Library Lions welcomes today’s guest Kristin Fletcher-Spear who has worked as a Teen Librarian for going on 11 years
Kristin works at Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Arizona.
We first connected with Kristin on her cool blog Book Obsession Check it out LL readers!
Kristin is also a published author of the book Library Collections for teens: manga and graphic novels. Kristin jokingly calls herself “the anime and manga goddess of Foothills library.”
The Skinny: Briefly, what do you love most about your work?
That’s too hard to narrow down! I love the creativity involved in being a teen librarian. Realizing that even though I don’t call myself crafty, I do a lot of crafty and creative activities with my teens. I love how my job is different every day. I think my biggest love is the collection development part of my job. Buying all the books and media for teens helps me on every level of my job. I love booktalking, displaying, programming around books (I host a monthly Ani-Manga club all about manga), and most importantly connecting teens with books.
Two fellow teen librarians (one a teen/adult librarian, and one a teen/tween librarian) and I painted our teen space over the course of a weekend. We painted after we closed each night. It took us 17 ½ hours to do the base and all of the fabulous polka dots. The next week, I found out that a print shop could have made vinyl circles for us for under $200. Every time I see the polka dot wall I think about that.
Kristin, we here at LL just want to say your hand-painted polka dots shows your Library Love.
One day I came to work to do a program, even though I had a fever, I was using a blender to show how to make a smoothie and instead of lifting the blender pot up, I twisted it off the base and all the smoothie came out from the bottom! I remember thinking, “This is why I have sick time.”
And from the mouths of teens: On a book review (spelling mistakes not corrected): “Nicholas Sparks is the new William Shakespear.” Whenever we are having a rough day, we pull the review out just to smile.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs
I just did an interview for a teen cable show about teen volunteering and the teen who interviewed me began the introduction with “Do you remember the public library—the one you used to go to for storytime? Well, you can volunteer there as a teenager!” I groaned to myself that this teen is missing out on so many fabulous things if she hasn’t been in the library since as a young child.
We have a wide variety of programming for teens. Hands on activities like crafts, interactive/competitive programs like Yuck Night, Cooking programs like Iron Chef Challenge
We also do movie events, videogaming, and book-oriented programs.
These are just some of the types of programs we hold throughout the year. I would like to highlight our book-oriented programs since they are fit our core values as librarians:Each month I hold an ani-manga club focusing on anime and manga. Teen Book Café is a book club without any assigned book. In both programs, instead of focusing on a specific book, we talk about a genre. I provide a bookmark with title suggestions, a cartful of books, and in between teens sharing their books, I booktalk titles they may not know.
Readers Roar: Let’s hear from the Teens!
Sarah F who is getting school credit for volunteering at the library said:
"Volunteering at the library started off as an obligation and has turned itself into loads of fun. The programs are fun, the staff is great and the environment is fantastic!"
Our teen volunteer program is an amazing opportunity for teens. Last year our teens volunteered over 3100 hours. They help us in programs, at the reference desk, shelving and pulling of materials, and so much more. I love mentoring the volunteers and see them grow as teens.
I also heard a teen volunteer tell a little boy who asked her how much money she makes at the library that she “gets paid in fun”. Probably my favorite quote about volunteerism that I have ever heard!
Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
Paranormal romance is still the big ticket item at my library. City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare’s newest title in the Mortal Instruments series is a powerhouse right now!
For boys, it would be Scorpia Rising, the last Alex Rider novel, or Emperor of Nihon-Ja, the last Ranger’s Apprentice novel.
But I’m most interested in Gayle Forman’s Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay, which I found so powerful and moving.
Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
As a teen librarian you only get to impact these teens for a few years and then they move on. Sometimes we never see them again, other times word comes back about their successes. Every time I hear that my role in the library helped a teen discover themselves or make an impact on their lives somehow, I get all the encouragement I need to keep going and working with the newest batch of teens.
Kristin’s Connection Info:
Blog: Book Obsession http://bookobsessiongpl.blogspot.com
Library Website www.glendaleaz.com/library
Library Teen Website www.glendaleaz.com/teenlibrary
Thanks again for the terrific interview, Kristin!
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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.