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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Friday Finds: April 20, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

#ReadForChange: Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Midnight at the Electric and climate change, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

YA A to Z: H is for Historical Fiction, a guest post by librarian Amanda Perez

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

YA A to Z: Friends and Troublemakers, a guest post by author Lisa Brown Roberts

Book Review: The Gender Identity Workbook for Kids: A Guide to Exploring Who You Are by Kelly Storck, Noah Grigni

MakerSpace: DIY Faux Enamel Pins

Sunday Reflections: The Truly High Cost of Childhood Trauma

Around the Web

Cue Up SYNC for Free Teen Audiobooks

Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading, Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature

The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World

Fake Teen Challenges


Friday Finds: April 13, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Keeping History Alive Through Inspiration L.B. Schulman, author of Stolen Secrets

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA April 2018

The Long Term Effects of Childhood Trauma and THE FALL OF INNOCENCE BY Jenny Torres Sanchez

Good Morning, USA, a guest post by Elizabeth Partridge

Book Review: Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge

Tools for Teen Engagement by Michelle Biwer

Sunday Reflections: What if we are our own worst enemies? A reflection on librarianship.

Around the Web

The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma

Buffy the Vampire Slayer getting new book series from Simon Pulse

‘The Simpsons’ To ‘The Problem With Apu': Drop Dead

“Roseanne,” the Rust Belt and the dangers of the single story

Teachers Protest; Discipline Disparities Persist; Trans Students In The Classroom

YouTube Star Paige McKenzie and Author Nancy Ohlin Team for YA Supernatural Series

5 Things Youth of Color Want White Gun Control Advocates to Know


Tools for Teen Engagement by Michelle Biwer

Below are a few resources that have helped me improve my electronic communication and expand my reach to teens in my community.


Mailchimp is a marketing email platform that is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. I use it to send updates and opportunities to teen volunteers because I have over 150 and Outlook can’t handle that volume of email. It can be used to create templates and schedule emails in advance, as well as maintain listservs easily. You can even import your current listserv. I find it easy to use and it saves me a lot of administrative time. Also, you can add logos to your emails and other design elements that will make your communications with teens look more polished.


Remind is a service that can text or email people signed up to a list. It was designed for schools and has a lot of advanced functionality related to needs of teachers and parents, but I have been using it to reach teens at the public library for the past few years. I advertise the code to join our teen department’s Remind list on all our programming flyers and announce it at each Teen Advisory Board Meeting. Usually teens are more likely to check their texts than their emails, so I use it when I need to update them about emergency library closings, if I need volunteers for an event coming up soon, or even just that there are a few teen programs that week they might be interested in. As a best practice, I only send out one Remind per week.


Signupgenius is a free program I use to list upcoming teen volunteer opportunities. It is available for free but my library system has purchased Signupgenius Silver for $9.99 a month. A few extra features that come with the Silver plan are no ads on signups, customized signup and reminder emails, and customized contact information. A key to running a successful volunteer program that benefits the library is to have a clear cancellation policy that can be easily found by teens. I go over mine when teens become volunteers, but I also post it to the top of every signupgenius and include it in all of the customized signup and reminder emails. I find that using signupgenius and its reminder functionality greatly improves volunteer attendance at the library and makes it easy for volunteers to see what they have signed up for in the past.

(insert signupgenius photo)

Have any other suggestions of communication tools that have worked well at your library? Please let me know in comments.

Friday Finds: April 6, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Book Review: How You Ruined My Life by Jeff Strand

Book Review: Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles edited by Jessica Burkhart

Striking Teachers Deserve Our Support

Collecting Comics: April 2018 with Ally Watkins

Book Review: Antipodes by Michele Bacon

Book Review: Examining Toxic Masculinity in TRADITION by Brendan Kiely

Around the Web

What Are Active-Shooter Drills Doing to Kids?

Teenage Vandals Were Sentenced to Read Books. Here’s What One Learned.

