Teen Librarian Toolbox
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12 Blogs of Christmas: Book Blather

This is Heather’s final blog in the 12 blogs of Christmas, and it is Blog #6: BookBlather

I met Drea of BookBlather briefly at ALA this summer and she brings the same energy and perceptiveness to her blog as she did when wrangling a slew of teens into the city and up onto the dais at BFYA.  You’ll find reviews and program ideas on Book Blather, and I especially love her program writeups.  You will never need to guess at the cost, timing, or potential pitfalls of a program if you follow Drea’s tutorials, and you’ll get some darn cool ideas too.  Keep Book Blather on your radar.  New posts don’t pop up every week, but when they do, they’re certainly worth waiting for.

5 Posts to Look Into

Teen Program: Book Hedgehogs
Summer Reading: Did It Work?
Teen Program: Gooey Creations
Mock the Movie: Labyrinth
Teen Program: Stop Motion Lab


Next week are blogs 7-12, done by Christie and Robin.  And here’s a look back at Karen’s Top 3 Blogs

#3: YA Lit Quotes (http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/12/12-blogs-of-christmas-ya-lit-quotes-we.html)
#2: Go Book Yourself (http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/12/12-blogs-of-christmas-go-book-yourself.html)
#1: Diversity in YA (http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2013/12/12-blogs-of-christmas-diversity-in-ya.html)

12 Blogs of Christmas: Make It At Your Library

Blog #5: Make It @ Your Library

All I really feel like I have to say about Make It @ Your Library is… how freaking cool is that?!  I swear these people are listening to my thoughts.  How many times have you said, “I need a list of maker programs that take about an hour. I can’t sift through pages of these elaborate Pinterest ideas — just give me the stuff that actually works.  And I want to sort it by cost and theme and skill level and mess level and age range too. And no floofy graphics, just simple, easy to access information.”  All the time, right?  Well, folks, they can hear us!

Here are 5 to try ASAP:
DIY Smartphone Film Scanner
Lego Picture Creator (a great tie-in with Karen’s Lego Mobile Makerspace)
Inverted Bookshelp
Make Your Own Flea Circus (a great tie in with a Tiny Food Party)
Solar Powered Robot from Trash


12 Blogs of Christmas: Hi Miss Julie (Heather)

Blog #4: Hi Miss Julie

We spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a librarian serving young people.  At least I do.  I think about how my work life may be different from others in my profession because of my gender and the demographic I serve.  I think about how we are perceived, how it could change, and if it matters.  And so does Julie.  Though Julie Jurgens works with a younger group than many of the TLT readership does on a regular basis, her blog is still great, even essential reading.  First, those little kids will, if we’re lucky, become our teen users before you know it.  It’s important for us to understand what’s happening with youth services so that we can understand the library environment in which our teens grew up.  Second, Julie is a great writer and is really able to pinpoint some of the big issues facing our profession, specifically women in our profession, and discuss them eloquently, pointedly, and in a way that encourages rather than shutting down conversation.  Read Hi Miss Julie.


12 Blogs of Christmas: YA Lit Quotes (We Heart Young Adult)

To say that I love a good quote is an understatement.  I have journals – yes, plural – where I have written down some of my favorite quotes from the books I have read over the years.  And one of the things that I love most about the 21st century technology is seeing how others can take their favorite book quotes and turn them into beautiful art.  I love this so much that I have done it myself and I have done teen programming around the concept.  If you follow some of your favorite YA authors on Tumblr or Twitter you will often see them sharing amazing artwork inspired by their titles; many teens are inspired by books to create art of their own, whether it be visual art or fan fiction.

So with this in mind, I present to you blog #3 in the 12 Blogs of Christmas: YA Lit Quotes

Yes, yes, yes – it is, once again, technically a Tumblr.  But I propose Tumblr is just a different version of a blog and since this is my 12 Blogs of Christmas I am totally running with that.  Follow this Tumblr and you will have some great content that is easy to share with your teens.  And it will probably inspire some of them to try a new book they hadn’t thought about reading.  One quote can do that.

