Happy Friday everyone!
This week I got the pleasure to interview local Teen Librarian, Angela Bivona.
She will be coming to meet us at our We Cosplay event next Tuesday!
No matter if you are into Cosplay or not, this event will be awesome! She will be showing some of her own costume pieces (Akatsuki from Log Horizon!) and bringing supplies for us to make our own LED bracelets!
She got the instructions on how to create these through Instructables.com. People submit tutorials to do pretty much anything from recipes to IKEA hacking. Not everything is useful for libraries but some of it definitely is.
Here’s some things she wanted to share about being a Teen Librarian
Q: Why did you want to become a Teen Librarian?
A: I identify a lot more with teens and what they are going through. I grew up in an era where there wasn’t a lot for teens to do. Teens couldn’t do anything unless they drove. In the local library, teen outreach and programs was not emphasized as much as family and children programming. Now I can make an option of creating a place for teens to go to, to be part of the community.
Q: How do you identify with teens?
A: Growing up in an air force family, I moved around a lot. I was constantly trying to find a sense of where I am, who I am. With many teens, I’m able to share that sense of trying to belong. I understand their awkward phases. This makes me approachable to talk to about resources or book recommendations.
My interests coincide with theirs a lot of the time. I love anime, manga/comics, and video games (I’m a proud gamer!). I follow pop culture stuff in order to always have relevant recommendations.
Q: What are some characteristics of a great teen librarian?
A: A lot of people forget what it was like to be a teen. To be a great teen librarian, you have to at least remember what it was like to be a teen and how awkward it was. You use that feeling to relate to them.
You also have to be:
- Nonjudgmental: you never know where the teens are coming from.
- Open: They can be sensitive about their lives and need to know that you won’t judge.
- Respectful: Teens can be a difficult age group to work with. The best way to have them respect you is to respect them. They do not fulfill the stereotype of troubling teens. They are all their own people trying to find where they fit in in life just like all of us.
- Patient: You have to work with them with a gentle heart.
- Adaptive to their learning style: This is important with teens but also with everyone. There are 3 types of learning styles: seeing, hearing, and doing. Everyone learns differently, and we have to adapt to that.
Q: What are ways to incorporate cosplay into teen programming?
A: You can create like we will on Tuesday or you can bring in other cosplayers and have a anime showing or some other type of gathering. As an example, there is an organization called the 501 legion that is a nonprofit that dresses up as stormtroopers for charity events. They are perfect for a Star Wars party!
Q: What other programs do you like to plan?
A: My most popular program is Melting Crayon Art. It is just crayon shavings and crayons, foamcore board, and a heat gun. The teens create the most creative pieces. I love being part of that process.
Some other programs are video game days, bottle cap necklace making, and a whole bunch of STEAM kits that my library system provides. They can create Lego robots, sound boards, and so much more!
There are also many teen volunteer programs like book buddies (where a teen is paired with an elementary school child to read together), teen advisory boards, and library volunteering. These are all great to help them ease into the professional world. They practice time management and workplace norms.
Q: What are some resources that you follow on a daily basis?
A: I follow so many things but the main ones are:
- VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) publication has great book reviews
- YALSA (wiki for great program ideas, calendar for display ideas.
- School Library Journal for book reviews as well.
- Teenlibrariantoolbox.com is your friend. Book review materials for ages 10-18. Hosted by SLJ.
You can’t read everything, so definitely look at a lot of reviews. Keep up to date on what books are being advertised in teen magazines (Entertainment Weekly too).
Q: Are there things you are still learning on the job?
A: All the time. Being a librarian is a constant day of learning. Since I’m a relatively new teen librarian, I’m learning everyday. I’m definitely still working on outreach and community engagement. It’s really important to get to know the school librarians, that’s how you get to go into schools. It’s something I need to work on because I’m introverted. But as I get to know people, I start to come out of my shell more.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in Teen Services?
A: The most important advice I can give you is to create a collaborative space. Collaborate with your coworkers, collaborate with other organizations. It’s amazing what can be accomplished and innovated when there are many minds going for the same goal.
Q: Are there any classes that you would recommend a future teen librarian to take?
A: Definitely take an introduction to young adult literature. You will read a lot but that’s how you get to know teen stuff. That in addition to reviews gives you a sense of what’s out there.
Also, reader’s advisory is huge! If you can speed-read (like me) than it’s easy but if not, look at reviews often and know where to find the information.
Lastly, don’t forget to ask questions. As I said before, the library is a collaborative environment. Ask questions of people who are looking for a book or who just read a new book. Ask your coworkers and mentors and you will be set!
Thank you Angela! We will see you Tuesday!