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Cindy Crushes Programming: Tips for Me, and Maybe You Too, by Teen Librarian Cindy Shutts

So at my library I have begun to program in person again. It has been a challenge for sure. The first program I did was a pirate themed scavenger hunt. I had no one sign up. I did get two to do it who had walked into the library. Then I did a backyard clean up of the library for volunteering. It was eventful. We got locked in the courtyard. Oops. We found a dead animal. We also found trash that should have not been left under our tree. So I started to remember what in person programming was like. I have to remind myself that everything is different. Here are the things I told myself:

  1. Low attendance is okay: Not all teens are vaccinated. I would rather teens be safe than sorry.
  2. We are starting over again: A lot of my teens aged out and I have not been doing school visits because of Covid so the younger teens do not really know me and what the library offers to teens.
  3. Do not spend a lot of money right now: We do not know how the attendance numbers will be so try to not do programs that will take up a lot of our budget.
  4. Keep doing some virtual programs: We know that some teens can not get to the library right now and this is a way to keep them engaged with the library.
  5. Try to not do too many educational programs: Things are hard and teens want to have fun and be able to take their minds off the pandemic.
  6. Do not over program: This is the number one thing I have to tell myself. I love doing programming but quality over quantity is key with programming.
  7. Be kind to yourself: You are dealing with a lot right now. The pandemic is still here and does not seem to be going away as much as we wish it would.
  8. Let things go: If something happens and you have to cancel a program that is okay. Things happen. It does not make you a bad person to cancel a program.
  9. Listen to the teens: This is what I have been doing the most. I am trying to do stuff that they want to do. Not things I think are cool. They are going through a hard time. We have to try to help them.
  10. It’s okay to be upset: If a program goes wrong it is okay to be upset and feel those feelings. You do not have to lie to yourself about how you feel.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

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  1. […] From Teen Librarian Toolbox: “So at my library I have begun to program in person again. It has been a challenge for sure. The first program I did was a pirate themed scavenger hunt. I had no one sign up… Then I did a backyard clean up of the library for volunteering. It was eventful. We got locked in the courtyard. Oops… So I started to remember what in person programming was like. I have to remind myself that everything is different. Here are the things I told myself…” […]

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