An Army of One

1. You Are an Army of One, the Only Teen Services Librarian in the Library System. (Velasquez, p 100)

Carrie Kitchen’s role as the only teen services librarian at the Calgary Public Library is extreme and daunting, but not that unlike many suburban libraries here in New York. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to be the only one in charge of programming and ordering-sometimes out of a budget that isn’t even just for teens-and it’s no wonder many teen librarians burnout.

However, as Kitchen mentions, there are things you can do to lessen your burden (p. 100). One of the main suggestions she makes is that teen librarians create their own community “by joining groups like YALSA and by connecting with teen librarians in other systems,” (Velasquez, p 100). This is so helpful because it allows a teen librarians to share ideas about programming (what program worked, what didn’t), discuss collections, and offer one another support. If you’re only looking at your teen section from one perspective, you may be missing out on seeing ways to better it.

Another important point Kitchen brings up is the need for staff training. You are obviously not going to be available 24/7, so it’s crucial for your coworkers to understand teens and how to deal with them. It goes back to what we’ve talked about before: how many librarians are wary of teens, and how it’s a teen librarian’s job to advocate for the teens so they can receive the same level of service as everyone else.


Velasquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.


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