Category Archives: why a librarian

Getting kids reading with comics

"Adventures of Superhero Girl" by Faith Erin Hicks #summerreading #comics Another book I am very excited to read just arrived on my desk :) Appropriate break #reading? Too soon?

Over the summer we had a reporter come into my library to interview me and my friend Andy about comic books and kids and reading. My theory is that he thought we would be stereotypical librarians and wrinkle our noses at the popular format. And I think we surprised him by our enthusiasm for comics and knowledge of graphic novels:

Getting Kids Reading Through Comics

I think for many librarians and teachers that work with reluctant readers, comic books are a powerful tool. For adults who somehow managed to go their entire childhood without touching a comic book, though, the assumption is that they are all either Archie adventures or men in tights. The truth is that this is a powerful format that now features published books in just as many genres as a “normal” book.

this sums up being a librarian…

approxknowledge

This quote (from Adventure Time, Season 1 Episode 18, “Dungeon”) has become my new motto.  You hear people say “Ask the librarian, they know everything” but the fact is that we just know enough to find you what you need.  We know how to ask the right questions to help you find the best resource for your project or the new favorite book.  It is more our confidence that we can find you what you need than our actual knowledge.

“Wewease the seeecwet weapon!”

(bonus points if you know what movie I’m referencing in the post title)

I’m a geek and I love showing off my fandom pride. I love finding lanyards to wear to work to hold my name badge and, more importantly, stick my geeky buttons to represent a few of my favorite things:

My secret weapons

There have been some wonderful unintended consequences to wearing these buttons!

I wish I could tell you how many kids and teens ask me “Is that a Dalek pin?” while I’m helping them find a book. I’ve lost count. But it gives me a great way to break the ice with them and show them that librarians are people too, and we enjoy some of the same things they do. Talking to a teen about Doctor Who one day can make them feel comfortable approaching you for help on another day.

Same goes for my Mockingjay pin, which I’ve had compliments on from both teens and adults. I love the series and it gives me a chance to talk to them about young adult literature and usually upcoming programs (like our Catching Fire program, coming November 26th, just after the movie is released! Mark you calendars now!)

I also have an R2-D2 (a good way to show street cred to prove to the kids that you really are a Star Wars fan and not an adult pretending to “get it”), and my Greendale College lanyard (which I have retired for awhile because it was starting to get a little bit icky) was another fun one. I had many people ask where Greendale was but I had a few sly “Human Beings” who called me out on it.

I know it may sound silly – of course librarians are people too – but these little things can make you more approachable, take away that aura of “stuffiness” that seems to come with being a Librarian, and also make great conversation starters.

This morning I had a message from another librarian in my system sitting in my inbox. She told me that during her shift the evening before a young lady, a senior in high school, came into the library with her family. Her younger siblings were signing up for the Summer Reading program and the librarian told her about the teen program we have this year. This prompted the girl to start telling the librarian about how she didn’t used to like reading until she visited my branch. Apparently, she was at my library and her father told her she couldn’t leave until she picked out a book and she huffed and puffed and dragged herself over to the Information Desk.

This is the point in the story where my colleague decided the girl was talking about me –

[…]the teen asked for book recommendations. She told the librarian she enjoyed The Hunger Games and said the librarian became so excited she was spazzing out. It was pretty funny; she starting waving her arms etc. and you recommended several titles but I remember The Uglies. She said she read every one and rattled off other titles that I’ve seen you post about.[…] She said please tell her everything you see here (and she waved her hand from her head to her feet) is all because of her! It was very sweet.

How awesome is that?  Usually I worry (after the fact) that my spazzing will scare the children and teens away from reading.  But apparently she found it endearing and really enjoyed the books I gave her.  So, YAY! I really hope she makes her way back to my branch at some point, I’d love to put a face to this story. ❤