Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011: A Year of Author Visits, Teen Participation & An Awesome Summer

As a teen librarian, I am always planning things anywhere from 4-6 months in advance. This past year was no exception. There was little or no break in between programs. One flowed into the other. It's no surprise then that I ran myself into the ground, and forgot to take care of me in the process.

Luckily, this year was also the year of HELP. In a teen librarian's world, there's usually just you. That's it. A singular person as a department. I have been the one who ordered the books, planned the programs, went on outreach to high schools, planned summer reading club, sat on half a dozen committees, and...it's exhausting. But this year, I had help.

Our teen council grew exponentially through word-of-mouth and visits to high schools. I received three more applications at our Gaming Marathon on Friday night. Three in one night because a council member referred his friends. Our council is entering its 4th year, which is crazy for me. I can't believe it's been going for this long.

The first couple of years we had a steady number of teens between 5 and 10. Now we average between 18 and 25 a meeting. And they're AWESOME teens. They help setup, run the events, and clean up at the end. They plan programs from the brainstorming stage to picking out decorations to taking the photographs at the events.

These teens are the most hands-on teens I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They make my life easier, and it shows everyone else (staff, parents, other teens) that they are responsible, hard-working, and take initiative. For a solitary librarian, it's possibly the best thing.

In addition to our teen council, I turned one of our library assistants to the YA side. She graduated this past year with her MLS and wanted to gain more programming experience. With her help, we hosted 10 teen summer reading club programs at our library location. Including four events with two YA authors. It was a first for our library. We feed off of one another's enthusiasm--and have a tendency to escalate our ideas. We've already booked two for summer 2012.

So here's a breakdown of this past year's highlights:

  • 51 Total Programs

  • Summer Reading Club - 4th year of separate teen club, 440 teen participants, and almost 9,900 hours read in 10 weeks

  • Teen Council participated in community input meeting for the new library's design. They convinced the architects to have a Teen Focus Group. The result was a complete redesign of the planned teen area--relocating it to its own larger, enclosed space. Can't wait to see it built!

  • 2 Gaming Marathons including intro of Kinect Gaming (*down from 2010)

  • 12 movie days including 3 marathons (Teen Tech Week: Mix & Mash, Twisted Tales, Martial Arts)

  • 6 author events including two "teens only" parties, three evening author visits & book signings, and one Skype visit

  • 1 annual Holiday Gift Wrapping program with greater numbers than the two previous years. Our teen council wrapped over 150 presents in 5 hours for the public. I received numerous compliments from attendees!