December, December and Teen Advisory Council

Wow!  I can’t believe 2011 is almost over.  Well, I can.  It’s been a really long year and I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go.  I guess its time to start reflecting on 2011 and doing some best of… posts like I did last year.  Which reminds me… It’s been over a year since i re-vamped this blog and started writing in/on? it again.  yay!  happy anniversary, blog!

The real point of this post though, is not to reflect on the year as a whole, but to reflect on my Teen Advisory Council meetings.  I feel like I’m not engaging the teens enough and I’m trying to figure out how to give them ownership of the council and voice.  I can’t tell if they don’t talk because they’re uncomfortable, because they don’t want to be there, or I’m boring them to death.  Since this was only my 4th TAC meeting, and 3rd meeting Solo, I think this is a good time to figure out some improvements so that Jan – June will be stellar.

Here are a few ideas I’ve had:

  • Have a different TAC member lead each meeting.  While its too late in the year for each TAC member to do one, maybe the super into it TAC members will at least help out by taking on a few.  Then, if this works, this can be the precedence for next year’s TAC meetings
  • Survey time.  What better, more librarian way is there to find out what people want than by giving them a survey?  For January’s meeting, I’m going to make short, 5-6 question surveys on what they want from TAC, how I can improve TAC, and what we can do as a group
  • Do some kind of activity in each meeting.  I’ve done ice breakers, but I feel like those are too isolated.  Maybe some kind of group activity.  For Teen Tech Week in March I’m planning a fun activity, but maybe I should incorporate this into every meeting and not just occasionally.

My main thing is that I don’t want this to be like school.  I don’t want to force them to do anything and I want them to have fun.  What’s interesting is I feel like I can tell the difference between the kids who are there by force (either parent or school) or by free-will.  The teens who are there because they enjoy it you can tell.  They participate and smile and look like they’re enjoying themselves.  The ones who are there because of some kind of force are much quieter, try to avoid eye contact, and, I’m pretty sure don’t enjoy the sound of my voice.

What do you guys do in your TAC meetings?  Have you experienced similar problems?  Today the teens got excited when I mentioned having a Zombie program in May.  But then when I asked for more feedback than smiles and nods they looked miserable again.  I guess I could always assign them tasks but I feel like that might be too “forced”.  One TAC member brought up the idea of an Easter Egg hunt for the students and she’s also in charge of making a TAC FB page.  Maybe all the others need are direction, something a little more concrete, a task of some sort to make them more interested.  Because now that I think about it, that’s how I am in meetings today.  But as soon as there is a concrete task for me to do I’m all over it…

At what point does the librarian have too much control over TAC and not give the kids enough free reign?  Is it when the kids don’t take initiative that the librarian needs to step in?  I think this is where my need to delegate comes in.  Maybe the key is for me to plan things but assign them tasks to perform…

What do you guys think?  I think I’m rambling now, so I’m going to be quiet and think of something to delegate instead…


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