As a future teen librarian, I want to help my community through tough times, support them in their endeavors, and celebrate their victories. To that end, I would include the classic and award-winning teen materials, as well as many suggestions from teens, regardless of their perceived quality. As Booth and Jensen state, “libraries must help teens find the types of materials that they want to read, even if they are not the type of materials adults think they should be reading” (Booth and Jensen, 2014, 93). I would be careful to have both fiction and non-fiction offerings, as well as some non-book materials such as videogames, audiobooks, magazines, and perhaps even movies.
One collection that I would create in particular is non-fiction. I believe that in many libraries, non-fiction for teens is noticeably lacking, and desperately needed. Many young people have approached me looking for literature on a non-fiction topic, but the children’s collection is too easy, and the adult section is too hard. Teens are going to be writing many research papers for school, as well as finding interests of their own, and providing them with understandable, detailed materials is key to helping them achieve their goals.
To help the teens through the tough times, I would create exhaustive lists of items that cover topics such as loss, bullying, familial strife, natural and man-made disasters, and self-help. These lists would be readily available to both the librarians and the teens, so the teens had the option of browsing without having to explain their situation to a stranger. On these lists, I would provide both fiction options for those who prefer to relate to a story, and non-fiction options for those who want to do research.
To support teens in their endeavors, I would create an extensive non-fiction section on entrepreneurial topics, such as financial planning, crafting, and marketing. I would also try to create a section of the collection devoted to works by local teens, such as their books, films, reviews, and artwork. These works could give the teens an added feeling of professionalism.
To celebrate the teens’ victories, I would both make sure to purchase materials that contain stories about teens triumphing in life, as well as create a “wall of pride” where local teens could display their awards announcements, grades, sports records, or anything else they felt would be worth celebrating. I may catalog these recognitions at the end of each year, creating a database, either online or just in a scrapbook, providing a local history of the teens successes.
Of the resources made available to me up to this point, I believe the Teen Librarian Toolbox would aid me the best in achieving my goals. The tool I find to be most useful in the Toolbox is the “Teen Issues” tab (Teen Librarian Toolbox, 2017). The list of articles, suggestions, and resources on virtually every topic in teen life seems to meet all my potential future needs; and then some!
Teen Librarian Toolbox. (2017). Teen issues. Retrieved from http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/teen-issues/
Booth, H. & Jensen, K.(eds.) (2014). The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services. Chicago, IL: ALA. pp. 91-104.