by Nicolas Resteiner, Head Editor, INALJ Mississippi
Takeaways from Teen Programming
Just recently I was given a promotion from Page to Library Assistant at my library. Besides giving me a much more varied and depth everyday experience at my job, it opened the door to working with a mentor on some teen programming. After some discussion, we decided to do a film contest. We scheduled it during the local school district’s winter break, decided to give away some high-tech prizes, and distributed flyers.
For the first couple weeks of the submission period, I only had one entry. However, in the days leading up to the deadline, I got more and more submissions. The final count was twelve, with teens from 12-18 entering films. We even had some 11 year olds interested for next year’s contest. Everyone I talked to had a very positive reaction to the program, and many had gotten their parents and peers involved in the production of their work.
The second stage, which is still to happen, is arranging a public showing. Though I anticipate it will be mostly the parents of the entrants, I am going to open it up to the public and rent an auditorium to show the films and giveaway prizes.
So what are the takeaways?
First, for people who work in libraries and are working on an MLIS, don’t be afraid to seek out someone to take you under their wing! Most library professionals are happy to do, and it can help you gain useful contact in your organization, as well as giving those around you a good idea of your drive and ambition. This applies to any library student and any project, whether you are interested in doing some programming, coming up with a more effective way of doing things around the office, or just want to impress those around you.
Secondly, programming requires that you know your target audience and community. My library is located in an affluent suburb, so I knew that the kids would have access to the technology needed to create films. Our library is located next to a high school as well, so my program would get plenty of exposure, since students come to our library on a regular basis, both during and after school. Finally, timing the program during winter break ensured that they would have the time to film.
This article is about my experience, but it could be yours too. One of the most important things in life is to put yourself out there, and this applies to librarians now more than ever. Don’t be afraid to try something bold, even if you are low on the totem pole.