In the words of Ava from NBC’s Up All Night (one of my favorite new shows this season), It’s important to Keep on Watching & Growing. She means watching her show, but its important to watch the world around you and continue to grow. I was going through my blog recently and stumbled upon this post, I will never apply for a YA position, which I wrote in April of 2011. Just since April of 2011, I have grown and become a strong supporter of YA Services, have become RBPL’s Teen Librarian, and have even joined YALSA.
Why the change of heart? When I took on Teen Services at RBPL, I did it because I knew I had this distaste for Teen Services and I knew I struggled to connect with teens. I also knew that this was a huge flaw in myself personally and as a professional and that this was something I definitely needed to change. I think that part of why I was given Teen Services was because I’m young and energetic and I’ll do my best with any task given. And my best is what I have done. By throwing myself in and doing the best job I can do, I have found the greatness that is Teen Services. I have been given the opportunity to work with a great group of teens, who, finally, it seems, have really warmed up in my Teen Advisory Council and had some great discussions yesterday, and those teens have changed my mind and my perception of just about everything.
Maybe part of the reason I was so anti-teen was that, like many other adults, I was kind of afraid of them. I mean, who isn’t afraid of raging hormones, really? But the more I learn about Teens and the more I try to remember what I was like when I was a Teen, the more understanding I become and the more I realize just how necessary Teen Services are in libraries and in the community. Whether I get one teen or 10 teens or 100 teens (I’d like to see that day!) at a program, I can feel confident that I’m helping those teens who show up by giving them a space and an hour to call their own and take ownership and be in charge of something. I think part of it is expectations. You need to expect that they’re not adults yet. They’re still learning how to navigate society and adulthood and they’re going to make mistakes and they’re going to need help. Just like I am still learning to navigate society and adulthood and I’ve got a good 10-15 years on these kids. We’ll never know everything, but by keeping an open mind and watching and growing, we can continue to learn and internalize and change. Always for the better.