Category Archives: Libraries

What I have learned after a year of being a solo practitioner (an incomplete list)

  • There are possibly five people in the school apart from me who have any idea about what I do (two of them are students)
  • I am on my own (in the school)
  • In the UK I am one of many (twitter, e-mail)
  • In the year that I have not had them I have developed a lot of respect for the backroom teams of cataloguers, book processors and those that handle orders in public libraries – I miss them!
  • It takes me approximately 10 minutes to process a softcover book – from cataloguing to covering
  • Time is NOT on my side
  • It has taken me a year to *almost* be happy with the layout of the library (I have changed it six times during the year)
  • Students will never tell you that they like a particular layout but once you have changed it and they finally notice it is different they will complain
  • The Justin Bieber biography is one of the most popular leisure reading non-fiction books in the school
  • The One Direction biography is the most requested non-fiction title (I have not bought it as my budget did not allow)
  • The English Department is my friend (but they can’t have my budget)
  • Chewing gum is the work of the devil (but I knew that anyway)
  • National Geographic magazine has not been opened in the year that I have worked at my school (bye bye)
  • Tips on Working with Teens: Props are Important

    Props can be broken down into three categories:

    Active, Passive and Inbetween/Interactive props

    Active Props

    Active props are those that you can use to initiate conversation with a teen or group of teens, these can be books, magazines or things as simple as a sign up sheet for a group activity.

    A book is perhaps the easiest and simplest prop to use. If you are new to the library you do not want to go out brandishing a book; the first thing to do is find out where the teens lurk in your library. These days it is usually the Teen/YA area. You need to be in that area before the teens arrive, working not just loitering as (unless you are a teen yourself) hanging around a teen area can give the wrong impression. Once they have gotten used to your presence and started treating yu like part of the furniture you may be able to pick up on their interests and reading habits. The next time they come in to the library you can have a book in your hand that tallies with what you gleaned from their activities previously and when they start chatting you could insert yourself into their conversation with a “If you like that then you may enjoy this!” and showcase the book. Even if they do not take the book you will at least have been able to initiate conversation which can make things easier in future.

    A piece of paper can have many uses, firstly it can be used to take notes after you have said something along the lines of: “Hi I am [insert name here] and I am the new Teen/Youth Services/ Young Adult Librarian and I am hoping to run clubs and activities for young people in the library, what sort of groups would you like to see here?” Then you could either jot down what they say, or give each of them a sheet clearly marked with a space for names and ideas.

    Passive props

    These are generally things that you wear or can have on your desk or around you if you are working in the Teen Area.  They can also be more exciting and in some cases unique.

    The most successful passive prop I own is a Domo-kun lanyard that I used to use to hold my library name badge, there was a massive manga reading group of young people that used to come in and when they saw it they invariably asked where I got it, and, could they have it?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    More recently I have become the proud owner of a Mockingjay pin; now that gets a lot of attention – from teens as well as adults who are in the know, I have received the usual questions as to where I got it and can they have it, not only that but I have created a dystopia novel conversation group in my library based on a single pin (and the multimillion advertising for the movie and the books).
    Hats can work as props, but are more limiting indoors, clothing can also be used but depending on the dress code where you work your mileage may vary!

     

     

    In-between or Interactive props

    These are props that fall somewhere between Active and Passive ones, they can include musical instruments, games consoles and even plush furry toys.

    The furry beast is a prop that I used infrequently and mostly when one or more of the kids I worked with were upset – giving I teen a hug is just about acceptable for a female librarian but for a male member of staff it is the sort of thing that can get you reported for improper behaviour, but having something plush for them to cuddle until they feel better is a lot safer all round.

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    My ukulele has attracted a lot of attention in my current library as I take it in to practice during my lunch break but games consoles will give you an automatic audience no matter where you are!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Any number of props can be used to engage with young people, especially if it is something that you are personally interested in or know a lot about.  They do not have to be big or expensive – cheap and cheerful items work just a swell as long as they are eye catching then that is all you need.

