It is Teen Read Week, which means major programming at a lot of libraries. Last year, my first as a YA Librarian, I had two programs - one was a success and the other was an utter failure and also resulted in me getting a wee bit of a talking to by my supervisor.
Actually, they both resulted in sit-downs with my supervisor.
The first, the successful program, was a martial arts demonstration that went along well with the 2006 theme of "Get Active." The martial arts expert who gave the demonstration was one of our own, a library employee who also happened to be a black belt in several different types of martial arts. I had over 70 people attend the program, more than 35 of whom were actual teenagers and not just the little kids or parents who also happened to wander by the demonstration. The talking to? Oh, that came as a result of parents complaining about the gigantic knives and graphic descriptions of what could be done with said knives.
The second, the program that resulted in a whopping two attendees, featured our local state assemblywoman speaking about how the state government works and how people can "get active" in politics. The event wasn't a total failure, because one of the attendees actually ended up getting one of the very rare high school-level internships in the assemblywoman's office. The talking to? I didn't really inform anyone that the assemblywoman was coming. My direct supervisor knew, but the director didn't know, and there was no grand welcome for this important fan of libraries. She felt slighted, and my library director felt concerned that I was going off and doing my own thing, not following the appropriate channels.
Did I mention that my first teen read week happened less than two months into my tenure as a rookie YA Librarian? I had a lot to learn.
I still have a lot to learn.
This year, I'm having an open mic night...in the evening. I realized with startling clarity last week that I should have planned the event for the after school hours, but I had originally wanted to encourage whole families to attend.
In any case, I'm the only person who has to know about it, though I've advertised it far and wide. I'm keeping it low key and not even offering prizes - just certificates or ribbons for participating. I've grown a little cynical in the last year, and that means I don't necessarily feel that I'll have a big crowd. So, I don't feel inclined to plan for a big crowd. If I'm blessed with more attendees than I could imagine, well, then they'll all have to make do without seconds on the snack food.
I'm excited, but I'm also realistic that this may be one of my last opportunities to try evening programming. If people won't come, it's difficult to convince my supervisor that my time wouldn't be better served working at the reference desk.
I'm optimistic, but it's more of a cynical optimism than last year.
At least this shouldn't result in a talking to...and there shouldn't be any knives.