This week has been fairly exciting. I found out that I’ve had a couple of volunteer applicants, I FINALLY finished covering all the new books that we got in January, and the couple of books that didn’t get ordered in the first round have been ordered. I searched for a LONG time through SIRSI under a lot of different subjects to find books to pull for the Teen Tech Week display (technology, science, science fiction, steampunk, music, gaming, video games, war games, and several more). I ended up with a pretty long list, but several of the subject headings weren’t specifically related to “tech” so I had to read a lot of blurbs to figure out what would really fit with the “tech” theme. I also just sort of wandered through the stacks to just see if I could find any that I had missed in my searches. I ended up with a pretty good selection, and I intend to add several of them to my “future reading list”. Included on the list are Matched, a few books based on the video game Halo, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Reality Boy, Cinder, and several others. Some of the books in the display are included on the TTW board.
I’m pretty excited about the prospect of having volunteers. Toward the end of last year, the library received a VISTA (volunteer in service to America) to help boost the volunteer program. She has been wonderful, and this week, she has given me two volunteer applications to review. I am really excited to set up interviews, because it would be great to have assistants to help me with programming. It would also be nice to collaborate with a few more people about programming ideas. I’m really hoping that having volunteers will help me to do the weeding/repairing/cleaning portion of my collection development plan. Because part of the Teen Specialist’s duties are working the Information and Returns Desk, it is often very hard to spend any amount of time in the collection. The Teen Specialist works the Info desk because it has the best line of sight into the Teen Lounge. Because of the TVs and games in the area, it’s best for someone to keep an eye on the area, just to be sure that it doesn’t get too rowdy.
Also this week, I pulled a book from the YA collection for the first time. I’ve pulled several books from the regular collection to be put into YA, but I’ve never taken anything out. I was going through the stacks, searching for TTW display books, and one of the books on my list was a little bit too “adult” for YA. I read the blurb on the back of the book, and the beginning sounded like it could maybe be considered YA, but the blurb ended with “and he introduced her to his wildly erotic world, but would she survive it?” or something along those lines. That line definitely bothered me, and I flipped through the book to see what it was like. There were some pretty intensely sexual scenes, and while there are sex scenes in some YA books, they are usually not nearly so explicit. I was fairly concerned about this, and since I’ve had parents question the selection choice for YA books, I decided that it was in the best interest of the collection to place it in the library’s general romance section. (The book was Devoured by Emily Snow.) While I certainly don’t believe in censoring what anyone reads, I also don’t think that the book was appropriate for the teen section, especially since there are often very young children in that area. If a child or teen actively searches for a book of that nature, that’s one thing, but to have a child accidentally stumble on book that are certainly very adult in nature could lead to issues in the future. (Technically, children are not supposed to be alone in the teen section, but it does happen occasionally. A lack of adult supervision could be to blame for a child’s discovery of such a book; however, I would feel pretty awful if a kid found a book that was marked as “young adult” and was scarred for life by the content.)
Another thing I did this week was try to come up with ways to get people, not just teens, to like the library’s social media pages. So far, I’ve put links to the pages on brochures, bulletin boards, and I’ve even created QR codes that take users directly to the pages, but we just aren’t getting followers and likes that way. My next project is to create a bookmark to place in random books throughout the teen section. The bookmarks will be focused pretty heavily on social media, referring readers to the various pages to tell us about the books. I’ll update more on those once I figure out a design.