This is the reality:
It's hard to not wonder what it is I'm doing wrong. Even knowing the following things:
- Teens are busy. They have 8 million non-optional obligations.
- Teens in 2014 have a hell of a lot more distractions than teens in 1997.
- The teens who are really passionate about reading and writing might be introverted enough to feel uncomfortable with group dynamics.
I also wonder how many teens just don't care. Does reading and writing for fun even register anymore? I feel like I'm barking up the wrong program tree. I could put together the best, most fun, most comprehensive reading and writing program in the world and if teens aren't interested, they aren't going to show up.
It's hard not to feel discouraged. It's hard to muster enthusiasm for programming you have to put on when you know it will be poorly attended or not attended at all. It's hard not to think you are doing something fundamentally wrong.
So, what's the solution? I subscribe to every relevant listserv and website newsletter, but I can't help but think of all those things treat teenagers like they're these exotic animals that aren't quite human. I feel like the best way to treat them is like regular effing people. But that means luring them into the library in the first place...
I don't know what the solution is. Maybe I am doing something or everything wrong. Maybe I'm creepy and old. Maybe I'm way too excited about things that don't matter anymore. I just don't know.