Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Happy New Year – Some Announcements & A GIVEAWAY

Happy New Year! First, want to thank you for an awesome 2012.  We could not have done it without you, so from the bottom of our hearts – thank you!  For 2013, we have a new look (we hope you like it), some announcements (they are juicy), and a chance for you to win a box of 5 YA books/ARCs (YAY!). Please read on.

It’s a Mystery! Meet 3 New YA Imprints

In January, in addition to all of our regular posting and book reviewing, we will be spotlighting Mysteries and introducing you to three new YA Imprints: SOHO Teen, Month9Books and Merit Press.  The week of January 14-18 will be dedicated to SOHO Teen as TLTer Stephanie Wilkes introduces you to their new mystery books.

And Baby Makes More

If you follow Stephanie on Twitter then you know that she is going to have a baby soon – yay! So she will be taking a little bit of a break for a few months to welcome that new bundle of joy into this world.  We can’t wait! (But we are going to miss her and will welcome her back with open arms.)

Someday We’ll Find It, the Rainbow Connection

Christie G. has been nominated as the chair of the Rainbow Committee for 2014. The Rainbow Project puts together each year’s Rainbow List, a selection of quality LGBTQ titles.  She’ll be sharing her experiences throughout the year.  Look for her at Midwinter and ask her what she has been reading.

Booktalk This!

Kearsten, the YA Librarian from Arizona who inspired the #mustacheyoutoread project, will be joining us as a regular contributor by sharing her monthly booktalk feature.  Here, she will share 5 booktalks around a theme that you can use in your library.  We are so excited to have Kearsten on board because she is passionate, dedicated, and fits right in with us.

Kearsten is the second from the right on the bottom, right between The Mr. and Heather Booth


As we speak, techy people are working to make us a networked blog with VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates).  This is very exciting for me because it has been my number 1 tool since the very beginning, when I had no idea what we were doing.  I squealed with excitement in 2001 when I was chosen to become a VOYA reviewer.  I was on the receiving end of Stephanie’s call last year when she also squealed after becoming a reviewer for VOYA.

Answer Some Questions, Win Some Books

Drumroll please . . .

And finally, Heather Booth and I are writing a book! Technically, we have been writing a book for a year now and now that it seems like we really are going to turn in a rough draft, we thought we would tell you about it.  Our book is called The Whole Teen Library Handbook and we are writing it for ALA Editions.  We have gotten a lot of help from other ya librarians, including our very own Stephanie and Christie.  We can’t say thank you enough to those who are contributing their thoughts and experiences.  But we want to make sure we cover everything that needs to be covered and need your help.  Please answer any or all of the following questions in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a box of 5 books/ARCs.  Be sure to leave an e-mail address or Twitter follow back so we can get in touch with you.  And if you would like, you can e-mail me your answers at kjensenmls@yahoo.com with the subject heading TWTLH and be entered to win.

Survey Questions

1. What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian?

2. What part of your job were you not prepared for?

3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student?

4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . .

5. I work with teens because . . .


  1. I am a recent graduate from Emporia State. I hope to get a teen job soon!
    1. I wish I had taken more classes or had more instruction on programming and bridging the gap between schools and public libraries.
    2. Hopefully I will be well prepared! Or maybe have some mentors to help me!
    3. Connect with local teen librarians and tour their library and ask questions. I learned more through my visits than in some of my lessons.
    4. Getting to go to the YALSA lit symposium. Learned so much!
    5. They are simply awesome, creative, multi-layered beings that fun and challenging to work with.

  2. I am a school librarian catering to 7th-12th grades.
    1. I wish I know more about technology, social media and how to incorporate this into the library.
    2. The scope and diversity of dealing with 7th graders up to 12th graders.
    3. Enjoy reading and give yourself time to accumulate knowledge.
    4. Starting a book club. and starting a cake decorating contest based on reading/books which created a lot of interest in the library.
    5. They keep me young.

  3. Natalie K says:

    1. What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian? Sometimes everything. I wish I knew more about how to create exciting programs that get them in the building. I create what I think are fun programs and some stick & others fall very flat. I find it very difficult to get any attendance during the school year, so I wish I knew better ways to promote the classes.

    2. What part of your job were you not prepared for? Most of it. I was a children's librarian for most of my years, so I never took any teen literature classes or young adult librarian classes in library school.

    3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student? Intern! I learned so much about being a librarian, answering patron questions, and doing reader's advisory doing internships.

    4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . . having successful summer reading club programs. My teens have been coming to the programs for the last 2 years and it's been great being able to see them in the building.

    5. I work with teens because . . . I love them. They are excited about their future, they are fun and I am in love with their enthusiasm. I am socially awkward and can understand them at this stage in their development.

    I can be found on Twitter as bookslover

  4. 1. I wish that I knew more about grant writing and how to find grants for things like author visits. I wish I knew how to collaborate with teachers more effectively.

    2. I was not prepared for how difficult it is to work with our technology department. It is such an important relationship – what they do is vital to my success. However, as much as I realize that their priorities are not my priorities, sometimes I don't know how to get the help that I need without offending or causing too much a of a stir or just seeming too demanding or self-important. So sometimes, it's a long time before I get something I need.

    3. Read. Read. Read. The more YA lit you've read, the easier it is to help teens. Most of my job consists of technology troubleshooting and recommending books to students.

    4. Biggest triumph hands down is getting a grant and bringing Chris Crutcher to our school. Amazing experience for me, for teachers, for students. This experience was practically the highlight of my life.

