Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Win a copy of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services

See it at the ALA Store

Heather Booth and I put together a book about being a YA/Teen Services Librarian. The title may sound vaguely familiar because it is part of the ALA Editions Whole Library Handbook series. We invited a lot of cool people to participate. In fact, TLT’s own Christie Gibrich, formerly the chair of the Rainbow Committee, wrote a chapter on GLBTQ issues. The Library as Incubator Project’s own Erinn Batykefer wrote a chapter on making art with teens. Author Eric Devine read a chapter about boys and books. Stacy Vandever Wells, Kristine Trevino and Allison Jenkins, Justin Hoenke, Naomi Bates, Erin Bush, Jodi Richards Bodart, Francisca Goldsmith, Gretchen Kolderup, Amy Alessio, Debbie Reese and more experienced and passionate people contributed articles on their specific areas of expertise, which we think (hope) will help us all be awesome YA librarians. A portion of the proceeds are being donated to YALSA because we believe that teens need and deserve qualified and passionate YA librarians. And because 3 of us here at TLT contributed to this book and it’s our 3 year anniversary of this blog I started 3 years ago, well – we’re giving a copy away.

But first, let me tell you a funny story about this book. As many of you know, I took my Tween to ALA Annual with me this year. We stopped into the ALA store where they had copies of this book on display. Now, imagine as I tell you this conversation the man that is standing very close beside the Tween and I, I can see his shoulders shaking as he tries to hold his laughter in while overhearing this conversation.

Me: Look! There’s my book.
Tween: You didn’t really write it, you edited it.
Me: I wrote parts of it!
Tween: Yeah, but not the whole thing. It’s not like you’re Natalie Lloyd or Raina Telgemeier or anything.
Me: Don’t you think it’s cool?
Tween: I guess. I mean, I’ve already seen it. You got one in the mail.
Me: You want to hold it and I’ll take a picture of you with it?
Tween: No, not really. I mean, we have one at home. Can’t we go back in to the conference and look at all the cool books?

See, kids keep you humble. So while I may not be Natalie Lloyd or Raina Telgemeier, I am pretty proud of this book that we put together. I learned new things while putting this book together. If you would like to win one, just leave a comment with either an email or a Twitter followback and we’ll send it to you. For this one, I’ll even ship internationally so it’s open to all. Just a leave a comment by Midnight on July 15th, the 3 year anniversary of my first post here at TLT, and you’re entered. I’ll have the Tween randomly draw names out of a hat. Of course if there aren’t very many entries, I’ll hear about that as well. LOL

We got our first review and The Midwest Book Review says, “Informed and informative, “The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services” is a ‘must read’ for any library staff member charged with the responsibility of providing services to their adolescent patrons.”

Heather’s note:
Whether you’re brand new on the job or have been at it for years, I encourage you to take a look at our book. None of us knows it all when it comes to every aspect of teen librarianship, which is what makes this compilation of voices so helpful. While talking with our contributors, editing articles, and reading through the final drafts, I was still learning about the rich and varied jobs we do and all of the many ways we can adapt our service to improve the lives and library experiences of our teens. This is not the last book on teen services you’ll ever need, because at our best, we’re always learning and growing. But it is a very good start, a solid check-in, and a wonderful window into what teen librarianship is in 2014. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it starts some good conversations about who we are, what we do, and how we can improve and adapt and serve teens in the best possible ways.

Here is a look at the complete table of contents . . .

1: Who are Teens?

Defining the Local Teen Community
Heather Booth
Lolcats, Bieber Fever, and Rainbow Bracelets: What’s Hot, What’s So Yesterday, and How to Keep Up
Heather Booth
Fast Facts for Librarians about the Teenage Brain
Heather Booth
Teen Development: The 40 Developmental Assets
Karen Jensen and Heather Booth
Reading in the Dark: Boys, Their Books, and the Search for Answers
Eric Devine

2: Who Are We?

