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 Middle School Librarian, Teresa Young.
Mrs. Young works in Springfield, MO. We first met when I presented at the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks. We're pleased to interview her here on Library Lions!
The Skinny: How long you’ve been a Youth Librarian?
This is my 8th year as a school librarian. I served four years in an Elementary and then followed my students over to the Middle School. This will be my fourth year in Middle School.
When I switched from Elementary School Librarian to Middle School Librarian, I read the student evaluations and presented a vision to the principal of how I could transform the library by rearranging furniture, splashing some paint on the walls and creating new reading spaces for the students to enjoy.
I’m happy to say we made some fun changes.
Library Love: Briefly, what do you love most about your work?
Every day I look forward to serving in the Middle School library because each day is unique! As I work with young teens, my goal is to increase their knowledge of being effective users of information.
I love connecting to the students and staff, promoting literature, teaching how to be ethical with technology and serving the families I work with on a daily basis.
This school year I am serving as the President of the Regional Area of School Librarians and have been an active part of the state wide professional organization, MASL, Missouri Association for School Librarians.
When you think of a Middle School student, you have to think of a cell phone. Our school rule is no phones during school time however as soon as the last school bell rings, cell phones come out of everyone’s pockets.
During National Library Week, the Student Library Advisory Board, SLAB, decided to have a book drive for the new Preschool that opened just down the street from us. They have a great facility but only a small space for a library with books supplied from donations. A teacher in our school building volunteered to bring her young children’s favorite toy car into the library so that the preschool book DRIVE could be collected to donate to our neighbors. Students saw the car, came into the library and then asked permission to take a picture of the car because it was so cute!
Cameras were flashing but no students were allowed to get inside the car. Not sure anyone our size would even fit! The book DRIVE was a success and boxes of books were brought to build a preschool library or to put books in backpacks to take home.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
The Library is the place to be from before school programs, during school learning and after school clubs. Before school the Spanish Club meets one morning a week, the Breakfast Club meets two mornings a week to listen to a Truman nominee book be read aloud, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meets with one of the coaches and SLAB, Student Library Advisory Board alternates meetings with the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) which both create activities that involve school spirit around literacy or scholarship and serving others in our school or community.
During school, the library is used constantly by the reading teachers who require students to read to science and social studies teachers needing students to do research on a topic. The Health teacher uses the library for technology projects where students create and then share about a health topic. The art teacher makes uses of the library space and computers when starting a new project such as perspective. Even the PE teacher will use the library to have students do research on sports that are being taught in class.
The library is really the heart of the building and offers so many opportunities for others to learn about the resources inside by celebrating National Geography Awareness Week, Money Smart Week and Pi Day!
After school, the students proposed to start a Twilight Book Club and all those students who loved the books, gathered together to share their favorite book character, play Twilight games and even eat Twilight snacks. Again, the students created a club to “hang out” and called themselves the “Couch Club”. Nothing formal was announced as there was a limited space on the couch, but the club grew from word of mouth and the students quickly found a safe place to just chill.
Readers Roar: Let’s hear from the kids!
Students wrote metaphors about the library. Some chose to use a simile, since that was a little easier to do. Here are some samples of what the students said about the School Library:
“Walking in the library is like walking in the mall; you can look at stuff and not walk out with anything.” Alex, 7th
“Reading is a doctor because it helps.” Riley, 6th
“The library is like my room where I feel safe inside.” Daphne, 6th
“A book is like a roller coaster ride, you read it and want to read it again.” Audryanna, 6th
“The library is like Wonderland where we are Alice with a new discovery around each corner.” Kali, 8th
“The library is a thrift store; everything is used.” Tori, 6th
“The library is a friend because when I am down, I can always turn to it.” Sarah, 7th
“The library is like a recycling center; you read, return and repeat.” Rose, 7th
“The library is a toolbox I use for my work.” Mitchell, 6th
Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
The Truman Readers Award is promoted in this school library. This is a state program sponsored by MASL where the students pick their favorite. Reading teachers use the books in literature circles in class. Students hear about all the books and then select the one that interest them. There are twelve books on the list and students read at least four titles to be eligible to vote in early March. These are the hot books from that list:
1. MAZE RUNNER I can not keep copies of this book on the Truman rack nor on the Hold shelf. As soon as students know it is available they want to read it. This is the first book in a trilogy about boys who work through obstacles in their “community” as they seek out an escape.
2. THE LAST THING I REMEMBER Another title that students are talking about after they read it and everyone wants to get their hands on it! This is another book that is the first in a series. The main character awakens in a torture chamber with no memory of how he got there. He flashes back to the last thing he remembers.
3. JANE IN BLOOM Every student who reads this title tells at least two others and the book constantly moves from student to student. This is a first novel for author Deborah Lytton. A deeply personal look at sisters, the oldest sister faces issues with anorexia and the youngest has to deal with grief issues.
One of the Middle School reading teachers used the book, THE MAN WHO LOVED CLOWNS with her classes.
When I asked her if she had ever met the author, June Rae Wood, a Missouri Author, she told me no. I immediately contacted June Rae Wood and asked her if she could squeeze in a visit to my school library before attending the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks in October. She told me her fee and then I started making phone calls asking if businesses would like to fund her visit. A local business contributed so the students and the teacher got to interact with the author. We even had a parent reception after school. This made reading come alive to these students who continue to ask for June Rae Wood books.
June Rae Wood Author Visit
Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
Because I see a great need for new and fresh materials in the Library, I write grants every year to fund a special project. Some of the grants are local and others are national. Each grant makes a difference and helps me to offer the newest and best to my students and staff. I would like to send a ROAR to Lowe’s who gives grants to libraries nationwide. Lowe’s gave over $5,000 for our library to build our nonprint collection as well as a computer kiosk where the students can easily access the card catalog for searching or to work on a health technology presentation.
Building the Kiosk
Thanks again for interviewing with us here on Library Lions!
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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.