Tuesday I had my last Teen Program at RBPL and probably my last full on Teen program for quite awhile since the Children’s Room at Glendale only goes up to 8th grade. The theme for the month was Zombie Survival and Awareness since, in case you didn’t know, May is Zombie Awareness Month. Go Figure.
On the agenda was to make Zombie Felties, Mini Bow & Arrows, and do some Zombie inspired face painting. Well, the Zombie Felties took a lot longer than I thought they would. Part of that reason was because instead of following the patterns which created mini Zombie Felties, the teens at least quadrupled the size of the pattern which makes for a ton of sewing for kids just learning how to sew in the first place. They all got to a wonderful start, although they weren’t able to finish them, and they all seemed to have a good time despite not doing all of the projects on the agenda. Pictures are below.
Reflecting on my experiences as a Teen Librarian, one thing strikes me. And that’s the parents of the teens. There are some parents who just drop the kids off and leave, no big deal. And then there are the parents that I need to have “the talk” with, and let them know that they can come pick up their children in an hour. These parents usually return in about 50 minutes and their kids are less than thrilled to see them. They also make sure the kids go home with as much free stuff as possible and always have advice for me on what I did wrong in the program. But even though it was wrong, the kids still had a great time and love coming. They also remind me that they really want to participate as well and they could help me. I need an aide, right?
I am always very respectful of these parents. My sister is 12 and while I’m not her mother, I can see the difficulty I have sometimes in letting go. Of playing the role of sister/friend rather than guardian. I can imagine what these parents are thinking after they’ve devoted the last ten – thirteen years to being with this child and then they want to go to these programs where some young looking girl is telling them they can’t stay. That suddenly they’ve reached some kind of point where they’re not allowed. It’s a tough position to be in. For both of us. I want to be treated like a professional and they want to assert their knowledge and keep an eye on their kids.
All in all, though, the parents, despite disliking my no hanging out rule, have been great. Their advice is helpful. Sometimes the delivery is not so great, but I figure, hey, I only do one teen program a month. They don’t know me and yet I ask them to trust me, so okay. The development of the helicopter parent makes me nervous, and after speaking with some Academic Librarians I know who have college students and parents coming to the reference desk together and the parent doing all the talking makes me a little weary and glad that I stand by my rules.
And I’m also very thankful that I had this opportunity to work with the teens and to get a little taste of what being a teen librarian might be like. And, I’m also thankful to know that I still prefer Children’s Librarianship anyday (if I had to choose, of course).
Thanks, RBPL Teens! You’ve been great!