BACK. TO. SCHOOL.
These three words mean many different things to many different people. For kids, it’s a mixed bag: some are excited, others hesitant, others filled with overwhelming rage. On the other hand, most parents are ready to drop their kids off in the morning on the first day, and then take themselves out for a celebratory breakfast, to congratulate each other for surviving another summer with their children. Teachers are polishing off the last of the summertime wine, and trudging back to the classroom to put up happy looking bulletin boards, whether they like it or not.
Back to school time means many different things to library staff as well. For people working at the front desk, there is a chance that they could be crushed by the amount of end-of-the-summer returned items. I don’t think a tower of toppling books ever crossed your mind as a work hazard, did it? The children’s staff looks forward to August and September, when they can take a bit of a breather from the Summer Reading madness, make sure the books are in order, and dust off the textbooks for the kids who left their math books in their lockers and have homework due yesterday.
In Area-T, the fabulous space for teens that we have created, the insanity is just beginning! Summertime in the teen room is fairly laid back. We have many well-attended programs, and many people stop by for books, but nothing compares to the swell of 13-18 year-olds that fill Area-T after school on a daily basis.
Last school year, there were upwards of 45-50 kids hanging out, using the computers, playing video games, reading, making crafts, playing board games, and goofing off on a regular basis…meaning Monday through Friday, from 2:35 until they have to leave for dinner.
During the renovation in September 2011, Area-T moved from the corner of the library to an enclosed area, so the kids can talk in normal voices, play games, have fun, but not disturb the other patrons. As seeing 50 kids in a closed-off room in the library can be exciting for some, the sight is intimidating to others…especially kids who are new library patrons, new to Plainfield, or even younger teens that are new to middle school. Most of the time I’m intimidated by seeing a million kids in there! However, after teens stop by and hang out once or twice, they have the opportunity to make friends that they wouldn’t normally make and have a blast. There is always a staff member at the Area-T desk after school, so teens can ask any questions that they have without even leaving the room!
Speaking on behalf of the teen staff, we want everyone to know that we want any teen in Plainfield, especially kids who are new 6th graders, to stop by and check out our space on Thursday, August 16th, from 3pm-8pm, for our Area-T Open House. We want to have the chance to show everyone our space, and give folks the lowdown on how much Area-T has to offer for the teens of Plainfield. There will be a quick craft to make, as well as free paperback books while they last! See you there!
Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Courtney, the Teen Services Coordinator. I spend the majority of my time back in area T. My job offers me the awesome opportunity to order all of the teen fiction for the library as well as plan teen programs. How cool is that? As you may’ve guessed, I’m a huge fan of teen fiction and I believe it’s a genre that can be enjoyed by other adults as well. Seriously! I’ve composed a list of my top 10-ish favorite teen books of the moment. Give one a try and let me know what you think!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Before I tell you about this book I must confess, I’m a huge John Green fan. I love his books and his vlog that he does with his brother Hank. I could write an entire blog entry on how much I love his work. But I won’t. Well, maybe later. Anyway, back to The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel is a sixteen year old terminal cancer patient. She spends her days watching TV and being obsessed with the author of her favorite book. Her life is forever changed when Augustus Waters shows up at her cancer support group. Upon this meeting, Gus and Hazel’s life will never be the same. Be sure to check out John Green’s other books: Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Told in a diary format, this book is a coming-of-age story about Charlie that follows him through his awkward adolescence as well as learning to cope with the tragedy in his life. Soon to be a movie starring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – After his band plays, Nick asks Norah, a complete stranger, to be his girlfriend for five minutes to avoid his ex. This action sets off a chain of events that sends the couple all over NYC. Music fans will love this one.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Anna’s dad sends her to boarding school in Paris. Here she meets St. Clair and they become best friends, but Anna may want something more. If you like this one, be sure to check out the companion novel: Lola and the Boy Next Door.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- Clay comes home to find a box full of cassette tapes waiting for him. On the tapes is the voice of Hannah Baker who committed suicide two weeks before. Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life and Clay is one of the reasons.
Heist Society by Ally Carter – Kat has always had a hand in the family business; her family just happens to be con artists and thieves. She tries to escape the lifestyle, but is pulled back in when her father is accused of stealing a mobster’s art collection. Kat’s only option is to steal the paintings back to clear her father’s name. Be sure to check out the sequel: Uncommon Criminals.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – After she dies in a car crash, Samantha relives the day of her death over and over.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman – Mia is in a coma following an accident that killed her entire family. The story follows her process of deciding whether to stay or join her family.
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty – Jessica is devastated when her best friend, Hope, moves away. Now she must face the trials and tribulations of high school alone. This book is the first in a series.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin – After Liz is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that’s very much like Earth. She has to adjust to her new life and figure out how to “live.”
Whip it by Shauna Cross – Bliss is a rebel. She’s out of place in her small Texas town and doesn’t always see eye to eye with her beauty pageant obsessed mother. Then she discovers roller derby and starts skating under the name Babe Ruthless. As a huge roller derby fan myself, I loved everything about this book. Did you know that Indiana has a number of female roller derby teams? If you get a chance, you should check out Naptown Roller Girls, or Circle City Derby Girls.
Well, that’s my top 10-ish. Let me know what you think!
Hello all. I’m Michelle, and I’m a Library-aholic.
I have loved coming to the library since I was young. I remember walking into the old children’s room and seeing Paula Gilmour’s smiling face at the desk. I remember the yellow and orange paint. I remember picking out Mary Poppins to watch with my grandma. The library was always a fun place when I was little.
Fast forward to 2007…I just moved back to Plainfield after an out-of-state move. I was a new mom, new wife, and moving home after being away for six years was a little scary. I began stopping by the library as often as I could because it felt familiar, even though the building, staff, and I had changed. I took comfort in knowing that I could learn something new every time I checked out a book: from trying to figure out how to raise a kid, to learning about how to deal with financial stress, to figuring out how to cook dinner without making something from a box every night.
I have been jealous of my friend Laura Brack, the PPL Tech Goddess, because of her library gig she started over 10 years ago. In October 2010, Laura informed me of a 12 hour per week job opening in Youth Services, so I jumped at the chance to interview even though I was already working 40 to 50 hours per week. I scored the position, started in November 2010, and continued to work my full time job and part time at the library until the day before I gave birth to my youngest son. After I came back to work from maternity leave, I left my full time job and took the Librarian’s Assistant position in area T. I now work primarily with the YA fiction collection.
Even though I work at the library, I still bring my kids in on my days off. I feel like it’s important to instill a respect and admiration for libraries, learning, and play. I love reading to my oldest son at bedtime, and I hope to add my youngest to our book club when he’s old enough to not chew on the books when he sees them.
And even though I’m busy with two kids under the age of four, a husband, a dog, a job, a garden, I could go on…I still make myself read every day. I think if one stops reading, one stops learning, and that’s important enough to me to keep on.