What Does It Mean to be a Teen Services Librarian?
Karen Jensen
Same Pattern; Different Cloth: School and Public Librarians and their Partnerships
Naomi Bates
What Does Customer Service to Teens Look Like?
Karen Jensen
Friend, Advisor, Enforcer, Professional: Relating to Teens as a Young Adult Librarian
Maggie Hommel Thomann
Where’s the Handbook for That?
Karen Jensen
The Importance of Networking in the Life of a Teen Librarian
Heather Booth and Karen Jensen
What’s in Your Files? What to Ditch, What to Keep, and for How Long
Heather Booth
Get Your Reading Habits Organized
Allison Tran
Growing a Young Adult Librarian: Recruitment, Selection, and Retention of an Important Asset for Your Community
Margaret Redrup-May

3: Creation, Maintenance and Evaluation of Teen Services

An Introduction to the Teen Services Plan
Karen Jensen
Teens on the Platform: YALSA’s National Teen Space Guidelines
Katherine Trouern-Trend
Evaluation: Is Where You Begin Where You End?
Karen Jensen and Heather Booth
Teen Librarian Advocacy 101
Karen Jensen

4: Programming

An Introduction to Teen Programming
Karen Jensen
Technology Programming and Teens
Stacy Vandever Wells
MAKING | ART: A Flexible Model for Teen Services
Erinn Batykefer
Author Visits
Kristin Treviño and Allison Jenkins
Gaming in Libraries
Justin Hoenke
Self-Directed and Free-Range Programming
Karen Jensen

5: Collections

Collection Development: Making the Case for Teen Collections
Karen Jensen
Teen Collection Development Outline
Karen Jensen
Are All Lists Created Equal? Diversity in Award-Winning and Best-Selling Young Adult Fiction
Casey Rawson
Heather Booth
YA Book Blogs and How They Can Help You Develop Your Collection
Abby Johnson and Melissa Wheelock-Diedrichs
The Next Big Thing in E-books
Erin Bush
Booktalking in 1,000 Words—or Maybe a Few More!
Joni Richards Bodart
Readers’ Advisory: Listening Is an Act of Love
Heather Booth
What Is Readers’ Advisory, and Why Is Readers’ Advisory for Teens Different?
Heather Booth
Awards, Lists, Reviews, and Readers’ Advisory Possibilities: It’s Not Just One Big Chocolate Shop Francisca Goldsmith
Are You Reading YA Lit? You Should Be
Gretchen Kolderup

6: Marketing

Marketing: An Introduction from a Fellow Librarian
Karen Jensen
Crafting Your Marketing Plan
Karen Jensen
Graphic Design Basics for Non–Graphic Designers
Karen Jensen
Merchandising 101: Marketing to Teens in the Library
Karen Jensen
Booktalking in Your Local Schools as a Marketing Opportunity
Karen Jensen
Make the Most of Your Teen Services Social Media
Karen Jensen

7: Teen Involvement

Putting the Teen in Your Teen Services
Karen Jensen
Keeping the Teen Advisory Board Relevant—and Real: New Clubs, Themes, and Attitudes
Amy Alessio

8: Issues

Intellectual Freedom and the Teen Librarian
Heather Booth and Karen Jensen
Evaluating Materials for a Diverse Collection
Christie Ross Gibrich and Heather Booth
GLBTQ Materials in Your Teen Collection: The Teens Are There Already; Why Aren’t the Books?
Christie Ross Gibrich
The Rubber-Band Ball of Guys and Reading: Considering Boys in Collection Development and Library Service
Torrey Maldonado
Authors, Characters, and Experiences: Collection Development Mindful of People of Color in Young Adult Literature
Debbie Reese
Reaching Reluctant Readers, like Me
Kelly Milner Halls
Critical Issues in Juvenile Detention Center Libraries
Jeanie Austin
Social Media and the Relational Reading Revolution
Karen Jensen


A. A Sample Teen Services Plan
Karen Jensen
B. Your Teen Volunteer Plan
Karen Jensen
C. Your Teen-Driven Program Plan
Karen Jensen
D. Marketing Resources: A Guide with Annotations
Heather Booth and Karen Jensen

87 Killer Parties: teen programs from 87 Ways to Throw a Killer Party

So I’m sitting at my desk and the PR department sends me an e-mail: They’re putting together next month’s calendar and I need to tell them what teen stuff I want to add. I need a handy tool that I can grab something out of and run with.  Wait, what’s that you say?  87 Way to Throw a Killer Party by Melissa Daly.  Yes, I’ll take one of those thank you.

Sometimes, I just need the spark of an idea and then I can run with it.  I am not ashamed to steal – I mean borrow, I am a librarian, we lend and borrow – ideas from others.  And here are 87 of them for you.  You can take the basic framework presented and augment it to fit your library needs. Let’s examine a few, shall we . . .

