Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fall Programming and Outreach- I May be in Over my Head

When you ask Public Librarians why they do what they do, a good amount of them will reply with something along the lines, of "the community outreach" or "making a difference" or “I like working with people” and other randomness along those lines, which tends to be true. As I sit in the library listening to children growl at each other and throw stuffed animals across the room while their care takers do goodness only knows what, I remind you readers that we are also human, we can be driven to the brinks of insanity and question our life choices. 

That being said, I’m at the point where I’m questioning some of my choices. Are the small screaming children driving me a little crazy… yup, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Right before summer I met with the local high school principal and discussed ways that we can bring the public library to the school. I purposed something that I knew I could handle with very few problems, lunch time books clubs (an idea I stole from a friend of mine in Chicago). Kids who want to talk about books can come hang out with me at lunch, and we do book chats and suggest new books to each other. My friend even came up with a way to calculate the circulation of the books that the public library as bringing to the school. (That’s a separate discussion) By the conclusion of the meeting I had with the principal my initial idea had been scrapped, I had spent time talking to an actual class and they had ideas that were very different from mine. Something about competition, Jeopardy, points, awards, winning things, and other randomness. I’m not sure what happened, but it all happened very quickly, and then I was left with the summer to think about it and freak out a little bit. 

I want to reach out to teens; I want to show them that books don’t have to be the enemy. I want to show them that they aren’t alone in the world, these authors and the characters they’ve created understand them. I want these teens to learn to empathize with others and consider ideas they may never have thought of before. But… I have a hard time getting anyone to show up for my book club, or come to author Skype chats. I worry that by the Principal assigning me a class room and coming in once a month to do “something” with books, the kids will feel forced into it and rebel, particularly since I’m not a teacher and “they don’t have to listen to me anyway.” (I can just hear someone saying that now.) The lunch book club let kids who were interested approach me. Throwing me into a classroom seems like I’m being forced upon them. 

I may be thinking too hard about this (#librarianproblems) I just don’t want to go into the situation and realize that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and look up and begin to question my life choices. What to do, what to do????


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