Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Looking back: TLT, connection, and a life spent reading

And so ends another decade. My teenager is fond of pointing out how MANY of these I have now seen. He also looooves to tell me that now 1990 is 30 years ago, and not, like, ten, which is what it is in my head. Rude.

Many of these past few years (what do we call these? the 2010s? 20-teens?) have been filled with TLT goodness. I sat down to think about what I wanted to write and started to think of how I’d summarize the highlights of various decades. A theme becomes quite obvious:

The 1970s were my toddler years and so many of the pictures from then were either of me sleeping on reading parents or being read to.

1978. With the first dachshund in my life, Ludwig.

The 1980s saw my absolute love of reading grow. For a while, we lived in a teeny tiny town (like 300 people) in very rural southern Minnesota. There was a one-room library (with a great Care Bear mural on the side) that I was allowed to bike to. I read every single children’s book they had (in order of how they were shelved), so it’s a good thing we upgraded and then moved to a town of 9,000.

My mom saved this little packet from elementary school. It’s many pages long and reading shows up as answers about a dozen times.

The 90s brought a continued obsession with reading and writing, making my own zine, and getting degrees in English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies—both reading-heavy fields.

1998. My brother’s polka dot hair was pretty great. My hair color changed weekly.

The zines I wrote in the 90s. Long live teen angst!

Some of my 1990s journals. I wrote in them almost every single day for the whole decade.

The 2000s saw me work in three bookstores, get a master’s degree in Children’s Literature, start reviewing books professionally, marry a bookstore manager, and also become a mother (having a child was a great reason to constantly buy more books).

Callum at age 3.

The 2010s (again, the whats? tens? teens?) brought working in three libraries, presenting about YA lit in various capacities, and working for Teen Librarian Toolbox. Through all of those decades, through the various ways I consumed and produced work about books, it was the connections I made that meant as much to me as all the reading did.

2014.

We’ve reflected on what TLT means to us before. You can read what I said here at year seven and here at year six. I’m not going to repeat what I wrote. I am going to say, though, that I can’t imagine having not been blogging for TLT the past five and a half years. It’s brought so many great people into life, and those connections have made me a better parent, librarian, writer, advocate, and person. Though my Twitter is often just a dachshund account, I started it around the same time I started blogging here and think of the two as totally tied together. I feel lucky to always be learning from teachers, librarians, writers, and other readers. For me, TLT is a chance to share, yes, but it’s also a chance to connect, to learn. How lucky to feel that I get this great outlet and I get to always be learning.

I look forward to seeing what book-related joys the 2020s bring into my life.

Happy new year and happy reading!