Heroes and Villains Party (page 28)
This theme automatically makes me think of Comic Con, and I think every library should host it’s own Comic Con if they have the staff, space and budget.  First, you obviously need to invite your teens to wear costumes to this event.  If you can, set up a photo booth.  We have gotten the local high school art club to paint wooden photo stands with the holes cut out for guests to put their heads through as well.  (Actually, I have also made my art major husband do these for me to.  I mean asked – I asked.)  You can also mix up some Kryptonite punch (recipe included in the book) and have a “cage match” where attendees vote by applause who will win.

Want to expand it even more?  Put together a visual contest where your teens are asked to identify the heroes and villains from popular culture – and books of course.  You can do this as a simple one sheet contest entry form or put together a wall of pictures that teens examine and fill out an entry sheet.

Be sure and show some fun movies.  You can go with your basic superhero movie, or show something fun like Sky High.

You can also give teens the opportunity to make their own comic strips or graphic novel pages.  You can create a blank template in Microsoft Office and print them off for them to create their comics or use an online generator like those found in this Mashable article on 6 Free Sites for Creating Your Own Comics.

Don’t forget to do some super fun stuff like put together duels (I am a huge fan of play fighting with pool noodles), obstacle courses and relay races where the good guy versus the bad guy, and more.  You can even have mock Comic Con panels where you ask teens what super power they would want and why and present them with some either or type questions (break out old copies of the Ultimate Survival Game or Would You Rather for this portion).

Murder Mystery Party (p. 32)
I have hosted a ton of these and love them.  I have written several of my own, but you can also buy kits!!  Janet Dickey has a website devoted to them and I have used a couple of them; they work great.

Time Travel Party (p. 54)
Pick an era and go back in time with costumes, food, etc.  Or have a Science Fiction themed party and watch the Back to the Future movies.  Some ya titles that tie in with this theme include the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Party (p. 62)
Everyone wears black – no red or pink allowed, thank you.  Make and then break heart shaped cookies to frost and decorate.  The broken hearted quiz, match famous dumpers with their dumpees.

Chinese New Year Party (p. 182)
Decorate a Chinese lanterns, decorate dragons, and make your own fortune cookies.  Bam, you are done!

87 Ways to Throw a Killer Party by Melissa Daly is a great tool for teens and people who work with teens to get some fun programming/party ideas.  I think it provides you with the spark and us librarians – we can really run with these ideas and put together a program that works within our space and budget.  Teens looking to put together their own parties will also appreciate the spark.  PS., don’t forget to put together booklists and displays for your party themes.

Professional Book Shelf: They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill by Dr. Joni Richards Bodart

You can’t be a teen librarian and not know about Dr. Joni Bodart.  She is one of our rock stars.  Dr. Bodart is a strong advocate for teens and teen literature, having written a multitude of professional materials to help us all be better at what we do.  She is passionate about booktalking and reader’s advisory and has written a variety of professional titles to help us all be better at the art of selling our wares to our teens. 

Later this year Dr. Bodart will have a new, and timely, professional title coming out:  They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill: The Psychological Meaning of Monsters in Young Adult Literature (coming out in December 2011).  Without a doubt, monsters are everywhere in teen lit.  From the widely popular Twilight series, which contains both vampires and shapeshifters, to the Vampire Diaries of old, now a hugely successful series on the CW, vampires have been a staple of teen lit.  But it’s not just vampires anymore; shapeshifters, faeries, half demons and full demons and the ever present zombie are taking over the scene.  There has been a lot of discussion lately about teen lit:  Is it too dark?  In They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill, Dr. Bodart helps us understand that appeal of monsters to teens (and to us all) and provides an insightful discussion into various titles and series currently popular with our audience.

