Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries and for the outstanding Librarians serving Children and Young Adults in Schools and Public Libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest Ken Gollersrud from the High Point Branch of The Seattle Public Library!
Ken has been a youth librarian for 11 years. At The Seattle Public Library, he helped popularize Latino cultural programs such as Day of the Dead including sugar skull decorating, partnering with a Latino club at a middle school that created altars for the library event.
More sugar skulls
Ken hosted a youth photo exhibit along with an artist’s reception at the South Park Branch. Working with the South Park Community Center he's organized Friday Late Night Programming for teens including: Gaming, Urban Legends, Zinery, Comic Book Illustration, Hands On Henna Artwork and African American History Night.
Hands on Henna
Ken says -- I love connecting library patrons, especially teens, with programs. To see them interact with a comics illustrator, artist or author is a real thrill. An even bigger thrill is to see them teach each other, whether it is a gaming program, or an art workshop. You never know what seeds are being planted. It is such a great opportunity to visit a school and talk about some of the cool books that are out there for teens and all the programs and things that teens can do at the library.
My first experience book talking at a school was a big learning experience for me. I was at a high school with another librarian. I walked up to the audience and the book I was talking about flew out of my hand as I tripped. How I was embarrassed! The first few times I had the plot lines typed out on the back of the books. I have progressed to the point where now I can talk about books and engage the audience without reading notes. It is almost like storytelling for teens! I love to book talk “Acceleration” by Graham McNamee. It is a lot of fun to get students all excited about the book and then leave them in suspense. Through my job I get all kinds of opportunities to do public speaking which I have learned to relax and have fun with.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
I host gaming at my branch about once a month. It is a great way for young people from all backgrounds to interact with each other. They teach each other about gaming and have fun. The secret thing the adults don’t know is that the teens are so great about sharing and working with each other and helping set up the equipment and packing it up.
When I am visiting a school it is so cool to hear kids express amazement at a book they would never think the library would own like a book, on lowriders or their favorite singer. I remember listening to a teenager was told to attend our zinery program. He walked in the door and said, “This is so dumb.” A half- hour later he was telling his friend how much fun he was having making a sport zine.
Author visits are a lot of fun.
Sandra Cisneros was celebrating her 25th anniversary of the classic “House on Mango Street.” I suggested that The Seattle Public Library invite her. Invited school classes received their own personal copies of the book, weeks before the visit. At the event Sandra talked about writing and reading to over 100 middle and high school students at the Central Library. She took questions and then posed for pictures with each class. Sandra autographed the books for each student.
I suggested that The Seattle Public Library invite Luis Rodriguez, author of “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.” Luis came to our South Park Community Center and spoke to a crowd of about 200-300 about life, writing, reading. He offered advice to parents about their teens, to adults and to teens. He stayed and autographed everyone’s book and talked with anyone who wanted to talk with him.
Book Brag:What three books are hot this year?
I won’t name the obvious book title with ‘Hunger’ in the title , but I really liked “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork. I thought it handled a teen dilemma situation well. High Point Branch youth are always fascinated by the 2011 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. I am always putting a copy of this on hold for someone. “The Drama High Series” by L Divine is the always asked for series at the High Point Branch!
Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
I have been involved with REFORMA,The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking for several years. I helped to form the Northwest Chapter. We present programs at the Oregon and Washington annual state library association conferences that educate library staff about how they can present programs that would appeal to Latinos/Spanish Speakers.
We have a Google Group where we ask advice from each other on how to better serve our Spanish Speaking patrons. Come join us! In May we are going to have a meeting and training day for our members and new members.
E-mail me for more information! http://nwreforma.blogspot.com/2010/04/portland-metro-meetings-this-week-about.html
The REFORMA, RNC IV, National Convention is coming up in Denver in September 2011:
!Nos Vemos en Denver!
Thank you Ken for your terrific interview!
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Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org for an interview slot.