Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2004-11-10

Outreach Ideas & Reality TV Goes to College

I'm very fortunate to have a collegial & collaborative relationship with the local high school media specialist. She coordinated with all of the 9th-grade English teachers to organize visits from us to all 23 of the English classes for that grade. We promoted library card registration, teen programs, and I introduced myself to the teens as their personal shopper of books & pop culture. I'm lucky to be able to type, because let me tell you, my voice is shot. I sound like a cross between Kathleen Turner and a wood-chipper. But I digress.

Outreach to teens has been and will continue to be the bedrock of teen services for me, and making a solid connection with my local school media specialist(s) has made the business of being actively involved in teen outreach very smooth, indeed. When I am able to make a personal connection with a patron, I become his or her own, personal liaison to whatever they're interested in. Last week, it was helping a precocious 14 year-old guy find Stanley Kubrick movies that weren't rated R (at my library, patrons under the age of 18 cannot check out R-rated materials), and Chuck Palahniuk readalikes. Today, it was introducing an 18 year-old girl to the world of fantasy authors beyond the wonderful Tamora Pierce, and helping a local grandmother select books to include in her own Teen Book of the Month club for her avidly reading granddaughter. Again with the digressions. Topic!

Recently, the
YALSA-BK listserv had a discussion thread on getting into the schools in your community. The collected wisdom of the listserv is an amazing resource. Below is a brief list of some of their recommendations, nearly all of which can be expanded or altered slightly to fit your community:
  • Contact your local school principal and/or specific department heads and get on the schedule for the school's next in-service day. Ask for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour -- however much time you feel comfortable with -- you can booktalk, invite teachers to bring their classes for tours, talk up forthcoming programs, distribute your card, hold a small-scale focus group for teachers asking about what they need out of the library.
  • Attend PTA meetings. This is a wonderful way to introduce yourself and promote your library's services and collections to the parents of your community.
  • Ask the school what their curriculum is. Offer to create booklists based on the curriculum requirements and distribute them to teachers.
  • Ask to attend faculty meetings, including meetings of the school district's school media specialists -- find out what they need from you, if they're interested in collaborative work.

Also, if you serve teens, you may be want to let them know that Bunim-Murray Productions, creators of The Real World, Road Rules, and The Rebel Billionaire (among many others), is preparing to cast a new reality series for ABC called The Scholar. From the casting page at bunim-murray.com:

Set at a major university, The Scholar, [sic] will be the first unscripted series ever to celebrate higher education as the ultimate American prize. Fifteen high school seniors, who might not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a top notch college education due to financial restraints, will be given the chance to compete for a full ride scholarship to the college of their choice. Applicants will have to demonstrate excellence in the areas of academics, leadership,
school spirit and community service.

Details, including how to submit audition materials, may be found here. Deadline for all submissions is next Friday, November 19th.