Final Project

Here is Joseph Morra’s and my final project. We created a summer library program learning experience for preteens in Pawtucket. We’re really excited about the possibilities of this program.

Our final written presentation:


Our IGNITE video:


Reflection #2

At the beginning of this semester I felt a disconnect between myself and teen patrons, it had been some time since I worked with them in the library and it has been some time since I myself was a teen. Though I have still yet to work with teens in my library, this course has given me some insight and knowledge into how the public library can provide quality services and programs to this population. Throughout this semester we have been introduced and discussed a number of different topics and ideas that are relevant to the library’s teen population. Two of the topics I previously discussed, collection development and connected learning, have both been consistent throughout the semester.

stand-up-_facebook1(American Library Association, 2016)

One of the major things that I learned during our discussions on collection development was concerning banned books. Before this class I was a big supporter of banned books week because I felt that the public should be made aware of a number of quality books that have/are being questioned or banned from some public spaces. I understood some of the reasoning behind why some people might question certain books for topics they cover, but when I learned that “over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning divers communities” (Jacoby, 2016), I was disappointed. It just reinforced the importance of having a varied and diverse collection of books, especially in an urban library like where I work, our teen patrons deserve to have the opportunity to read works by and about people who share their diversity.

In connection with providing a diverse collection for teen patrons is providing diverse programming. As with materials, teens want programming that they can personally relate to and are passionate about. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) advocates for librarians to “continually analyze their communities so that they have current knowledge about who the teens in their community are” (2015, p.3). To me this means that teen librarians need to be creative and thoughtful with their programming, they can take a generic idea (book group) and put a spin on it that suits their own teen population. When considering the diversity of teens, librarians also need to be aware of how their needs are transforming. With the changes and developments in technology teens now need to learn the tools and skills of how to use this new technology wisely (Common Sense Media, 2016). One of the resources we were introduced to during this course was the Common Sense Media website, a great tool for anyone working with children or teens in the information services field. Librarians can use it to get parent and teen reviews of various materials and also peruse the curriculum and lessons plans to get ideas of how they can improve their patrons 21st century skills.

The image below is one of many resources offered for free from Common Sense Media. I imagine that it could be posted in the teen area of a library, it is something simple that makes teens think through the outcomes of posting something online.should-i-share_24x36(Common Sense Education, 2014)

As I mentioned before, one of the topics I am most excited to implement in my future as a librarian is connected learning. I have learned that one way of implementing connected learning in a public library is through makerspaces. I knew of makerspaces, it would be hard to work in this field and not be aware of the fact that many libraries are trying to rebrand and remake themselves with the inclusion of makerspaces (Montgomery, 2016). But I had never seen them implemented, so the activity of planning out our own makerspace was very nerve-wracking and exciting. First I thought that a makerspace was simply a space in the library where patrons could make stuff, I always just thought of 3D printers. I have since learned that they are “DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn” (Kroski, 2013). I found that makerspaces seamlessly combine so well with connected learning so well because instead of a librarian leading the learning, teens and working together to discover new and interesting things.

Detroit’s Public Library’s HYPE Makerspace in action. (Telephase Heavy Industries, Ltd., 2012)

While there are many non-tech options for makerspaces in public libraries, I personally believe that the ones that introduce new and emerging technologies coincide with connected learning and will ultimately improve the lives of our patrons. Scott compared the rise in makerspaces to that of the library’s computer lab, that as librarians “our job now becomes providing access to new technologies and instruction to support new literacies” (2012). There are many teens that are continually behind their peers in 21st century skills because they have not been given the same opportunities and experiences to develop these skills. Scott explains that “by teaching our patrons to use new and emerging technologies to not only consume but also to create and share, we facilitate the creation of knowledge that is an essential and fundamental part of the public library’s mission in society” (2012). I wholeheartedly agree. As all of us in the information services field know, our community’s needs are constantly changing and it is our job to change along with it.

As our near the end of this course I find that I have gained so much more information and knowledge about teen services than I had expected. I was able to gain personal experience with current teen literature and I have found a new love for graphic novels. I have gained knowledge on how connected learning can be implemented into the public library and look forward to putting it into action in my future. Most importantly, I have realized that the teen population needs to become a bigger priority for my library. I worry that we are not doing all that we can to make an improvement in their lives and we need to make a greater effort in providing services and programs for those teens in our population.



