Meet TLT

Our Mission

Teen Librarian Toolbox (TLT) is a professional development website for teen librarians, created by Karen Jensen and collecting the experience of four MLS librarians and over 50 collective years of library work. Our mission is to to help libraries serving teens (and anyone who cares about teens) and to foster a community of professional development and resource sharing by providing quality information, discussions, book reviews and more.  We welcome guest posts and our book review policy can be found here.  We are available for presentations, seminars, and consulting on a limited basis. Contact us for more information.  


The TLT Staff

Karen Jensen, MLS
I have been a Young Adult/Teen Services Librarian for 20 years (let's say I started at the age of 10, shall we?) and love working with teens, teen fiction, and graphic design. I read, I don't cook. I have an undergraduate degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Youth Ministry with a minor in Psychology and I received my MLS from Kent State University in 2002I have been a reviewer for VOYA magazine since 2001. For the past 3 years I have been a part of the Wild Child Conference board.  I believe in the power of the 40 Developmental Assets and that the right book in the right hand can make all the difference.  TLT is my attempt to share my passion with my fellow teen services librarians - and you.  You can read my articles, Mpact: Building and Asset Builder's Coalition (VOYA, October 2011) and If You Feed Them, or Not, Will They Come?, (VOYA, February 2012), Tapping into Teens' Creativity and Turning Libraries into Makerspaces and Art Inspired by YA Lit (Both in VOYA, August 2013) in VOYA, the Voice of Youth Advocates.  Co-Author (with Heather Booth) of The Whole Teen Library Handbook coming in 2014 from ALA Editions. I am currently the part-time Youth Services Librarian, focusing on tweens and teens, at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas by day. 

My favorite reads include Chris Crutcher, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfeld, fantasy, science fiction and zombies (Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry is my absolute fave zombie book series thank you for asking). I am not so secretly in love with Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I have an amazing husband, known as The Mr., and two amazing little girls that I risked my life to bring into this world by battling a pregnancy illness known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (http://www.helpher.org/ for more info).  Learn more about HG in The ABCs of HG, an unconventional picture book done by yours truly. You can email me at kjensenmls (at )yahoo (dot)com. If there is no other name attached to a post, it's written by me. @tlt16on Twitter. This blog and all its content belongs to me and me alone and the thoughts and opinions expressed do not reflect those of my employer or VOYA Magazine. A 2014 Library Journal Movers and Shaker: Advocates

Christie Ross Gibrich, MLS
I have been in and around libraries since I was 8 and was checking people out at the library in the small town where my mom worked. I hold a BA from the University of Illinois-Urbana, and received my MLS from Texas Woman’s University in 2003. I am currently the Senior Librarian/ Branch Manager at the Tony Shotwell Life Center Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas, where in addition to serving as the manager to my awesome staff, I get to provide services and present programs to a diverse and vibrant population in a community shared building, which imparts its own opportunities and challenges. Since 2004 I have been very active within various American Library Association committees, including the Amelia Bloomer Project (final two years as co-chair), YALSA Web Committee, and YALSA’s Teen Services & the Whole Library Experience Institute at 2011 Midwinter Meeting. I’m currently serving on the Rainbow Project, which is a recommended bibliography of newly published books for youth birth through YA, and on YALSA's Teen Tech Week Committee. My favorite YA authors include Scott Westerfield, Cory Doctorow, Kim Harrison, Ellen Hopkins, Malinda Lo, David Levithan, Jillian Larkin, while my favorite genres include steampunk, zombies, vampires, and more to the fantasy side of science fantasy fiction. I have what may be unhealthy obsessions with various reality TV shows, comic book genre movies, video and board games, and the Disney parks. You can find me at mz_christie on twitter (all tweets are my own, no reflection on my employer or TLT, so fair warning) and I can be reached at library.groupie@gmail.com.

