* Give us a little background—how did you come to be a teen / tween librarian?
I've always been a reader and library goer, but never thought about becoming a librarian. Then one day after college, I was in a job I didn't enjoy and trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I came across a site from the American Library Association called "So You Want to be a Librarian?" I thought "yes I do!" and when I moved to Springfield, looked for a job at the library.
* Describe a typical day at the library—if there is such a thing! What's your favorite (or the most rewarding) aspect of the job?
No day is typical-you never know what the day will bring!:) But I spend my day assisting patrons of all ages, helping with homework, finding books to read, and generally answering any reference question that's thrown my way. When I'm working off desk in the YA area, I'm working on planning programs then running programs, reading up on what books are being released, making an order wishlist and submitting it to our collection development team, updating the teen blog, updating the teen facebook, organizing the YA department, writing up booklists and booktalks, and meeting and talking to the teens that are there that day.
* You come across as a lifelong book junkie (like myself)! What are the main differences between teen bookaholics today and teen boookaholics when (I hate to use this phrase) we were that age?
I think the biggest difference is the amount of materials they have targeted just for teens. And libraries have become more aware of how important services to teens are and changing. When I was a teen, we had one shelf that was the "teen shelf" at the library-now there's an entire department dedicated to YA. It's a growing genre and there are so many more books to choose from now. More authors are realizing how fun it is to write for teens and more publishers are realizing what a great market it is.
* What are the biggest challenges you face as a teen librarian?
* What timeless themes do you find consistently requested by readers?
* How do teen readers react to slightly older books? (When I was in junior high, I gobbled Christopher Pike. But now, I look at books like Chain Letter, which is about teens receiving threats in the snail-mail, and I wonder if it doesn't just seem archaic to tech-savvy young adults.)
It really depends on the cover. I have some older books on the shelves that teens will snub, even though it's a great book-the cover is just awful. Publishers are smart though, and they know we often are drawn to a cover first-so they've been re-releasing older books with new titles and covers. And when they've got the updated covers, the teens will check them out. Some books will get an update in the text too and update the language, technology. But I think as long as it's a great story and draws them in, it doesn't matter about the age.
*What type of book do teens seem to be gravitating toward right now? Tweens? What's the attraction?
* How does blogging influence you / help your job?
I read a lot anyway, but with my blog, I can have ready reviews to booktalk to my teens-which is great and very helpful when I have school visits. It also helps when I draw a blank on what I've been reading! I've also noticed that I analyze books more-I think about what it is I like about them, what I think my teens will like about them, who I can give it to, etc. I still read for fun, but there's always a layer of reviewing going through my head.
* What's been the biggest surprise since you became a teen librarian?
Thanks to Sarah—and to all the tireless librarians who spread the love of literature! You can find Sarah’s incredible book blog at GreenBeanTeenQueen, and you can check out the latest for area teens at the Springfield-Greene County Library District’s TeenThing page.