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 LIS jobs resource INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s 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.com. INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk 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 a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.