    We Love Libraries – The Movie

    Courtesy of http://www.welovelibraries.co.uk/

    Toshokan Senso (Library Wars)

    In a slightly different timeline than ours, the explosion of information and misinformation came to be considered a direct threat to society. In a daring decision, it was decided to create a new government agency dedicated solely to information management. Some thirty years later, in 2019, the government still monitors and controls information, suppressing anything they find undesirable, but standing against their abuses of power are the libraries, with their special agents called ‘the book soldiers.’

    This all sounds really familiar! Suppressing information, cutting access to books and people think it only happens in fiction! Guess not – who knew that manga could foretell the future?

    I like the idea of being a Book Soldier, the first shots in defending Libraries and access to books are being fired as we speak. Do we as librarians that work with young people have a duty to educate our Teens on how to protest the cutting of the EMA, provision of addresses of MPs, during the reading groups and activity sessions should we be able to run letter writing workshops to Parliament to protest the cuts. I am working on a how-to create a ‘zine programme that I will post up here soon, maybe even a workshop on protest sign making.

    The youth are already rising up, I think we have a responsibility to guide them on how to do it safely (and legally)!

    You can grab Library Wars from Amazon here or ask at you rlocal comic or speciality bookshop.

    International Children's Digital Library: a Library for the World's Children


    Mission Statement

    The mission of the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation (ICDL Foundation) is to support the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge. The Foundation pursues its vision by building a digital library of outstanding children’s books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children.

    Foundation Goals

    Collection

    To create a collection of more than 10,000 books in at least 100 languages that is freely available to children, teachers, librarians, parents, and scholars throughout the world via the Internet. The materials included in the collection reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, lifestyles, and priorities of peoples around the world. The collection’s focus is on identifying materials that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live. It is hoped that through a greater understanding of one another that tolerance and acceptance can be achieved.

    Education

    To develop a greater understanding of the relationship between children’s access to a digital collection of multicultural materials and children’s attitudes toward books, libraries, reading, technology, and other countries and cultures.

    Technology

    To collaborate with children as design partners in the development of computer interface technologies that support children in searching, browsing, reading, and sharing books in electronic form.

    Business

    To provide a platform for operational excellence that insures the Library grows in strict accordance with it strategic priorities and in a manner that leverages its outstanding human and intellectual resources to achieve the Library’s mission of reaching as many children as possible with the best of children’s literature.

    http://www.childrenslibrary.org/

    Bond… James Bond @ Plymouth Headspace

    Plymouth HeadSpace project – a place where young people 11-19 can read/listen/surf/chill every Tuesday night.

    A group of 15-19s HeadSpace at Efford Library recently hosted their own James Bond themed night called Bond James Bond. The library became the Casino Royale for the evening! The group were made over by professionals and took part in a glamorous photo shoot for the local Evening Herald newspaper. After the photo shoot we took part in a quiz hosted by Q, played Poker and chocolate roulette. This is a link to the article on the Evening Herald website and there are more photos on the Plymouth Libraries Flickr account.

    HeadSpace Efford also have their own blog and Twitter account, which young people and teen librarians can follow.

    The week that was

    I received two interesting e-mails this past week (more than two actually – but these were the only two that will be of interest to Librarians and blog readers – hopefully) – the first was about a library activity called ‘Library Trolley Dash’ it will be run with a group of young offenders. It sounds really cool (I can never rember if one is still allowed to use that word as it amy be uncool) and I can’t wait to hear how it went. The how-to follows below:

    – Library trolley dash –

    Find as many books as you can from this list.

    Write the title and Dewey number underneath:

    A true story of a sports person’s life written by a biographer

    An award-winning story

    A book you read at primary school or at home

    A guide on a sport of your choice

    A 2006 Dance CD

    A DVD you would recommend

    A guide to speaking a European language

    An autobiography of a famous person of your choice


    The group will be divided into two teams. The winner will have the most books and Dewey numbers on their sheet and will receive a small prize.

    The second e-mail concerned the creation of a new discussion list that has been created for the discussion of Graphic Novels in UK Libraries – it is based upon the GNLIB list in the USA but will have a UK bias.

    To join the list go to: GNLIBUK – it will be an invaluable resource as so much of what is available has an American bias, it would be good to get an idea of the state of GN reading in UK Libraries.