“I feel mentally numb”: more teachers are working part-time jobs to pay the bills

The hidden crisis on college campuses: Many students don’t have enough to eat



Striking Teachers Deserve Our Support

Teachers play a critical role in the lives of our youth and they have long been neglected by both state legislatures and local communities. Certainly there are isolated schools and school systems with adequate support, but these are the exception, not the rule. Not only do many teachers work long hours for ridiculously low pay and meager benefits, but they are struggling to do critical work with few resources, both material and human. Because these individuals are the most likely to understand the needs of the students they serve, the last thing they want to see is a strike that puts students out of school. Witness the efforts of teachers during the West Virginia strike to ensure that students had adequate food to get them through the days when schools were closed. We owe our support to these public servants. One of the best ways to start is by becoming informed on the situations and issues of concern. Below you will find a round up of articles to help you get started.

Fed up with school spending cuts, Oklahoma teachers walk out

Teachers Are Marching Ahead Of Their Unions, In Oklahoma And Arizona

Oklahoma And Kentucky Teachers Go On Strike, Demanding More Education Funding

West Virginia teachers strike ends with just one more quick fix *

*A coworker’s spouse works as a teacher in West Virginia and while it may seem like a victory in their case it was definitely mixed results.

Collecting Comics: April 2018 with Ally Watkins

collectingcomicsCheck out these April comics that your teens and tweens will love!


34499251Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick, illustrated by Thomas Taylor (First Second, April 3). Scarlett is from a long line of monster hunters, and she’s determined to keep her family’s legacy alive, even if she’s too young to be licensed by the monster hunters’ union. With the help of a friend and a bunch of cool gadgets, Scarlett is fighting monsters and hunting down the corrupt monster hunter that killed her parents…


61xGBkW-RtL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks by Various (BOOM! Box, April 3). This volume is a collection of short tales involving our five fearless Lumberjanes scouts and their pals. This trade paperback collects all of the Lumberjanes Special Issues, including Beyond Bay Leaf, Making the Ghost of It, and Faire and Square. Your kids that love Lumberjanes will be thrilled to have more stories from this world!


Paper Girls Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson (Image Comics, April 10). The paper delivery girls are back! Tiffany is launched from prehistoric times into an alternate version of the year 2000 where Y2K went very differently. Collects issues #16-#20 of the comic book series.


Science Comics: Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter by Joe Flood (First Second, April 17). This nonfiction graphic work in the popular Science Comic series is all about sharks. Filled with amazing illustrations of undersea creatures and facts about everything from hammerheads to great whites to nurse sharks, this volume will amaze your animal lovers and your nonfiction lovers!


Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2: Most Wanted by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Juan Frigeri and Adam Kubert (Marvel, April 24). Peter is back in his neighborhood, but he finds himself to be under suspicion by the police. Is Spiderman a friend or a threat? This trade features stories with Black Panther, the Tinkerer, and the Mason. Collects issues #297-300 of the comic book series.


Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Nina Vakueva (BOOM! Box, April 24). Chris is super excited–she’s just landed her dream job: working at her local record store. She’s dealing with getting adjusted into her new job, and maybe even a crush on her coworker Maggie, when something weird happens: her favorite singer disappears the night of a show. That’s when Chris finds out that her coworkers are more that just record store employees: they’re a vigilante fight club! Collects the entire limited series, previously called Hi Fi Fight Club.


9781626724570The City on the Other Side by Mairgread Scott, illustrated by Robin Robinson (First Second, April 24). Isabel is a good girl from high society San Francisco, and her life is very quiet, until she accidentally breaches a wall between two worlds and into the war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Only Isabel can stop the war and the destruction of the fairy world, and her own.


61NPpbJ08JL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (First Second, April 24). All Vera wants to do is fit in–but that’s not easy for the Russian daughter of a single mom. The one thing they can afford is Russian summer camp. Vera is sure she’ll fit in there, but nothing has prepared her for the drama that she finds.

