Friday, April 16, 2010

The Secret Lives of Librarians - Part Two

We continue our series exploring the secret lives of people who turned their passion for reading into a career. Check out today's guest's take on teens and technology.

Next up: Linda W. Braun, president of Young Adult Library Services Association and author of Teens, Technology, and Literacy;

Secret passions: Coffee and Technology
What turned you into a reader?
I was surrounded by books when I was growing up. My parents were avid readers and we had books all over the house, in every room including the basement and attic.

If you hadn’t become a librarian, what might you have done instead?
Television producer – probably news or documentaries.

What can booklovers and publishers do to help with the current library funding crisis?
Ask good questions about what a library in 2010 should be doing for the community and don’t make assumptions about what a library is all about. The library is more than a place that members of a community have because they think they should, or because it has sentimental value. The library is a living breathing organization that has a lot to give to a community. Find out what that is and make sure that you get it.

What kind of books are most popular at your library?
I am a consultant and library school educator, so don’t work in a library currently. However, in conversations with teens and librarians I know that a wide-variety of titles are currently popular. There is still interest in supernatural stories with werewolves, vampires, fairies, and so on. These stories that take place in a world which teens can relate to and with which they are familiar has something to do with their popularity. Manga and graphic novels are popular with many teens and these titles span a variety of genres. Non-fiction on topics related to contemporary interests and web-trends are popular as well.

Most people picture librarians sitting around reading all day. What’s wrong with this picture?
Libraries are a customer service institution, just like a bookstore, coffee shops, or computer stores. That means that librarians working on the front lines are always helping people find what they need, answering questions face-to-face or virtually, and making sure that the services provided meet the needs of the community.

What advice do you have for turning non-readers/reluctant readers on to books?
I have advice for the adults that live and work with reluctant readers. Be willing to recognize that reading on a computer screen or a digital device is reading. Help kids and teens that don’t think they like to read see themselves as readers by acknowledging that reading happens in lots of different forms and formats in 2010. When we start to recognize that kids and teens are always reading, and are willing to call that type of reading reading, kids and teens who don’t think of themselves as readers, but who are because they are constantly reading in non-traditional formats, will begin to think of themselves as readers and begin to be more interested in reading as something they like to and want to do.

Here's the secret stuff about Linda:
What book character are you most like and why?
Harriet the Spy because I’m curious.

What 3 things would you never walk out the door without?
iPhone, Starbucks Card, Sunglasses

Did you ever sneak out a window? No fair only answering yes, you have to tell us when and why.
I snuck out of a second floor porch when I was a freshman in high school in order to meet my boyfriend.

What was the worst clothing disaster you ever faced?
It wasn’t a disaster when I was a teen but when I look back now I see it that way – a halter top that was short in front as well as missing in back.

Do you have a tattoo?
Don’t have one and am too scared of the pain to get one.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
Adults would recognize teenagers as human beings that are valuable to a community and have brains that work. Adults would not treat teens as second-class citizens and would support teen development and not pretend, in many cases, that teens don’t really exist.

If you could star in any TV show or movie, what would it be and why?
Gilmore Girls because I loved the relationships between the characters.

1 comment:

  1. We're so glad you joined us to offer your insights into libraries and reading, Linda! We appreciate all you do for teens through YALSA and agree that YAs deserve the best we can give them. Thanks so much for sharing your passion.