Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for Libraries and for the outstanding Librarians serving Children and Young Adults in Schools and Public Libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest Shauna Yusko
Shauna is a youth librarian at Evergreen Junior High Library in Washington
When I asked her how long she’s been a librarian her answer:
Forever :)No seriously,12 years. 5 in public libraries, which I loved;7 in school libraries,which I love more(summers off ROCK!)Shauna’s currently on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults committee (2011),she’s won a national Best Buy TEACH Award (A LL Roar of congratulations for the award, Shauna!).
She also added she used to coach a middle school speech team and LOVED IT.
I originally wanted to be a science teacher (probably high school chemistry). When it was time to get the teaching degree however,I was pregnant with my first child and did not relish the thought of student teaching while pregnant. So I was looking for something else to do. My husband, who’s aunt was a librarian, suggested library school. And that’s actually kind of funny coming from a man who never reads.But I realized that I’ve always loved to read (almost like an addiction) and being a librarian would give me a chance to work with students on all subjects, not just one. And since I can’t be Indiana Jones, this is the next best job!
Wow, I have to pick one? Hmmm…you probably do not want to hear about the time the preschooler vomited all over storytime. And when you work with teenagers in junior high/middle school, there are MANY hilarious stories to choose from. I should probably pick a story where I don’t have to change names to protect the guilty. Okay, one that definitely stands out is the time that I put up the Twilight READ poster featuring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. I had a group of 9th grade girls in the library at lunch standing near the poster, pointing, ooh-ing and aah-ing. There was quite a bit of girl giggling too. The best part is, the girls would send one of their group out to find other friends in the lunchroom so they could come ogle the poster as well. So funny to watch, I wish I had taken a picture, or even video. The best part? It went on for days.
Now,if only they realized that the Sherlock Holmes READ poster (starring Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr.)
Or the Orlando Bloom READ poster were much more worthy of their staring…
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
I absolutely have a favorite library program:Not Just Reading & Writing.This program allows our 7th grade Tech I classes to tie their learning of technology skills into the Language Arts curriculum. The project culminates with them writing, illustrating, and publishing a children’s picture book of their own design. Completed picture books are also turned into an audiobook, narrated by the students.(Some books are also translated into Spanish by EJH students)When the final books are published, 7th graders invite kindergartners from the neighboring elementary schools to visit the junior high library for a field trip to hear the stories read aloud.
It might be considered crazy by some to have 75 kindergartners and 75 7th graders in the library at one time, but we call it organized chaos… and GREAT FUN! So much fun that we do it each semester. Maybe that makes us crazy? I’m not sure who has more fun though, the kindergartners or the older kids.
Since I work in a school, I have a slightly captive audience. Just like a lot of librarians, I try and reach readers any way I can…having new books on hand, displaying books, talking with students whenever I can about what they are reading, soliciting book reviews, having contests, promoting new books, etc.
I inherited an old library in an old building,so trying to make the collection up-to-date and the library seem inviting and welcoming has been a big key (it is amazing what paint and posters will do to change the look of the library).
Collaborating with teachers is a big key for me in order to get students in the door, as are making the library a place to want to come and hang out (now, if only they would stop playing tag in the stacks).
I have also started a library blog and a Facebook page to reach readers in new ways!
“Thank you so much for your patience and helping me find great books! I have enjoyed every one!”—Juliana, Grade 9
“Thank you so much for letting me read all the advance copies. I am always looking for more books to read.”—Gretchen, Grade 8
“This is the best library EVER!”—John, Grade 7
“Thank you so much for letting me read my book at Dickinson Elementary. I appreciate everything you have done for me. Thank you!! Thank you!!”—Selene, Grade 7
Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
Well, for us, this year means the school year, which just started. In the first week of school, our top three books (based on checkouts and hold requests) would be: (1) “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins; (2) “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins; (3) “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” by Jeff Kinney. Really not a surprise.
Since kids know that I receive advance copies of books, I have already been asked this year for “Halt’s Peril”, the next book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series (coming in October, which I do have an ARC of), and “Angel” by James Patterson, the next book in the Maximum Ride series (coming in February, which I do not have a copy of).
Author! Author! Describe the perfect author visit from a librarian’s point of view.
FREE :) I know that is pretty unrealistic though, but you did say perfect. I would love to host an author that genuinely enjoys talking with students and can be flexible in what they present...be willing to go with the flow depending on how the students are interacting. A real love of what they do goes a long way and really gets kids engaged in what they have to say. My dream visit would be a “roundtable” of sorts with several authors at the same time, talking about books, reading, writing, and more. As part of the BFYA committee, I attended a pizza party at ALA in June (hosted by Penguin Publishers) where John Green, David Levithan, and Andrea Cremer entertained teens in the audience with stories about books, reading, writing, touring. PERFECT!! And completely out of my budget!
Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
So many things I could roar about. But I’ll probably just say that I love the library blog and have become completely addicted to blogging. Truly, if there were a 12-step program for it, I might have to join. I hope that you’ll stop by and visit!
Thank you, Shauna for your terrific interview!
Love Libraries? Give a Roar for your local library or favorite school library in “Comments” below.
Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org for an interview slot.