TEXAS TEEN LIBRARIAN ROARS!
Welcome to Library Lions Roar — interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, Teen Librarian Veronica McKay!
I am the Teen Services Librarian at the Rita and Truett Smith Public Library in Wylie, Texas.
I have worked at the library for eight years. I started as a Circulation Tech and then went to get my Masters in Library Science. In February 2011 we moved into a brand new building and I became the Teen Services Librarian. I created new programming that has gotten bigger every year. My biggest program to date has been our cupcake challenge that had 80 teens.
It was organized chaos. I also established a very successful TLC program with anywhere from 10-20 teens who do everything from advocating for the library at City Council Meetings to helping the Friends raise money for the library. My latest project is an outreach book club with the local high schools. I noticed that when teens reach high school they forget about us as well as being so busy to par-take in activities I decided to go to them. They read the same book as us and we go to the school once a month to discuss. I noticed that when they love what we are reading they then come to the book club at the library so they can further discuss the book. It has been very successful so far ranging from 10-25 teens each month at the high school and this endeavor has also increased participation in the Teen Book Club at the library to about 25-30 kids each month.
I love interacting with all types of people. Teens always amaze me and I am sad that we as adults over look how bright and insightful they can really be. Their outlook on the world is very interesting and they tend to pick up on things that I never thought about. I also love that my job is always changing and that every day I learn and encounter new things. Also, working in Wylie my co-workers have become part of my family. I love that the Children’s Department is such a close nit group of people who really take the time to get to know you and care a great deal about you.
A Mighty Roar!
Libraries to me are the gatherers of knowledge. They are an ever changing environment because its’ patrons need to know how to use certain technology or want information about a new hobby, thus librarians have to keep with these demands and keep libraries relevant. It is also a place where there is no judgment because all different types of people use them and their interests are all different so the people working in them have to learn to be neutral. They are also very much a place that has something for everyone.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs: I would like our teen patrons to know about all the programs that we do at no cost to them. We do everything from cooking classes, author visits, to gaming classes. We have a room dedicated to them with gaming systems, board games, and loud music playing. We also have a Facebook, book club blog, and tumbler accounts just for them. I would really like to hear from them on these social media sites as well as know how many teens actually use these sites to communicate with their local libraries.
My favorite programming when summer rolls around. We have programs for teens 6-12th grade twice a week in the summer. These programs are heavily attended. This is the time we experiment to see what works and what doesn’t and it’s my favorite time to be innovative and creative. I also love that I get to meet new teens that don’t typically use our facility in the fall. I also love that we are still able to give away great prizes and coupons due to the wonderful community business support we receive every year for our summer programming. I am enclosing photos of all the summer programs we had this year, they include:
World Building Writer’s Workshop,
Face Painting: Zombie style,
CSI and End of Summer Bash!
They were all a lot of fun.
Our Teen Library Council President loves the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. We had our TLC Halloween and we had creepy pictures hung on the walls so our TLC President decided to put pictures of what her fantasy Kai looked liked on the wall next to the creepy pictures.
I took all these pictures of her doing this and sent it to the author explaining how much she loved her series. The author wrote me back and asked if she could send her a bunch of swag. I asked her to send it to the library
and took a bunch of pictures of Wynne freaking out as she opened the gifts. It made me feel really good making her day and having a teen get that excited about an author.
We also get into Halloween.
Readers Roar: (Let’s hear from the kids!)
“This is the best library in the world”-Wynne 10th grade
“Arrr..Pirates are the best”-Jacob 2yrs old
“Thank you for bringing all these authors”-Dakota 9th grade
“Mom, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the best book ever. Gregg is like a boy I know”-Unknown-maybe 5th grade.
Facebook: Teen Center Smith Public Library
Thank you Veronica for your terrific interview!
Love Libraries? Give a Roar 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. Email Janet on the Contact page on this website for an interview.
Note to Authors: If you’re interested in Roaring for Libraries on this blog, contact Janet.