Teens LOVE Welcome to Night Vale

by Shayna Monnens, Head Editor, INALJ South Dakota

Teens LOVE Welcome to Night Vale

shaynamonnensIf you haven’t experienced the phenomenon that is sweeping the podcast world, be ready for one of the most interesting teen friendly things out there. As a teen librarian, I am ALWAYS searching for new things that will hook the teens, and if that something is a strange cross between “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, a hint of “Supernatural”, a splash of Dr. Who, and a great deal of awesomeness, then more power to me!

I was given my inspiration by an article I had read about a library in Brookline, Massachusetts, that recently hosted a Welcome to Night Vale Teen Listening Party, and I though, hey, they did it, so can I! So, I did! It. Was. AMAZING!

I had two members of my manga club who were fans of the podcast, and had told me a few months ago that I should listen to it. The podcast is about a radio show about a fictional town that not only suffers from strange cosmic phenomenon, has an engaging and endearing love story between the narrator Cecil and the scientist Carlos, and mysterious but oddly incompetent secret government entities. The episodes are released twice and month, and are around 20 minutes each. I decided that this would be a fun break from my typical Manga Club Friday meetings, and it was.

The best part was that it was a total surprise to everyone. They meeting room was set up differently, and when the kids arrived, they were a bit confused as to what we were doing. There was no AV equipment, no tables, no chairs. Just a set of speakers and a wide open space. I had told everyone that it was highly encouraged to bring something to get comfortable with at this week’s meeting and there were a few blankets, a few stuffed animals, and lots of lounging teens.

As a bit of a mood setter, I had everyone get comfortable around the room, whether it was on counters or tables or on the floor with their beverage and snack of choice, and I proceeded to pass out blindfolds. After even more confusion, and a tiny bit of shock, the kids were more than eager to play the part and willingly donned their blindfolds. Quite comically, they joked that they must look like a group of students kidnapped and being held hostage, and I must admit, they really did! Haha, oh the things that happen at manga club. 😀

When I started the first podcast episode, the two fans in the room were quite excited, and even proceeded to tell me that they “loved me!” What can I say, I love to share the joy and weirdness of things. Rules were, the blindfolds had to stay on for the entire first episode  and they could be removed during subsequent episodes. Oddly enough, the teens quite enjoyed the blindfolds and some kept them on for the remaining 3 episodes. What fun!

The teens had such a great time, and were quite excited when I brought up the idea that we listen to the newest episode at each manga club. The timing will work out fairly decent with the manga club scheduling, and it’s just “out there” enough that the teens seriously dig it! I enjoyed it as much as one of my youngest members (he’s 12 and I am 26), and everyone else in the ages between who come loved it as well. I look forward to continuing this great new addition to my teen lineup!

Haven’t listened to an episode? If the public service announcement about the dog park doesn’t hook you, then I don’t know what to tell you. I love it, and so do the teens.