    5. …because they don't steal my seasonal decorations like my younger students did! No, just kidding (sort of). I love teens. They get such a bad rap (is that the word I'm looking for?) from society, but I feel like I see the best side of every kid. I'm not the one who has given an assignment or is grading or evaluating them. I can just help them with what they need without any kind of judgment. It's very rewarding.

    or Twitter @deejay0723

  5. 1. What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian?
    I wish I knew more about advertising and promotion – getting teens in the door and into my programs! I feel marketing was discussed in my classes but it is still a constant effort to work on this and do it better.

    2. What part of your job were you not prepared for?
    I was not prepared for the struggle that it can be to get into the schools and partner with teachers and get our programs advertized in the school announcements. And all the decorating! Sigh, not my favorite part of the job.

    3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student?
    Be open to new experiences! I wasn't looking exactly to become a teen librarian but it has been so wonderful and rewarding so far. The teens aren't as scary as they seem. I have fun at my job every day. And so many of my favorite books are YA so the books part is super rewarding too.

    4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . . Teen Read Week Zombie Prom! I had a good number of teens and they had a lot of fun.

    5. I work with teens because . . . they are lots of fun and I feel that they are at such an exciting time in their lives and a time when a listening ear, an adult who cares can really make a world of difference in their lives.

  6. Sorry. Email address is alliwalli8@hotmail.com

  7. . What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian?

    2. What part of your job were you not prepared for?

    That's a really hard question, but I'd say I wasn't prepared by school for the daily patron interactions (customer service) aspect of the job, but had previous experience that prepared me for it personally. I knew it was involved of course, but we never truly dealt with it in professional training. It's such a HUGE part of what we do.

    3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student?

    Like teaching, librarianship is a job you should do because you love and believe in it. You won't get rich, it can be incredibly challenging at times, and many won't get what it even *is.* But if you love the job, it's totally worth it.

    4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . .

    Beginning a teen program in my last (and first) library where there had been none. Our teen summer reading participation doubled (at least) over the two summers I was there.

    5. I work with teens because . . .

    I really enjoy the age group. I joke that it's because at 30 I still haven't matured myself, but that's *probably* only part of it =) Teens are smart, savvy, and there is so much more to them (of course, they ARE people after all) than some of us adults give them credit for. Yes, they can be sulky and angsty at times and waffle between mature adult behavior and that of grade school kids, but if you show them you respect them, they'll respect you and suprise you (in a good way) more often than not. And they lack the jaded outlook of so many of us older folk 😉

    Malissa Koenig


    PS Feel free to edit any spelling/grammar errors if you decide to quote me on anything … Typing quickly at the end of the day.

  8. 1. What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian? Technology-that always seems to be where I am lacking. I always feel behind everyone else. I don't pick up on new tech things quickly.

    2. What part of your job were you not prepared for? Maybe…actually teaching a lesson and everything else that goes into preparing for it. There is always so much to do in any typical day (like we have a 'typical' day).

    3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student?…One piece of advise I received as a new teacher was to become friends with the custodians of your building. It is good to know who they are and to offer chocolate often.

    4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . .is helping my students find the 'just right book'. My students are all 'different learners' and I know the struggle and frustration of having trouble reading/learning. I love helping them find a book they fall in love with and then want to read more!

    5. I work with teens because . . .I love helping them be the best they can be! As I said above, I know what they are going through and I want to help them. I didn't have that in school, it was my mom (and dad) who helped me!

  9. Anonymous says:

    1. I wish I had known more about social work. A lot of what I do in interacting with teens is definitely not taught in library school! Maybe more classes about teen development and more classes about where to find resources for teens who have problems in their personal lives.

    2. I was not so prepared for public speaking but that's really my fault and it hasn't every been easy for me. I am shy!

    3. One piece of wisdom I would pass on is to really emphasize your personal interests in your career. Are you really interested in music? Graphic novels? Manga? Horror? And if there isn't anything you can quickly point out as a personal interest you aren't thinking hard enough!

    4.My biggest triumph has been getting a TeenZone built at my branch!

    5. I work with teens because I remember being a teen and feelings that I sometimes had that there weren't any understanding adults around me. Also it helps that I love teen books and popular culture!

  10. Anonymous says:

    1. How to get teens to see our library as a great place to gather with their friends.
    2. Keeping up with reading the YA novels, I love many of them but can't seem to stay current on reading them.
    3. I don't have an MLS and suspect that what's being taught in the programs wouldn't agree with me but, as an authentic biblical Christian I've struggled with all the paranormal books and YA authors writing that homosexuality is natural/normal (there is another side to the debate).
    4. No longer having to spend much of my workday mending audio items in my library (I'm the YA/AV Librarian), finally turned over to Tech services!
    5. I enjoy their energy, but am beginning to wonder if I'm the best person in our library (after 12 yrs.) for this position anymore.

  11. 1. What do you wish you knew more about to be a better YA Librarian? How to convince others that services to teens really ARE important.

    2. What part of your job were you not prepared for? The many needs that the library can't provide for teens. Shelter, food, a bath…

    3. What 1 piece of wisdom would you pass on to an MLS student? Sure there aren't many jobs out there, but you only need ONE job. Put out those applications and go for it!

    4. My biggest triumph so far has been . . . boosting use of a library database 182 percent through in-school database training.

    5. I work with teens because . . . they're our future. Also, they're really really fun.

  12. Anonymous says:

    1. What kinds of activities teens would really like to have in the library and where to post the information about them so they find it.

    2. How many teens would come into the library from really tough family lives and how important my steady guidance is to them.

    3. Keep your idea of what library service is wide open. It's changing and will a lot of diverse skills.

    4. Successful school presentations that draw students into reading.

    5. I work with teens because they are just on the cusp of becoming adults and I want to encourage them to enjoy reading, learning, and other interests that they will find satisfying as adults.

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