Heather Booth, MLS
I am the Teen Services Librarian at Thomas Ford Memorial Library in suburban Chicagoland. I have worked in libraries since 2001 and am the author of Serving Teens Through Reader's Advisory (ALA Editions, 2007) and the winner of Public Libraries' Feature Article Contest in 2006 for my article RA for YA. I also started the Teen Programming in Libraries (a collaborative board) on Pinterest and would be happy to add you as a collaborator there if you let me know. My library passions are matching the right book to the right reader and providing impecable customer service to everyone who walks in the library door.  I have been reviewing Books for Youth and Audiobooks for Booklist Magazine since 2006.  I can be reached at teenreadersadvisor (at) gmail (dot) com


Robin Willis, MLS
I am a School Library Media Specialist in Raleigh, NC, currently at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School. I have worked as a school librarian for 18 years, the past 15 in middle schools. Yes, I am one of those odd people who really enjoy middle school aged students! I know this makes me slightly unbalanced in the eyes of the world, but it is totally worth it. I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1990 with a BA in Religion (shout out to current most famous alum, Jon Stewart, who just barely edges out Thomas Jefferson in our nation’s consciousness.) Three years later I received my MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Other than reading, I count cooking and snuggling my friends’ children as top amongst my hobbies. My favorite author is Jasper Fforde; I’ve seen him speak three times at my fabulous local book store, Quail Ridge Books. Although I read a wide variety of novels, realistic fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres. I also enjoy anything with a warped sense of humor (shout out to Captain Underpants!) Some authors currently overflowing my personal bookshelves are Holly Black, Ally Carter, Rachel Hawkins, Libba Bray, Lish McBride, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Rebecca Stead. I will watch anything that has come into contact with Joss Whedon. I’m an avid Nerdfighter and user of social media. I spend way too much time on Twitter and am happiest when I can answer research-type questions from the authors I follow. I live with two very sweet, very spoiled cats. For updates about my cats and pictures of various homemade baked goods, you can follow me on Twitter @RobinReads (a personal account whose opinions are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or TLT.) You can also reach me at robinreads (at) bellsouth (dot) net – although Twitter is probably quicker.
 
Other People Who Help Make TLT Happen

Stephanie Wilkes, MLIS
Previously the Young Adult Coordinator for the Ouachita Parish Public Library in Monroe, Louisiana, I am now transitioning to a middle school librarian position. I've been a 'librarian' since 2008, when I graduated from LSU with my MLIS, but working in libraries since 2004 with teens (when I was barely older than they were). My passion is working with teens to connect them to great books. My favorite authors: David Levithan, John Green, John Corey Whaley, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle, and Philip K. Dick (not YA but still full of awesome). I probably could name several more...=) And then, after 5 pm, I'm a wife to a huge Batman fan and a mother to the most amazing son and adorable new baby girl. Tough life, but somebody's gotta do it!


Cuyler Creech, Reviewer and Aspiring Writer
Cuyler Creech is a teen author who lives in Weatherford, TX. He loves to read, spend time with his family and friends, and most of all, he loves to write. Cuyler is 18, and has been writing for many years. He's also a published author of one novel (not in print anymore) and focuses primarily on young adult fiction. His favorite books are dystopians and horrors, and his favorite time to read is during thunderstorms. He is the oldest of three siblings, one who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Autism, and is going to college to become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist.  Cuyler just turned 20 so we can't call him our "teen reviewer" anymore.


Chris Dahl, Library Aide
Reviewer Chris Dahl is a life-long resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He has aspirations of world domination, but lacks the resources, ambition, and over-all managerial style to accomplish his goals. Anyone who believes that “still waters run deep” has never met Chris. He believes that there IS crying in baseball and blubbers like a baby every time he watches “Field of Dreams.” He has never been in a fist-fight, but has almost bowled a perfect game. In addition to reading he enjoys getting sun-burned and the occasional rant about how nobody listens to good music anymore. To the best of our knowledge, he is not in any way related to Roald Dahl, but we think it would be cool if he was.  Chris is a library aide at both a public and a high school library.