Here are 5 of my favorites from the We Heart Your Adult YA Lit Quotes Tumblr:

12 Blogs of Christmas: Go Book Yourself

“I read and loved The Hunger Games, what else do you have like that?” Reader’s Advisory! It’s the heart of what we do.  If a teen comes in and asks me this question, I will jump over the desk in an attempt to get 10 more books in their hands.  But the truth is, sometimes I just don’t know.  I haven’t read the book.  Hey, it happens.  I can’t read everything!  But there is a blog for that!

Blog #2: Go Book Yourself!

Go Book Yourself is, once again, technically a Tumblr that is devoted to RA.  It gives you one title and recommends 4 more that you may like.  And it is very visual, which gets bonus points in my book.  It covers more than just YA, but it does have an easy access YA button you can choose to get only the YA posts.  But let’s not kid ourselves, teens read adult fiction too.  Go Book Yourself has appeared on several posts about Tumblrs for book lovers recently, including over at Buzzfeed.

The posts end up looking something like this; this is a screen shot of their Top 5 YA Novels of 2013 (out of 34 that they read).  Then there is a brief description of each book in the text below the graphic.

The posts are easy to share, making this is a great tool.  And sometimes they put together books that I wouldn’t think to recommend (and sometimes I don’t agree with, but that’s just me).  It’s also a good reminder that we can be using the digital tools available to us to be doing fast, easy and VISUAL reader’s advisory with our teens.

12 Blogs of Christmas: Diversity in YA

It’s time to kick off our 3rd annual 12 Blogs of Christmas.  Here we share with you some of our favorite blogs to discuss MG and YA lit, be inspired by new craft ideas, or just learn more about teen issues and culture.



noun: diversity
1. The state of being diverse; variety
from merriam-webster dictionary


Blog #1


From the Blog’s About Page:
Diversity in YA was founded in 2011 by YA authors Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo as a website and book tour. While the tour is over, we’ve revived the website as a tumblr! We celebrate young adult books about all kinds of diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability. We hope you’ll enjoy celebrating them with us.

Why I Love It:
Technically, this is a blog via Tumblr. But it is chock full of in depth discussions, title recommendations, and useful statistics.  If you care about diversity in YA lit, this is a resource you need to be reading everyday.  If you don’t care about diversity in YA lit, then I hope you are not a ya librarian because all YA librarians need to care about this topic.  We live in a diverse world, our teens deserve – and need – to see themselves authentically reflected in the books that they read.  And though my personal rallying cry is that we need to expand our definition of diversity to include things like class differences, spiritual lives and belief practices, and moving beyond normative gender stereotypes, we definitely need to be thinking about and discussing race and sexuality in our ya lit.  Diversity in YA is a great place to be doing this.

Some of my favorite posts include:
Diversity in ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults
Gay in YA (graphic via Epic Reads)
Link: 5 YA Titles that Feature Characters with Asperger’s or Autism
Beyond Diversity 101: On Bisexual Characters and YA Literature
Diversity in Secrets (guest post by Amy Reed)

Flashback TLT Posts

Diversity Discussions on TLT

Racial Stereotyping in YA Literature
Race Reflections, Take II
Building Bridges to Literacy for African American Male Youth Summit recap, part 1
Friday Reflections: Talking with Hispanic/Latino Teens about YA Lit

Gender Issues on TLT
I’m Just a Girl? Gender issues in YA Lit
Girls Against Girls
Teach Me How to Live: talking with guys about ya lit with Eric Devine
Let’s Hear It for the Boys: Boys and body image
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in the Lives of Teens
The Curious Case of the Gender Based Assignment

GLBTQ Discussions on TLT
You want to put WHAT in my YA?
Taking a Stand for What You Believe In
Annie on My Mind and Banned Books Week on My Calendar
Queer (a book review)
Top 10: For Annie and Liza (Annie on My Mind)

On the 12th day of Christmas, my TLT brought to me . . .