American Library Association. (2016, July 28). Stand up Facebook1 [Cover art]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/freedownloads

Common Sense Education. (2014). Should I share [Digital poster]. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/middlehigh_poster

Common Sense Media. (2016). Our mission Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/our-mission#

Jacoby, M. (2016, February 23). Banned books week spotlights diversity 2016 [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/node/9166

Kroski, E. (2013, March 12). A librarian’s guide to makerspaces: 16 resources. Retrieved from http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/a-librarians-guide-to-makerspaces/

Montgomery, B. (2016, June 11). Forget the mall. These days, teens go to library makerspaces. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-11-forget-the-mall-these-days-teens-go-to-library-makerspaces

Scott, S.H. (2012, November 11). Making the case for a public library makerspace. Public Libraries Online. Public Library Association. Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2012/11/making-the-case-for-a-public-library-makerspace/

Telephase Heavy Industries, Ltd. (2012, October 13). Detroit Public Library HYPE makerspace

[Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Daq2x5kIY2I

Young Adult Library Services Association. (2015). Teen programing guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/TeenProgramingGuidelines_2015_FINAL.pdf

Wikipedia Stance

During my high school and undergrad years I was vehemently told to never use Wikipedia as a resource in any of our assignments. My teachers and professors explained that Wikipedia was an unreliable resource, anyone could edit or input information on the pages and there was little fact checking. I have heard of similar experiences from many of my peers and in my own teaching career I also adopted the anti-Wikipedia stance. With this is mind, I was at first surprised to learn that Wikipedia is the “fifth most visited website worldwide” (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013, p.2), but then I realized that even though I have been a naysayer in the past, I use Wikipedia all the time. When I know absolutely nothing about a topic one of the first places I will look for information is through Wikipedia. Overall, the website is very easy to use and while I would not advocate using it as a resource, it is definitely an excellent tool to use a jumping off point.

Based on its usage facts, it is clear that many people often use Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013). So instead of sanctimoniously teaching others not to use this site, I believe that we need to work on instructing and informing others how to use Wikipedia productively. This can be done in both the library and classroom setting following Jenning’s example that instead of avoiding the use of the site, librarians should “leverage it to teach information literacy skill” (2008, p.433). I think it is important that people are aware of how Wikipedia works, that it is a constantly changing and collaborative work and that while it can be a great source of general information, anyone can add and edit content.

I believe that as librarians we need to keep in mind what our patrons are looking for when they come to use looking for answers. Are they trying to find out an answer for personal curiosity? Or are they looking for in depth knowledge for something like a research paper? In either case, Wikipedia might be a good starting off point, but it might not be the end game. I would recommend patrons who are at the beginning stages of their research to peruse Wikipedia. They could gain background information, keywords to be used later when searching for articles, or even use the resources provided in a Wikipedia article as a jumping off point to further articles and/or texts.

Ultimately, I have to say that I would use Wikipedia in the library with some caveats. It would be hypocritical of me not to promote the use of Wikipedia because as I stated before, it is usually where I first look for personal needs. But I definitely believe that Wikipedia should not be ‘one stop shopping’ for information, while it may be where you look first, there needs to be some form of fact checking the information gained from Wikipedia.



Jennings, E. (2008).  Using Wikipedia to teach information literacy. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 15(4), 432-437.

Wikimedia Foundation (2013). How to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool.



Collection Analysis

Here is Joseph Morra’s and my collection analysis of the YA Purple dot – Summer Reading collection at the Pawtucket Public Library.

Below is the link to our Collection Analysis data:


Below is the link to our Power Point presentation:








Visit to Lincoln Library

Recently I visited the Lincoln Public Library, I had never been there before even though it is not that far away from where I live. First, I noticed that the library is located adjacent to the local high school, which made me excited for the possibilities of the library’s YA collection. When first walking into the building patrons are greeted with a number of community flyers and upcoming events at the library. I was happy to see that a number of the upcoming programs are for teens. They have craft days after school once a month, drop in coloring, and even a stop-motion animation workshop. One of the most interesting things they were advertising was a Book Buddies program, where teen/preteen readers are partnered with younger readers (ages 3-8). I think this is a great program for all members in the community and I would really be interested in seeing this being incorporated at my own library.