Jayla Parks, MLS in May 2014
I got my start in libraries as a work study student in college. It wasn't until one of the reference librarians told me about library school that I began to toy with the idea of becoming a librarian. I currently hold a part-time position as a YS librarian in South Carolina. I hope I can foster some awesome discussions about diversity topics relating to libraries, youths, and book lovers alike! You can find me talking about books and book related things over at LadyBlueJay.com.





Kearsten LaBrozzi, MLS
I'm a Teen Librarian at Glendale Public Library in Glendale, Arizona. I've spent half my life working in libraries, but the last six I've spent in the teen department have been the most fun by far: book clubs, zombie LARPs, and gaming, oh my! I run two monthly book clubs and a third every summer, and talking with others about the books we've read makes my day. Wandering our teen room, pulling books off the shelves, is my favorite way to recommend teen fiction and non-fiction, and here on TLT I'm hoping to translate that informal book-talking into something anyone can use. Kearsten does our monthly "Booktalk This!" feature.


Ceci, Tween Reviewer
I love horses but mum and dad keep saying no to owning one.  I will keep trying. I love reading anything, though not really non fiction.  I do two sports, field hockey and circus class.  I'm 10 years old and I have a best friend. Peace.  Ceci is a HUGE fan of Lisa Schroeder.








Kicky, Tween Reviewer
I am a blue belt in karate, so don't mess with me.  I love to read and since this is my mom's webpage, she makes me review things sometimes.  Oh, she wants me to tell you that she ASKS me to review sometimes.  I desperately want to take violin lessons, go to Paris, and be a physical therapist.  I am into fashion design.  My mom drags me around to meet authors and I have met both Lauren Oliver and Claire Legrand.  I have a dog but want more, my mom keeps saying no.  You can see a list of my favorite books from 2012 here.



The Mr.
 The Mr. is an egghead, and an artist. This means that when I make my RA posters he stands over my shoulders and says, "Really, you're going to use those two colors together" and "Black isn't a color, it's a value." Some call him Tim . . . because that is his name. Although he is also a Monty Python fan. He reads the books I leave laying around the house, often picking up the one I am currently reading which is often a source of contention that breaks down like this . . .
Me : I was reading it first
The Mr. : I marked your page
Me : Why can't you read one of the other 1,000 books we have around the house?
The Mr. : This one looks good
Me : I know, that's why I'm reading it
So if he is going to steal my books while I am in the middle of reading them, I'm gonna ask him what he thinks about them.

That Guy
That Guy is Chris, Mz Christie's Mr.  He is a tech guy and helps us out with tech stuff, like putting the Pinterest button on the individual post pages.  He also has been known to pretend he is Christie or Karen during conferences to go pick up our packages.  He spends a lot of time hanging out with Christie's tweens and teens playing video games and such and being an awesome male role model and mentor.





Copyrights and Disclaimers

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner (Karen Jensen) is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the post author and Teen Librarian Toolbox with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  RA Posters and Library Memes may be freely used.  All thoughts and opinions expressed belong to the individuals that wrote them and do not reflect the views of any outside affiliations including the libraries that we work at, the professional journals that we work with, etc.  Please note: we sometimes get books and advance reader's copies from publishers in return for an honest review.

TLT Around the Web:

TLT is a networked blog with VOYA Magazine
TLT was feautred in VOYA's Trending in Youth Culture: The Best Blogs and Sites for Youth Advocates (February 2012)
TLT was a Shortlisted Finalist in the 2012 Edublogs Awards
Karen Jensen and Christie Gibrich were featured on the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels website
Library Lions: Roar in the New Year
YALSA Advocacy Spotlight: Karen Jensen
OLC Small Libraries . . . BIG Ideas
Chicago Tribune: Scowler by Daniel Kraus, Karen is quoted
PEW Internet and American Life Project, Karen is quoted 
Kent State University: Alum in Texas Creates Blog to Help Other Librarians 
Tweens, Teens, and Time Lords: Doctor Who in the Library at School Library Journal (11/23/2013) 
Who Loves Doctor Who? (Proquest Share This blog)