Jan Chapman, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, Ohio
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 Jan Chapman
Jan writes book reviews for VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) and is currently serving on the 2011 Michael R. Printz Award Committee. The Printz Award is given yearly to the author of a young adult book that exemplifies the highest literary standards.
Jan says working on the Award Committee is, “the absolute highlight of my career! I love reading all those wonderful books and engaging in intense and lively discussions with my fellow committee members. What could be better than that?”
ROARCuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, Ohio was recently rated the NUMBER ONE library (for its size and population served) in the entire country!
I have been a teen librarian for eleven years and loved every minute of it. When I was studying for my degree in library science, I took a class in young adult services. That was all it took. I knew that was what I wanted to do in library land.
I began working in libraries as a volunteer when my two children were in school and I realized that this was the perfect career for me. When I began working with teens, I discovered my passion for teen services, a passion that has never waned. Teens need parents to raise them and teachers to educate them, but they also need an interested adult in their lives who encourages them to read and to be a part of their community. Teen librarians can fill that role and it is one of the greatest gifts of the job.
A few years ago, I was walking down a flight of stairs to the lower level of the library in order to help a customer, who was walking ahead of me, find a book. I warned her that the steps were narrow and tricky to maneuver. A second after my warning, I tripped and fell on her! No injuries, thankfully, except to my pride.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
My favorite teen program is a Project Runway Fashion Challenge that is based upon the popular reality series, Project Runway. We hosted the program during the summer, when we had an “ecological” summer reading theme.
The challenge for each budding fashion designer was to create an outfit using only bubble wrap, colored duct tape and recyclable materials (which tied in to the ecological theme). Each designer brought along a friend, who would be their model. They had about an hour to complete their outfits so that they were ready for a runway fashion show and judging. I was absolutely floored at the creativity and imagination that went into making some of these outfits. Check out the pictures, you will see what I mean!
Book clubs are a great way to connect readers with books. I lead a book club at a local middle school and also participate in leading a graphic novel book club called Comix Quest. The best way to reach readers, I think, is just to chat with them about what they like to read. Being friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about teen books goes a long way when trying to reach readers.
~“I always remember sitting in the school auditorium listening about all the cool things the library had planned for the upcoming summer’s annual Summer Program. I never thought that someday I’d have the opportunity to volunteer for that same program. I am grateful for all of the chances you gave me and all of the other teen volunteers to help out the library. Thank you. Please inspire more kids to keep reading; it seemed to work for me.”
~ “Reading is always a great way to have a good time while learning new information and jumping into a whole other world. I can always find a great selection of books at my public library, as well as a friendly staff who are always willing to help. I love to read and am grateful for my library!”
Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
~ Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. This is the sequel that everyone is waiting for! The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are the first two books in this incredibly suspenseful sci-fi series. Mockingjay is coming out in August and there is already a huge waiting list. And you can bet that I am on it!
~ The Pretty Little Liar series, by Sara Shepard is really hot this year, especially now that it’s a television show on ABC Family.
~ This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. Sarah Dessen is always a popular author and This Lullaby is a funny, sometimes cynical look at love.
The best author visits are from enthusiastic authors who love talking to teens and engage them in conversations during the visit, instead of just doing a presentation where the author is doing all the talking. I also love it when authors share funny stories about their writing experiences or about their lives.
Library Lion’s Roar:
I’d like to give a “roar out” to my library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, which was recently rated the NUMBER ONE library (for its size and population served) in the entire country. That is a great testimony to all the wonderful librarians and branch staff who work for this library system.
Thank you, Jan for your terrific interview!
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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. Email Janet on the Contact page on this website for an interview.