The Red Reading Chair

The Red Reading Chair is a blog by school librarian Amianne Bailey.  Amianne has actually written one of my favorite blog posts ever here at TLT: Atticus Was Right, a story about a bully, an Autistic boy and Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind.  I’ll never forget the day she told me this story and how we both teared up at how literature can really touch a person and make them somehow different.

Amianne is the school librarian at a K-6 school here in Texas and we sometimes get together and talk about books, of course.  School librarians have to be “on” a lot more than public librarians.  Last Friday Amianne did a Polar Express program where she had classes come into the library ALL DAY LONG in shifts.  When I do a program, it is often only once a day.  But not those school librarians.  And teachers.  They have to be “on” and “performing”.  But Amianne is awesome at it, and now she has started a blog to share her lesson plans.

So, I know this is the Teen Librarian Toolbox, but the truth is – a lot of our teens are often Tweens if you define teens in your library as kids in grades 6-12, which a lot of libraries do.  That is how they are usually divided in schools: middle school is grades 6-8 and high school is graded 9-12.  So I am often working with Tweens – and there are some ideas that you can use with them at The Red Reading Chair.

We also talk a lot about using Picture Books with teens, which can be a great idea.  You can do fun things with teens and picture books like do reader’s theater, crafts, poetry, and more.  I am going to be doing something in February with this picture book with my teens:

The Red Reading Chair is a great resource by a passionate, creative school librarian – check it out!

On the 11th Day of Christmas, my TLT gave to me . . .

The great Patrick Jones wrote that good librarianship is “a combination of skills, knowledge, and attitude.  The contention here is that YA work is perhaps different from other library work in that without the “right” attitude as a base, the other two traits [skills and knowledge] do not matter as much.”

 Brian Herzog’s Swiss Army Librarian blog focuses on all three traits, with a healthy dose of humor, and an emphasis on fostering an attitude that translates to good customer service – for teens as well as for other age groups.  His “Reference Question of the Week” feature is one of my favorite blog series.  Since many of us teen services librarians also wear other hats – reference librarian, reader’s advisory, administration – it’s important to keep tabs on what’s going on in those worlds too, and Swiss Army Librarian is a fun and informative way to do so.

On the 10th day of th day of Blogmas, my TLT gave to me . . .

Your TAB needs to make Mockingjay pins?  You’re wondering what to do with six dozen marshmallows, rubber bands, and sharpies because the program budget is spent but you need to squeeze one more event in?  You keep hearing about some new creative… thing but don’t know what it is or how it’s used?  I like using Makezine for all of these things.  Some of it is crazy over the top amazing, some of it makes me laugh, some of it just helps me think about materials and activities in new ways.   Visit Makezine for maker trendspotting and to discover other creative blogs – they aggregate links from hundreds of other sites and blogs.

On the 9th day of Blogmas, my TLT Gave to Me

So before, I talked about The Goddess of YA, and then two of my favorite craft-spiration sites, Oops, I Craft My Pants and P.S.- I Made This.  Today, I have for you a blog done by NINE (yes, NINE) readers and contributors that covers everything YA.

I share with you, Forever Young Adult.

I found Forever Young Adult and KNEW that I found my tribe.  It was like the first time I found Karen, knew that we were going to hit it off and be awesome.  These people THINK like me, read like me, understand teen culture like me, and if I could just drink like them, we’d be like the Wonder Twins.  Or the Avengers of YA.

They review EVERYTHING that has to do with young adult, from movies to television to music to books.  Fashion and culture, everything is covered.  They watch the shows that I can’t (or don’t want to) watch, and by reading their recaps I can converse intelligently with my teens.  I can laugh with others of my tribe over the teen movie drinking games.  And when they start a read-along like Little Women (re-capping the classics from new and exciting viewpoints of the characters, like fratboy Laurie), I am a goner- it’s how I have to start my work day. Then share it with everyone else. And I love their writing style.  It’s concise, and breaks things down beautifully:  see A Highly Scientific Analysis of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and read for yourself.