Thursday, December 6, 2012

Priceless Moments in Teen Librarianship

We get all types of teens that walk through our doors every day.  

You have the teens that genuinely love the library.  They love to talk books, explore stories, and spend time in the quiet nooks and crannies enjoying the space and expanding their imaginations. 

You have the teens who don't have anywhere else to be.  They  are killing time, sometimes loners, sometimes hanging with friends, but not really interested in anything you have to share.  And yet, sometimes they do.  They like the attention (and the free snacks).

You have the teens that use you strictly for homework.  They have a mission; find information and get their homework done.

And then you have the who can walk or ride their bikes to the library anytime, any day.  They often strut around like they own the place, and they are often very comfortable in the environment, getting into trouble, and finding ways to get attention.

Miraculously, I have managed to get at least one of each type in my Teen Advisory Board.  They say crazy things, offer crazy ideas, and try to one-up each other with comments and suggestions that are so totally off the wall that they are basically useless.  But they're fun.

Case in point - Monday night was our monthly TAB meeting.  We were sitting in a circle around a group of tables.  I was at one end going through the agenda, and we had gotten to the part of the meeting when the teens were suggesting ideas for programs and services.

The boy facing me at the far end of the table raised his hand.  It was about the 25th time he had raised his hand that night, and I was preparing myself for one of his usual, attention-seeking suggestions.  This teen is one of my after-schoolers.  He doesn't come every day, but he's there enough that I've gotten to know him pretty well, especially because he plays a saxophone right outside my office window..."practicing."  He only knows one song, and just my luck, it's George Michael's Careless Whisper.

So this teen asks me "Can we have a place where musicians can practice?  So I can play with my friends."

"Well," I said, "we can talk about it, if you can learn a second song."

He laughs, a grin spreading across his entire face, and answers, "But that's my sexy sax song..." 

He didn't miss a beat, didn't waste a second thinking about a comeback.  And the smile on his face said it all.

I'm adding that little gem into my "Priceless Moments in Teen Librarianship" folder.  It doesn't matter what type of teen they are when they walk in the building.  They all have the potential for greatness, whether it's in the art they give you to hang on your walls, the trick they can show you on the computer,  or the smiles they can put on your face without missing a beat.

This one I just had to share.

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