Fitness Friday #1: Yoga

27988807885_1400c81861_b

For our first Fitness Friday, we had a teen yoga class. It was lead by certified instructor, Shannon Red Cloud, who owns the local yoga studio.

Shannon began the class by having the teens write down how they were feeling on a piece of paper. She then spoke about yoga as a means of self care and how, both physically and emotionally, it’s important not to “move into a place of pain.” Shannon did a beautiful job us using yoga as a metaphor for life before leading our intrepid teens into a series of poses.

13458509_10154020593122107_6968689445942641386_o

At the end of the class, Shannon had the teens write down their feelings on their papers again to see if anything had changed.

IMG_0693

I was really pleased that a few guys turned up for our program. I’ve been trying to convince them that things like yoga aren’t “just for girls.” We all need to take care of ourselves. Hopefully, the teens walked away with the knowledge that yoga can be a way to do that.

Total Attendance: 8 teens

Resources:

Yoga for Teens by Shawna Schenk

Yoga Exercises for Teens: Developing a Calmer Mind and a Stronger Body by Helen Purperhart

Breathe: Yoga for Teens by Mary Kay Chryssicas

Teen Yogi – Yoga for Teenagers (DVD)

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

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

Teen MLK “Black Lives Matter” Display

IMG_3335“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In the wake of the events in Ferguson and New York, when January rolled around I knew I had to do something. As a teen librarian, I want to inspire my teens to slip into the shoes of others. I want them to feel empathy, to stand up for their fellow citizens, and make a difference in our community.

Add to that the fact Martin Luther King day was January 19th, and I knew right away what I needed to do: create a book display featuring African-American protagonists.

I specifically zeroed-in on books that dealt with issues of social justice: equality, poverty, GLBT issues. I wanted books that, just like the lives of their protagonists, mattered. I also made mini posters featuring quotes by famous African Americans – Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., etc – and put them in the windows.

IMG_3342

IMG_3340

IMG_3338

I’m posting the titles that I included in my display below. Since February is African-American history month, I challenge you to read as many of these titles as you can (and encourage your teens to do the same). The only way to combat ignorance is through education, and books like these can be powerful tools.

MLK Book Display Titles:

Tyrell by Coe Booth

Bronxwood by Coe Booth

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Cy in Chains by David L. Dudley

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Know of any titles I should’ve added? Please post them below. Let’s make this an ongoing conversation. Black lives matter.

Children’s Hanukkah Craft and Story Time

YS December 2014 130In my quest to support diversity at our branch, I did something we’ve never done before: a Hanukkah Craft and Story Time. After all, if we offer a Christmas Craft & Story Time, we should do one for Hanukkah too!

Supplies:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Washable markers
  • Stickers
  • Adhesive jewels, stickers, etc.

I started off by asking the kids what they knew about Hanukkah (since we had some curious, non-Jewish kids in the group). This gave me a chance to gauge their understanding and introduce them to the basics (Menorahs, the Maccabees, Latkes, etc.) Then I let the kiddos choose which story they wanted to read. This year, they decided on Hoppy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser.

This image was borrowed from Amazon.com

This image was borrowed from Amazon.com

Afterwards, I turned the kids loose to make our craft: Star of David ornaments that they could hang around their homes or on their tree (for interfaith families).

YS December 2014 119

YS December 2014 115

Next year, I think I’d like to go even bigger: bring in some gelt, bake some latkes, etc. Otherwise, it was a successful program and everyone had a great time.

YS December 2014 128