Sunday, January 26, 2014

Damn kids, get on my lawn! Seriously, I have candy...

The hardest thing about being a YA librarian is coming to terms with the fact that the job will most likely not go the way you have it planned out in your head. I run a YA book club every month and have just attempted to launch a writing workshop for high school students. In my head, this is what I imagine these programs will look like:


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.
My mom signed me up for a writing workshop when I was in high school. I liked writing. I loved reading. But every meeting was an hour long panic attack and I eventually stopped going. I wonder how many teens there are who have the same issue - love the idea, hate the people.

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.


  1. We were totally preoccupied with BDC, no time for reading dammit

    1. This is true. Maybe I need to do a reading program that involves MMA fighting.

  2. Sounds like you need to hold the workshop online, too.

    1. I actually think an online workshop would be fun.

  3. FREE CANDY!!! *wonders into the street as the door opens*

    Mar tells me its so random. One day she'll have no one and the next expecting no one she has 50. There are so many factors such as the ones you stated and also word of mouth, time of year, and moody teenagers :) or in some cases asshole parents.