Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Thankful Farewell

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I'm reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. I have a loving, supportive family; inspiring, hardworking staff and colleagues; and I just got a promotion! I am now the Technology & Support Services Manager at my library, so my primary focus is no longer Youth Services. While I will always have a place in my heart for my teens and for teen literature, I'm excited to take on the new challenges that face me in this position including the acquisition and implementation of a new Integrated Library System, maintaining and strengthening our social media and web presence, directing the marketing and branding of my library, and managing people...that's a HUGE one!

And I'm not the only one who's had some major career and life changes hit them recently. After much angst and discussion with my fellow Dewey's Devils, we've decided not to continue adding content to this blog. It has been a wonderful way to share our successes and gain wisdom on our failures, and for that reason we will keep it up as an archive for posterity. Thank you, followers and readers, for your support and contribution. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Burritos & Books Bash

We had another incredible session of Burritos & Books last week as part of our Teen Summer Reading Club. The standing room-only crowd was exposed to 30 books in 75 minutes covering a variety of genres including manga, horror, historical fiction, realistic fiction, drama/music, action, food-themed (to tie in with the Reading is So Delicious theme), romance, paranormal, fairy tail retellings, and sci fi.

As if that weren't enough, they were also treated to a smorgasbord of tempting treats donated by our local Taco Bell owner, Taco Terry!

After feeding their minds with incredible books and their bellies with yummy burritos we let them loose to select which books they wanted to check out and to pick one freebie to add to their home library.

If you'd like to start a Burritos & Books program at your library, I will gladly share our Prezi (including awesome trailers), Feedback Survey, list of Booktalks, and more! Just leave a comment with your email address.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teen Programming Lesson Learned

I did a lot of traveling recently between attending the School Library Journal Leadership Think Tank and then heading straight to the Eureka Encore program in San Jose. In between all that jet-setting, I had to prepare a project for my Teen Crafternoon program. Since Earth Day is in April, I wanted to do a recycling project, and I chose to attempt making a tote bag out of recycled Target or other plastic grocery bags.

There are also pages and pages of Pinterest ideas for using recycled plastic bags, and tons of great tutorials out there including this video which I followed to the letter, but I just couldn't get the finished product to come out right.

So, the day of the craft I went into my supply closet and pulled out all of the scrapbooking supplies I had as well as a stack of random magazines (I'm talking about Bloomfield Business and our local AAA magazines) that I pilfered from the Friends donations and some manga that I had in my giveaway supply.

I was feeling guilty that I didn't have something more interesting or "Makerspace"-y to offer the teens, but they LOVED this project. We went 30 minutes over our allotted time, and they would have stayed longer if I didn't have to get to another meeting, because they just didn't want to leave. They were having such a good time being creative and using Mod Podge (they kept referring to it as "hodge podge" :)).

What I learned from this experience, and what is a wonderful takeaway for all teen librarians, is that you don't always have to think so far outside of the box to make your teens happy. What they truly want is a safe, comfortable space and a reason to be creative.

Here's just a sample of what they created:

Summer Reading Club Ideas

Summer is just around the corner and that means plans for Summer Reading Club are kicking into high gear. I thought I would share what's on our agenda this summer to inspire those last-minute planners who might still need a great program to round out their offerings.
Our Summer Reading Club runs from June 17 - August 3, 2013 and teens going into grades 7-12 next fall and encouraged to sign up using our Evanced Summer Reading program (through our website)and attend free in-library events.

10 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Free book

15 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Free food and museum coupons + 1 grand prize entry

20 hours of reading and/or attending library events = 5 grand prize entries

25 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Invite to our exclusive After Hours Party

Grand Prizes = Kindle Fire HD, Nintendo 3DS, Pick-a-Ticket Ticketmaster gift card, 4-pack Knotts Berry Farm tickets, 4-pack of Wave Waterpark, and more!

Crafty C.A.T.S. (Community Action Teen Service) is a yearly program where teens earn community service for making creative arts-based projects that are donated to local organizations. For the summer, I tailor our projects to the SRC theme. The library is hosting a food drive/food for fines program in partnership with a  local food bank, Interfaith Community Services, so the C.A.T.S. will not only be decorating the food receptacles, but they will also be creating handmade produce bags that Interfaith will donate  to the families who are part of their transitional housing program.
Teen Crafternoon is a monthly event where teens come together to be creative and make something cool that they get to keep. To stay with the Reading is So Delicious theme we will be decorating   aprons, and I found a killer cheap deal at $1.99/apron if you want to do this too!

Burritos & Books is one of our most popular teen events, and it's not just because of the burritos! We have fantastic community partners who donate burritos for teens to munch on, but the feedback that we get after each event is that the teens' favorite part is learning about all of the books that we book talk to them. As a  response to their feedback, we've actually extended the program to an hour and a half so that we can fit in more books! In addition to having first dibs on many of our brand new hot summer reads, the teens also go home with a free book (ARCs that I receive from wonderful publisher contacts or like-new donations).

Teens will enjoy a free showing of the movie Life of Pi and feast on individual Hostess pies with whipped cream!

Teens are invited to challenge their friends at a variety of food-themed board, video, and Minute to Win It games. We're going to set up our Wii systems and have Cooking Mama, Iron Chef America, and Burger Island as well as Cooking Scrabble, a cooking version of the Memory Game, Foodie Fight, and Wasabi. The teens will get to make candy sushi and grub on other snacks as well. We 
 will also have some fun Minute to Win It challenges that involve food items.

Teens who complete 25 hours of reading and/or attending library events by July 28 will earn an invitation to our exclusive After-Hours Party. Four hours of fun begin after the library closes. In addition to a chocolate trivia race, a Name-That-Historical-Kitchen-Implement game (with items borrowed from the Escondido History Center), and a Project Runway food challenge (contestants must use food items to create an outfit for a Barbie), teens will also take part in a Mad Hatter Tea Party with prizes for the best costumes. We are also participating in the Nationwide Teen Lock-In. I'm the coordinator of the Minute to Win It challenges so my teens will be participating but won't be eligible to defend their reigning champion status.

If you'd like more details on the logistics of any of these events, or if you just want to share your great Summer Reading Club events, post a comment!