Takeaways from Teen Programming

by Nicolas Resteiner, Head Editor, INALJ Mississippi

Takeaways from Teen Programming

DSC01043 (2)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.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.