Bonus Non-Comic:


The Flash: Johnny Quick (The Flash Book 2) by Barry Lyga (Amulet Books, April 10). In this second book of The Flash middle grade series, Barry Allen continues to protect Central City from Hocus Pocus, but a new evil may be lurking beneath the streets.

Friday Finds: March 30, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Book Review: The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

YA A to Z: Being Heard – Anne Frank, Diaries and Teens, a discussion of Anne Frank with Author Mary Amato

Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Book Review: Rookie on Love edited by Tavi Gevinson

YA A to Z: Financial Literacy and Teens by Michelle Biwer

Sunday Reflections: This is What Happened When I Took My Teen to See Love, Simon

Around the Web

Jacqueline Woodson wins the world’s largest prize for children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Understanding Transgender Teens

LGBTQ+ Diversity In YA Novels Is Getting Better, But Queer Girls Are Still Being Left Behind

Canceled Deals and Pulped Books, as the Publishing Industry Confronts Sexual Harassment

Why So Many Public Libraries Are Now Giving Out Seeds

Constantin Film Preps Young Adult Fantasy Feature ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’



YA A to Z: Financial Literacy and Teens by Michelle Biwer

13489777212478Media literacy and fake news have been hot topics in youth services lately, but financial literacy is often lower on the radar of educators and students. Most states do not require students to take finance classes in school.

April is Financial Literacy Month, so now is a great time to highlight personal finance topics at your library. One option is to bring in a speaker. In the past I have invited a representative from a local credit union to talk about basic money management practices. There are also many online resources with finance guides for educators and young people, including from the Federal Reserve.

If you want to go a less formal route, there are a number of resources that could be featured on a bookmark or display in the teen area of your library.

Mint is a free online budgeting tool which can be used to help you set and reach your financial goals. Teens may like that it also has an app for tablets and smartphones. PC Mag ranks Mint highly.

Nerdwallet is a website which allows you to compare different financial institutions, credit cards, insurance and more. It does not require a login and is free to access.

The Financial Diet is a Youtube channel targeted towards young adults that covers finance topics in a simple way.

Planet Money is an NPR podcast that covers genuinely interesting topics related to money in a humorous and relatable way that will appeal to teens.

Am I missing resources you have promoted with your teens? Let me know in comments.

Friday Finds: March 23, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Book Review: Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Putting the Science Back in Library Science: Collection Development, Diversity Audits, & Understanding Teens – Analyzing Data for Decision Making

Collecting Comics: March 2018 with Ally Watkins

#ReadForChange: American Dreams and Nightmares in Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

YA A to Z: Guilt, Shame and Blame – Heroin Overdose Deaths in Teen Fiction, a guest post by Kerry Sutherland

Around the Web

Native American Literary Symposium’s 2018 “Welcome” Includes Statement about Sherman Alexie; Public Backlash to American Indian Library Association’s Decision to Rescind Alexie’s Award

The Big Student Walkout; DeVos On School Safety; The First Amendment On Campus

ACLU: Student suspended for cursing after call to congressman’s office during gun protest

Young Futurists 2018: These Are the Leaders This Country So Desperately Needs



Friday Finds: March 16, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Book Review: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu

New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

Why I DNFed MUNMUN by Jesse Andrews and Won’t Be Recommending It

Book Review: Monsters Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado, a guest review by Callum (age 11)

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA March 2018

Event Recap: NoVa Teen Book Festival by Michelle Biwer

Sunday Reflections: It’s Okay to Sit a Moment in Your Pain

Around the Web

Stoneman Douglas student tells 60 Minutes why arming teachers is “stupid”

National Book Awards Judges Announced

6 YA Books to Read After You’ve Seen Love, Simon

These Photos Show The Strength Of Students As They Protest Gun Violence

National Geographic Editor Admits: ‘Our Coverage Was Racist’