Teens at the Library - An Interview with the new YA/Teen Librarian

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This past fall, a friend said she was taking her two kids to a cool STEM program at the Madison Public Library. I know my kids enjoy STEM, so I came along with my kids, too. For about an hour, all our kids had a blast "playing" with Sphero robots, moving them along through an app on their iPads. (I say "playing" since I don't want them to realize that what they were doing was super-duper educational!) This was my first introduction to the great programs for teens and young adults at the library. While we have spent many wonderful hours in the library's children's section, my son, who is in sixth grade, is feeling a bit (well, a lot) big for pint-sized chairs and Thomas the Train computer games, so I was very excited to discover the teen programs. While the kids worked with the robots, I perused the schedule of upcoming events. There really is something for everyone! I knew I had to speak more with the new Young Adult/Teen Services Librarian, Paige Briglia, and help spread the word!

Becca having fun "playing" with the Sphero.

A Madison Mom: Tell me a bit about the Young Adult and Teen Services at Madison Public Library.

Paige Briglia: The YA and Teen Services department at Madison Public Library is all about comfortably transitioning kids from the Children’s department over to the Adult department. This is the first time this library has had a librarian for the specific needs of kids from grade 5 and up. We want the Teen Space to feel like a safe space or a sanctuary for kids to come and do homework, hang out, craft, or just color!

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Edible slime, creating cards, and anime and ramen are just a few of the teen programs at the Madison Public Library.

AMM:What is your favorite part about being the Young Adult/Teen Services Librarian?

PB: The teens are my favorite part. They’re so creative and ready to try anything. I can give them a Sphero robot and they’ll somehow learn how to make it dance! They’re always ready to try new things.

AMM:What are your goals?

PB: My goals are to build a solid Teen Space foundation at the Madison Public Library that will outlive me. These teens are the future of the community – they’re the ones who are going to be voting and making a difference in the world. I want them to have a place where they can grow together, have new experiences, and learn who they are as a person.

AMM:What challenges have you come across?

PB: I started graduate school thinking I was going to be an archivist. It wasn’t until I worked at the South County Regional Branch of the Camden County Library system that I realized I wanted to be a Teen Librarian. I’m incredibly thankful to be taken under the wing of my coworkers there that made me realize what I wanted, and I continue to pursue both personal and professional development in that area. Another challenge is just figuring out what teens want to do. Trends are constantly changing – you ask them if they’re playing the newest, popular games for the iPhone and they look at you like you have three heads! Being one step ahead of teens is like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands.

AMM:What are your favorite programs and why?

PB: Arts and crafts! It was my favorite subject in high school and to this day I still love making stuff. It’s even better when you’re doing them with teens. As I said before, they’re always finding new ways of doing things.

AMM:What programs do you hope to add to future library offerings for young adults and teens?

PB: Adding a video game programs with competition (think Mario Kart tournaments) and a coding club are my ideal goals. I want to make sure fun and learning balance out, especially after a long day of classes.

AMM:Where do you get your ideas? Do you accept ideas from the community?

PB: I love seeing what other libraries do. I meet with librarians every month to discuss what has been successful for them and how I can make it successful for us. I’m ALWAYS looking for ideas from the community, as well. My email is paige.briglia@mainlib.org and I am so happy to hear how I can make the Madison Public Library a fun place for teens and tweens.

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AMM:What are some of your upcoming programs?

PB: To find out about upcoming programs, check the Madison Public Library's Web site here or sign up for The Grid, the monthly eNewsletter for the library's Teen Events at http://bit.ly/2ChssWL. These are the programs for January.

First Friday of each month 3:30-5:30pm (Chase Room):STEAM-powered Drop-In. I provide kids with Legos, Sphero robots, snap circuits, and any other technology/STEAM related gadgets we have at the library. Kids can come at any time and leave when they want. (5th grade+)

January 11th 4:30-5:30pm (Chase Room):Yoga and ArOMMahhhtherapy Session. Kids can do yoga and make lotion with organic ingredients and essential oils. (5th grade+; Registration Required)

January 12th 3:30-5:30pm (Chase Room):Cupcake Wars. Three judges will see if your design has what it takes to be MPL’s first Cupcake Wars winner. (5th grade+; Registration Required)

January 17th 3-5pm (Lobby):Cozy Community Coloring (all ages).

January 18th 3:30-4:30pm (Rushmore Room):Tween Reads Book Club. Each month we will read a book that is dedicated to a specific genre. This month will be Science Fiction and/or Fantasy. (grades 5-8; Registration Required

January 19th 3:30-5:30pm (Chase Room):Anime and Ramen Afternoon. Join us for a few hours of noodles and anime on the projector. (8th grade+)

January 26thth 3:30-5:30 (Chase Room):Button and Sticker Making 101. We’ll teach you how to use our new button and sticker makers! Each person will leave with two 1.5 inch buttons and a sticker. Images should be printed before the program. (5th grade+; Registration Required)

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The Madison Public Library is located at 39 Keep Street, Madison.