After going through the welcoming area patrons walk into the circulation department. I noticed that this library is much smaller than my own library in Pawtucket, but they make great use of the space without it becoming cluttered and overwhelming. To the right of the building in the children’s department, the middle of the building contains the adult collection, and the left side of the building is where the teen department is located. The staff was very friendly, welcoming me as I walked through each department.

I made my way towards the young adult collection and noticed that they follow a similar layout to my own library. There were several shelves of graphic novels, followed by a number of manga series. The library has a fairly significant fiction collection and I was surprised to see a number of magazines available to peruse. One of my favorite things about their collection is the vast number of YA audiobooks they have acquired. I spent some time in this section because I was curious if the collection had newer materials as well, and I’m happy to report that they did! I honestly have never seen a YA audiobook collection of that size before, I do wonder if they have a large population of patrons with visual impairments or if there is just a high request rate for audiobooks.

The library also has several table setup and computers available for patron use in the teen department. I always appreciate this because it allows teens to have their own area away from the adults and children. While I did really enjoy my visit and am definitely planning on going back again to further investigate their YA collection, I do have a couple of recommendations. First, their shelves are filled to the max, and I think some of this stems from the fact that space is so limited. But it does make it a bit difficult and overwhelming to actually look through the collection to find something to read. At times I was having some difficulties putting materials back on the shelves because they were so tight. I also noticed that while there are computers in the teen area, they are available for all ages to use. I think it might be smart to make it so that only those patrons with a young adult record can use the computers in that area. This way teens really do have their own section and it allows them easier access to the computers over adults or children who might make their way to the area.

Book Trailer

I chose to do a book trailer for teens ages 14+ and I focused on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. First I wanted to look up some examples of book trailers because I wasn’t really sure what was needed. I found some great information from the Conroe Independent School District (n.d.) and from booktrailersforreaders.com (n.d.). From these sites I was able to start planning out my own book trailer. I knew that this would work best if it was in video form, so I decided to use PowToon to make it a little easier on myself.

At first, I really struggled with this application. Everything was taking SO LONG! It was extremely frustrating. But then I realized that it most likely was the browser I was using and presto changeo I was in business and moving along nicely. Even with the faster moving browser this was a lengthy assignment but ultimately rewarding. I think with more experience I’ll be able to venture into using more graphics and techniques. But for my first time using the software and making a trailer, I’m pretty satisfied with the result.



Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. New York, NY: Little, Brown & Company.

Anankkml. (2010). School zone sign [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Roads_and_traffic_si_g257-School_Zone_Sign_p24372.html

Conroe Independent School District. (n.d.). Creating book trailers. Retrieved from http://library.conroeisd.net/book_trailers

Forney, E. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian [Art work]. New York, NY: Little, Brown & Company.

Goodreads. (2016). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian [Cover photo]. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/693208.The_Absolutely_True_Diary_of_a_Part_Time_Indian?ac=1&from_search=true

Hachette Book Group. (2016). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. Retrieved from http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/sherman-alexie/the-absolutely-true-diary-of-a-part-time-indian/9780316013680/

Harclerode, M. (n.d.). Book trailers for readers. Retrieved from http://www.booktrailersforreaders.com/How+to+make+a+book+trailer


In the future I picture myself working in a public library. I think MakerSpaces in these settings can be really exciting. I envision a space that is primarily for teens, but will be open to all ages during certain times. In this MakerSpace teens will be able to explore new technology and gain digital experience. There will also be low-tech options including crafting supplies and reclaimed materials for teens to use and explore creatively. I also like the idea of offering writing workshops and even bike repair workshops, similar to that from Detroit Public Library. Mostly I want to create a space where teens can explore their creativity with hands on experience in platforms they might not be able to experience elsewhere.

Please view this Prezi for more details on my MakerSpace.

Reflection #1

It has been almost ten years since I would have been considered a young adult. Since that time, I have rarely had the chance to work with young adults in particular. I was looking forward to taking this course because of the disconnect that I felt I had between my own experiences and what teens might be going through today. During the first few weeks of this course I have learned that while time may have passed, a lot of the same problems I had a teenager still ring true today.


