One of the wonderful planned activities of Armchair BEA was to schedule blogger interviews. Each of us willing participants was paired to interview one other blogger — and then a separate blogger was paired to interview us. Rachelle at Bibliobabe interviewed me and I, in turn, had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah of Green Bean Teen Queen. This was a double-barrel opportunity for me, as I did not know either of these women prior to Armchair BEA — and now I have two more book blogs to follow!
Well, call it fate – kismet – or just plain coincidence – but one of the first things I noticed when I visited Sarah’s website for the first time was that she lives in Missouri. I thought that it was interesting that the interview arrangers paired two bloggers from neighboring states (I live in Kansas). So I opened my interview by voicing our close proximity. Come to find out…..Sarah’s mother teaches in my town!! We do not live in her particular district, but I thought it was just amazing that Sarah and I already started off on common ground.
Anyway…on with the interview:
I noticed on your website that you are “teen and tween librarian” How did you decide to major in library sciences?
I have an undergrad degree in Communication/Radio. After college I had a random thought that I wanted to be a librarian and it just seemed to make sense. I’m not sure how I came up with it, but I love to read and talking about books and helping people, so it was the perfect job! Now I’m finishing up my Master’s in Library Science. I’ve worked in the library for almost four years and I’m still in the first library system I started in, although I’ve worked in children’s and teen/adult reference and at two branches.
With the advent of all the eReaders lately – and technology in general, what do you see as the future of library sciences?
People always seem to say the library is going to fade away, but I just tell those critics to visit the library. Every day our computers are full, our circulation is up, and the library is not just for books. We have downloadable e-books and e-audiobooks (and they’re free!), music, DVDs, and lots of free programs. Google doesn’t have every answer and as technology adapts, the library adapts too. Just like not everyone has a computer, I don’t think everyone will have an e-reader, at least not for a very long time. Plus, the library has free resources and if e-readers take over, then you’ll see e-readers in the library as well as books.
Would you mind sharing what is involved in being a tween/teen librarian?
I plan programs for teens, run events, make booklists and book displays, I’m the branch reader’s advisory person for teen books, and I answer teen’s reference questions. I give school tours of the library, help with research, and do school visits to promote the library. My job is ever changing! I don’t do the book ordering, but I assist with it and make suggestions to our collection department. Since I work in a public library setting, we can order more than a school library would and don’t have to worry about age guidelines because the teen department covers all teens. As for what teens are reading, I think the books themselves have changed, not the teens. When I was a teen, it was a lot of TV tie-in novels, Sweet Valley High and Fear Street. YA today doesn’t talk down to it’s readers and I think the books are more real and relateable-from drama to humor-and there’s more to pick from. As for library service, I think it’s grown for teens. I never had a dedicated teen librarian, and the teens at my library do. They have someone to ask for help with homework, talk books, or just hang out at the library with. I think it’s the best job-and important because these teens have a love for the library.
How long have you kept this blog? How did you come upon the name Green Bean Teen Queen?
I’ve had my blog for two years. I came up with name because my maiden name is “Bean” and it was funny that I worked with teens and it all rhymed. Plus green bean just sounds fun!
What would be some top recommendations that you would have my readers (who more likely have children in the tween/teen category)? What do you see as this year’s popular pick?
The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy is out in August and that seems to be the top of everyone’s wish list. Paranormal is still really big and my teens are loving it. I’ve been doing school visits and they’ve been telling me that they love series-no matter the length! I’ve seen lots of readers with copies of The Red Pyramid on their desk this year too.
What other genres of books do you enjoy reading?
When I do read adult books, it’s most likely chick-lit. I love a fun fluffy romantic read!
Have you always been an avid reader? What do you think sparked that interest? What advice would you give parents today whose children seem to balk at reading?
I’ve always loved reading! I grew up going to the library every week-sometimes daily. My parents read to me and I saw them reading when I was growing up. They’re both big book lovers as well, so they shared that with me. I tell my teens there’s no such thing as a non-reader, they just haven’t met the right book yet! For parents, I would tell them don’t force a book on your child, don’t force reading levels, let them read what they enjoy-even if that means manga, comics, graphic novels, or audiobooks! We all have different learning styles and reading styles. If they don’t like a book, don’t finish it-life’s too short to waste your time on bad books! If you don’t like one, try another one. Ask a librarian for suggestions-that’s our job! And most importantly, model reading-read at home by yourself in front of your children and read with your children. That’s the biggest part of growing a reader!