Teen Librarian Toolbox
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What’s your library story? A Robot Test Kitchen Guest Post


Someone drew this on the wall. It’s part of the story now.

Something from library school that has always stuck with me are the wise words of Betsy Hearne, who on our first day of Storytelling class, said, “Everything is a story.” The clothes we wear, the picture in our wallet, the color of paint on the walls of our kitchen – there’s a story in all of it. These stories inform who we are. They are the story of us.

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Seeing kids figure out hard problems is part of our story.

Our librarianship is the same. As librarians, everything around us is a story that shapes our purpose and our value. The girl sitting at the computer every day after school is a story. The way we oriented the shelves has a story. The posters we put on the walls, the face of the patron who just left or is just waking in, the program we planned last week that bombed, and the program next week that we think will do better. There is a story behind each bit of it, and together, that story is who we are. That story is where we are going and why we are going there.

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Working alongside kids and letting them lead is part of our story.

Each of us at the Robot Test Kitchen has stories from the past several months of testing and reviewing technology kits, programming for, with, and alongside kids, and discussing our successes and failures. Some of the stories are about our comfort level with different kits and how that has taught us about ourselves. Some of them are about the impact engaging with technology has had on our young patrons. Some of them are about discovering new approaches to working with young people, and finding value in working through the difficult processes of challenge and change.

Getting the Bee-bot to the right number...

Helping children see their potential and ability is part of our story.

It can be disheartening to look at our work in libraries and be unsatisfied that we’re not hitting the right numbers, getting the right feedback, or meeting all of the needs of all segments of our community. But the Robot Test Kitchen is asking you to look past that and find your story – just one chapter of your story – that you can point to as the moment you knew that what you were doing was worth it. What’s the story of your value? What’s the story of your inspiration? What’s the story of meeting a need that your patron didn’t even know was there until you came along?

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our stories at www.robottestkitchen.com of how embracing these new-to-us technologies has added to our story. We’ll be back here at the Teen LibWe’re inviting you to share your stories with us, and with each other. Comment on this post, blog on your own site, tweet, talk, post it on Facebook — share your story and invite others to share theirs. Show everyone that what you do matters. What we are matters. Our story has value. We matter.



The Robot Test Kitchen is a project that has grown out of Illinois’ ILEAD program, a technology and leadership experience that encourages and supports librarians as they think big, work in teams, take risks, and try new and difficult things. Questions? We’d love to hear from you

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