Having completed the first week of my new post as the Young Adult Librarian at the Three Rivers Library, I can say for sure that I have made the right decision to take this position. While there is a fairly steep learning curve (mostly regarding technology stuff and how information is stored and exchanged here,) the highlight has been, and will continue to be, any contact I’ve been able to have with teens.
One very important thing I’ve learned is that teens are not always aware that library programs are FREE! It IS kind of hard to believe but it’s true. To me, libraries represent things working in a way that it would be nice if everything worked.
Public libraries are, in essence, the perfect example of democracy. Everybody pays just a little bit through their city or township or district. In exchange, all kinds of resources are made available to everybody – equal access across the board. Anyone who follows the rules can share in these educational and recreational resources. These include books (obviously) but also film, music, technology, etc. And the librarians are here to select those resources based on what the community wants and needs, to encourage people to make use of all they have already paid for, and to assist them in doing it.
I realize I am a little biased but I think the teen librarian has the best job. In this position, I get to spend my time and energy making sure that teens know all that is available to them. The basic resource for this is, of course, the library itself – the materials, the programs, the events. But the library is also a springboard for learning how to access resources beyond the library, for finding and making use of opportunities, and for that most-democratic of all principles – the pursuit of happiness.
We are, as a community, responsible for the well-being of our youth. What we teach them, the resources we share with them now, and the attitude we assume about that sharing, will have a huge impact on the shape of our villages and towns and cities far into the future. The library has a special role to play with its inherent message: The library belongs to you. You have to share it because it belongs to all of us, but that is part of the beauty of it. What better concept than a wonderful resource that gets better the more it’s used, that just improves the more it is shared?
I am thrilled to be a part of it.
From Beth Neff, YA Librarian