(graur razvan ionut, 2011)

I have always loved reading and during my teenage years particularly, I would go to the library at least once a week to get books to read. While I enjoyed reading in my personal time, similar to that of the students interviewed in Kittle’s video, I almost never read the assigned readings in school (2010). I found it difficult to connect to the stories and it almost got to a point that if it was an assigned novel I would not even give the book a chance. This is the same problem that many students still continue to face, when they “do not have opportunities to hear their voices, concerns, and dreams in literature they are reading, they become disengaged” (Bull, 2012, p.62). Similar to my own experience, when pushed to read books teens have no attachments to, the library may be one of the few places they can turn to for encouragement to read purely for enjoyment.

I have learned that one of the most important components for a library, or the librarians who work with young adults, to encourage this population to read for enjoyment is to have a collection of materials that they will want to interact with. Collection development has been one of the main focuses in many of my courses in this program, it has been interesting to see how concepts I have previously learned are targeted towards young adult literature. Kittle has the philosophy that if teens were allowed to pick what they wanted to read, they would read more (2010). While I agree that reading for pleasure is important, librarians have to find a balance between materials that teens would choose to read and also provide access to the classics that students may eventually need. One way of encouraging this population to read those classics may be through offering these books as audiobooks, this allows access for all readers, no matter their reading level (Pattee, 2014). There has also been various adaptations of what is considered cannon young adult literature, these adaptations can introduce teens to the themes and plots of the stories and can lead to further interest in the originals.

Through our readings and discussions I have begun to see the possibilities of the all encompassing role that a library could play in the lives of young adults in the community.  Libraries are moving past the perception that I had of them as a teenager, of only being a safe space to go to do homework or get books to read. While it can still be difficult to get teenagers to attend various programming because of this mentality, libraries are striving to provide teens with educational opportunities as well as social engagement (Kolderup, 2013). These opportunities are vastly necessary when “nearly 7,000 teens [are] dropping out of high school per day, and approximately 40% of high school graduates [are] not proficient in traditional literacy skills” (YALSA, 2014, p.30). Public libraries in particular have the opportunity to support teens in their communities by providing additional learning opportunities outside of school.

One idea that I am really excited about concerning possible learning opportunities in public libraries is connected learning (YALSA, 2014). This concept allows learners to use their personal interests to gain further educational and social knowledge. Connected learning can be done at libraries through makerspaces or arranging access to “skilled people around the world, either physically or digitally, to support teen needs by providing coaching, mentoring, and hands-on opportunities for learning” (p.10). One of the keys to connected learning is that the librarian will take a step back, instead of instructing or providing the information, they become co-learners along with their young adult users. Connected learning reminds me a lot of spiral teaching, it involves multiple disciplines and areas of education, allowing for a more cohesive learning experience.

Corey Wittig, the Digital Learning Developer and Teen Mentor at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh discusses how his library implements connected learning.
(Ateneus de Fabricació, 2015)

Just a little over a month into this course and I feel that I have already gained a lot of information about young adult patrons. The readings and class discussions have not only expanded my view of the possibilities for teen patron engagement at the library, but has inspired me about the potential my own library has moving into the future. There is a part of me that is slightly jealous of all the technological opportunities teens get to experience, but I always have the possibility of becoming a co-learner implementing connected learning at my own library.



Ateneus de Fabricació. (2015, April 29). Inspiring kids with connected learning – Corey Wittig [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Q2VG643l7zA

Bull, K. (2012). Identifying obstacles and garnering support. In Hayn, J. & Kaplan, J. (2012). Teaching young adult literature today (pp. 61 – 77). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

graur razvan ionut. (2011, July 5). Woman reading a book [Stock photo]. Retrieved from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Reading_g400-Woman_Reading_A_Book_p48477.html

Kittle, P. (2010, March 15). Why students don’t read what’s assigned in class [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/gokm9RUr4ME

Kolderup, G. (2013, May 22). What I wish I knew about building teen services from scratch [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org

Pattee, A. (2014). Developing library collections for today’s young adults. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

YALSA. (2014).  The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Chicago: American Library Association.