Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

These are a few of my favorite reads: the 2012 Karen edition

Raindrops on roses and zombies eating kittens,
Bright copper boys and warm fuzzy kisses,
Page after page, turning with need
These are a few of my favorite reads . . .

MG Reads, approved by my tween
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Wonder by R J Palacio
The Cavendish Home for Boys &Girls by Claire Legrand
Whatever After: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
(the complete top 10 post is here)

Heartwarming Reads
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato
The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Wonder by R J Palacio

The Books That Make You Go Hmmm (aka Thoughtful Reads)
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Mindbending Reads (aka What the Heck is Happening Here?)
The Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Every Day by David Levithan
BZRK by Michael Grant
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

Sci Fi Awesomeness
The Future We Left Behind by Mike A. Lancaster
BZRK by Michael Grant
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Insignia by S J Kincaid
Across the Universe/A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Dystopian Worlds I Wouldn’t Want to Live In, But Love to Read About
Delirium/Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Starters by Lissa Price
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Unwind/Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Grrr, Arrr . . . Brains . . . Nom, Nom (Zombie Reads)
Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Reality Bites, But These Books Rock
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Skinny by Donna Cooner

Literary Masterpieces
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Riddle Me This, Batman (Mysteries)
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Fantastic Fantasies
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

These Girls Kick Ass
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Stormdancer (The Lots War Book One) by Jay Kristoff

These Guys Do Too
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer/Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride
Quarantine, book 1: The Loners by Lex Thomas
Tap Out by Eric Devine
Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Books That Can Make Even Me Like History
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Diviners by Libba Bray

Pop Spewing Reads (aka Dude, I think I just peed myself aka Book That are Side Splitting Funny)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand
The Necromancer series by Lish McBride
Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Best Road Trips of the Year
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Just Pure Aweseomeness (My top 5 of the Year – today)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

A few of Heather’s favorite things

Life can be kind of chaotic sometimes – I often say that I went into librarianship so that at least one part of my life would be organized.  As a part time librarian and working mom with plenty of side projects, a lot of my favorite things are ways to make my time more efficient and streamline processes.  What makes my life as a teen librarian easier? 

I use Goodreads to log every book I read.  I used to use this super cute notebook, which I still treasure, but with all of the bouncing around and back and forth of my schedule, using an online log makes more sense.  Everyone has their own way of using GoodReads.  Personally, I review very few books on GoodReads because the bulk of my reading is done for my work as a Booklist reviewer, but I do give stars and put things on shelves when I think it would be handy to help me find them again.  Why log everything?  Oh bless your heart.  I used to have a mind like a steel trap, but that sucker is rusty.  Skimming through the list will usually jog my memory enough to help me find the book I’m looking for and want to suggest to a patron.

My mobile desk

Fancy, right?  Give me a three ring binder and one of these calendars and I’m a happy girl.  In my mobile desk I keep the bare minimum – the stuff I’ll use no matter which desk I’m staffing, and at every meeting I go to: a calendar, a running notepad, department head meeting minutes (What’s the deadline for spending that per capita grant money?  What’s the billing code?), budget overview documents, my cheat sheets for running reports, with plenty of space left over for the current issue of VOYA.

A supportive administration
So – so – so important.  And while you can’t go pick one up at Office Max, you can work to cultivate one for yourself.  Among all of the other tasks and responsibilities you have, this may be one of the most important on the list.  Growing or nurturing support for teen services in your library will help ensure that the teens in your community are part of the larger conversation when it comes to allocating space, staff, and funds.

#readadv chat
This Twitter chat is hosted by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, and Kelly Jensen.  It’s a really nice conversation about a different readers’ advisory topic each time and a good way to connect with librarians doing similar work on Twitter.  Really though, #readadv chat is a stand-in for any kind of connection to other librarians outside of your building, around the country, or across the globe.  Doing your job in a vacuum won’t do you or your patrons any good.  Connect to others doing similar work, different work, totally off the wall work, work you agree with and disagree with.  It will make your understanding of your own job and your roll in your community that much deeper and more effective.  

On any given day, I might work on four different machines.  Installing Dropbox on each machine keeps everything in one place and lets me share documents easily with my writing partner, access them at home, and never worry about version control.  With the app on my phone, I can snap pictures that I want to use on posters, save them to Dropbox and pull them up when I get to work.  Since it’s also accessible as a webpage, I can access presentations or files offsite.  And it’s free!

School Librarians
I work in a public library, which is where I really want to be, but where are the teens most of the time?  They’re in school!  Connect with the librarians at your local schools.  They are a tremendous resource for knowing what’s going on, which teachers will be most receptive to your booktalking offers, whether registration day or parent night would be a better time to get a table for the library, and which kids would be the best ones to send an invite for your book club.  Make friends!  Bring cookies!

Contigo travel mug
You could turn this thing upside down and shake it and it won’t leak.  No more coffee soaked library books, no more room temperature coffee once I get around to drinking it, no more not-so-mysterious brown stains on my favorite tote bags.  Put it on your wish list.

What a revelation this was to find.  It’s easy to sign up for: choose the series you are purchasing for your collection, and when a new one is announced, nearing publication, or published you get an email.  With YA publishing producing about a thousand new series a month, it is really difficult to keep track of everything.  This is so much more efficient and effective than my previous systems involving notebooks or half finished Excel files that inevitably resulted in gaps.

Sure, I love the stuff, but it’s not for me in this case.  Chocolate programs, candy making, sweet treat creations, all of this is programming gold with my teens.  I try to host at least one food related program each session, and they are inevitably the most highly attended ones.  Do yourself a favor, plan a Chocopallooza around Valentine’s Day and pull yourself out of the low winter program attendance doldrums. 

$1 Coke Zero from the McDonalds drivethru

zomg. Caffeine is my friend.  Especially on those days I forget my trusty Contigo mug of coffee and have to work till 9.  Sweet syrupy fountain Coke.  I’m not ashamed.