coming up for air. 🙂 It’s been an unexpectedly busy summer at my new library. Fun, but a whirlwind.

Our Youth Services Coordinator, for personal reasons, resigned in the middle of Summer Reading. Which meant instead of just managing tween and teen programs, I inherited all three of her weekly story times and her children’s programs to boot.

It was chaos. Glorious chaos. And somehow, I managed to survive. 🙂

tumblr_inline_n9jzt9kUQi1rpcnpz

This is my “I survived Summer Reading” Dance

Thanks for your patience during this crazy adventure. I look forward to getting back to sharing my adventures with you!

The Project: Teen Film Club

UnmaskSloganSometimes, a good teen program just falls into your lap. Which is precisely what happened just a few weeks ago here at my new library.

I was working on our Teen Summer Reading Program when someone in Circ called for me. I popped out of the back to see four, eager teenagers waiting for me. They said they’s heard I was the new teen librarian and that I was looking for program ideas:

“We love making movies and want a place do to it. Can we do it here? We’ll even bring our own equipment! Please? We could even do promotional videos for the library!”

Um, yes. A thousand times yes.

The program is only a month old, but we already have 5-8 kids who attend regularly. Their first project: making a Summer Learning Club promotional video. And I have to say, I may have started crying the first time I watched it. I’m so stinking proud.

Better yet, aside from benefiting us, this program meets an actual community need: our local high school doesn’t offer a film class, so the library is the only resource for these kids.

I’m so excited to see how this program will develop. 🙂

June Book Display: LGBT Pride!

IMG_0320

One of my first projects here at my new library has been analyzing the YA fiction and nonfiction. Specifically, I’ve been weeding old titles that don’t circulate well and looking for collection gaps. One of the immediate gaps I noticed in my new collection was a lack of LGBT titles. With June being PRIDE month, I knew I wanted to do something about it.

So I went on a shopping spree and snagged some wonderful titles. I created a “PRIDE!” pennant banner and printed out LGBT triangles to hang in the window. Finally, I arranged the aforementioned titles and put them on display.

IMG_0321IMG_0322

I’m really pleased with how this display turned out. More importantly, I’m pleased that I can be an ally and promote diverse books. Next year, I’ll expand the display to include additional gender identities (asexual, pansexual, etc.) I want all of my teens to be able to have access to characters they can identify with.

I’ve included a list of some of my recommended titles below. Any others you think I should add? Comment and let me know!

LGBT READS

Lesbian:

Everything Leads to You

Ask the Passengers

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Ash

A Love Story Starring my Dead Best Friend

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Gay:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Two Boys Kissing

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Openly Straight

One Man Guy

Gone, Gone, Gone

 

Bi:

Grasshopper Jungle

Far From You

Empress of the World

Cut Both Ways

Fans of the Impossible Life

Boyfriends with Girlfriends

Not Otherwise Specified

Trans

Almost Perfect

Being Emily

I am J

Jumpstart the World

Beyond Magenta

Luna

An Update (AKA “Why I fell off the map”)

11150294_798998139919_3836558863127262690_n

In case you were wondering about my absence from cyberspace, I’ve got an exciting announcement to make: I’ve accepted a new position! I’ve been invited to be the full-time Teen Librarian at the Dalles-Wasco County Library in Oregon.

Yes. Oregon. I get to see mountains all day. 🙂

11169970_801707550239_8867796681225958345_n

I’ll be working to do what I did in Safety Harbor: rebuilding the teen program and helping it thrive. I’ll be posting again soon as the dust clears and things settle down. Thanks for your patience in the interim!

❤ – The Loudmouth