After completing the Development and Management of Collections course in Fall 2013, I felt really influenced to work in an environment that would allow me to work with teens. After seeing the work that needed to be done in the teen collection, I requested to perform a practicum as a Teen Specialist. Luckily, the public library where I am currently employed needed a teen specialist, and the Youth Services Coordinator agreed to work with me as a practicum advisor. I worked with Drs. McClanahan and Bilal to create five objectives for my practicum that would best meet the needs of the teens of Columbus, MS. I believe that the five objectives and the work performed during my practicum relate to YALSA Competency Areas II and VII, which are Knowledge of Client Group and Services, respectively. These two areas are my third and fifth areas of competency.
Although I am still currently working to complete my practicum, I believe that my work is already impacting local teens. I have tried to accommodate their requests and needs by ordering books on specific subjects and I am in the process of creating programming to both educate them and provide them with entertainment. The work I am doing for my practicum is very important to me as there was previously less focus placed on teen programming, ordering, etc. than the focus placed on children. I am working diligently to create a space where teens of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds feel comfortable and actively want to participate. Because this practicum is still being completed, I am still learning more about teens and their needs, along with the best ways to help them. Right now, the main focus is being placed on collection development and developing programming for the teens, and the next phase of my plan is to really push participation in the library’s social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). In the future, I would like to start off with a completely new Facebook account for the teen library, as the current one was in place before my practicum started. Since I created accounts for Twitter and Instagram, I would eventually like to create a fresh, new Facebook account, but for the time being, I am working with what I have been given.