As Dr. Bodart points out in her introduction, monsters have always been there in our stories.  When humans began telling stories, they began telling of monsters.  Although many worry about an interest in monsters, the truth is that reading about monsters in the safety of a book helps us all examine ourselves and our culture in a safe environment:

They fascinate us, but we recognize their danger and we fear them as well. Books and movies let us step into their world for awhile, to see how close we can get to them without getting caught. And who hasn’t looked up from a scary story to see the twitch of a shadow, the creak of the floor in the hall, and wondered if the monster had escaped from the pages. (Bodart, introduction XX)

Psychologist Carl Jung talked about the idea of the shadow self; the idea that within us all was a monster.  Teens, no doubt, feel this more than most as their hormones kick in and their brain works differently (there is a ton of research that explains how different the teenage brain is).  And society often operates as if it fears teens; we can all probably right now list a variety of staff members who live in fear of 3:00 and the teenage rush the comes into our libraries.  In her introduction, Dr. Bodart further discusses the psychological allure of the monster construct and it is a fascinating read.
Vampires (part 1), shapeshifters (part 2), zombies (part 3) and unexpected monsters (part 4, which includes, angels, unicorns and demons) are all discussed with interesting detail and examples.  Each part begins with some history of the subgenre and a general discussion of example titles.  Then there is more specific discussion of popular titles that highlight the basic elements of the subgenre and its appeal to teen readers.
The vampire discussion starts as any good vampire book discussion should, with the classic The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klaus.  This title is still an amazing read and I appreciate that this is where Dr. Bodart chooses to begin our discussion into the land of monsters.  Other titles discusses include The Tantalize and Blue Blood series as well as The Chronicles of Vlad Todd.  All good choices of inclusion.  It is interesting to read, as noted by Dr. Bodart, the tremendous increase in the amount of vampire titles published in the last ten years. 
Again calling on the classics, Bodart’s shapeshifter begins its discussion with Blood and Chocolate.  I found the discussion in this section especially interesting because I was much less familiar with the tradition of the werewolf stories and honestly haven’t read many titles in this subgenre, with the exception of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Steifvater, which is included in the discussion and provides some good information.
If you are a reader of TLT, you know that zombie lit is my favorite so I was looking forward to the discussion of this monster subgenre, which did not disappoint.  Bodart begins with my favorite series, Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.  Other titles discussed include The Generation Dead and The Enemy series.
The final discussion centers around some unusual monsters, things we don’t often think of as monsters: angels and unicorns.  Sure we get that demons are monsters by definition, but throughout history angels and unicorns are often depicted as creatures on the side of good.  And yet religious tradition also discusses the concept of the fallen angel jealous of humankind.  And we almost always see unicorns as beautiful kind creatures, often found with rainbows for some reason.  So this part of the discussion was fascinating as it has been equally fascinating to see the new twists on this mythology in teen lit over the past few years. 
This is a fascinating read and useful tool.  The background information on the various subgenres of monster lit and specific information about various titles, including information regarding the authors and their interest in the monsters, would be incredibly useful in doing book discussions.  Even in a less formal at the stacks or ref desk interaction, this information will help give you street cred as you can have an intelligent, meaningful conversation with fans and help guide them to read-a-likes.  Plus, the information will help you address parental, staff and administrator concerns that sometimes come up regarding these types of books.  There is meaning in the mythology and Dr. Bodart helps us all take a stand for intellectual freedom and our teens by giving us the information we need to engage in intelligent discussion about the history and psychology of monster lit.  And honestly, it is just a truly fascinating and insightful read.
Booklists are provided in addition to further reading on the various topics discussed.  I would honestly like to see more titles produced on this topic and see it become a series as there are so many other series and titles in this genre to discuss, although the titles she chooses do make a good cross representation of each subgenre.
As Dr. Bodart says, “Supernatural creatures are constructs and tools that teens can use to understand themselves and their worlds better and help them make the decisions that will guide them through those worlds. Who am I? What do I believe? What’s the right thing to do? Feeling like an outsider is a common experience for a teen (Bodart, p. 241).”  These titles are important in the lives of teens, and this is a good resource to understand why – and find more.
I highly recommend that you add this to your professional collection.  And I look forward to discussing it with my fellow librarians when it comes out.  It should make for some good discussion.  This is definitely one tool you’ll want to add to your toolbox.

Edited to add this note:  One of the best features of this title, outside of the excellent discussion, is the appendix which features a comprehensive booklist on the various monsters discussed.  The booklist is arranged by monster (angel, unicorn, vampire, etc.) and lists series and stand alone titles separately.  Within each series listing is a list of each title within the series and an indication of whether or not the series is complete or ongoing.  This is a great bibliographic tool.

Check out my own discussion about zombie lit “What’s the deal with zombies anyway?”