For those of you who attended our 20th anniversary membership meeting at the Seaview Marriott yesterday you know that Patrick Jones more than lived up to his moniker, "Mr. Inspiration" (bestowed upon him by School Library Journal.) While his presentation was ostensibly about serving teens I thought much of his material was perfectly applicable to serving, well, anyone (with the possible exception of genealogists--- no offense, you had to be there...)
Patrick was good enough to share his powerpoint presentations which are available here:
Here, in no particular order, are my takeaways from yesterday; the ideas that really resonated with me:
- Patrick's realization that he couldn't change all of the teens in Savannah, Georgia, "But what could I change? " A great awareness, whether we're serving teens, adults, genealogists or just trying to make our way through this crazy world. It reminded me of Stephen Covey's point that we frequently expend energy on things that are in our sphere of concern but not in our sphere of influence. this makes for a long day. We are happier and more effective when we focus on things that are both within our sphere of concern and our sphere of influence.
- Our job is not to build YA Collections. Our job is to build collections for young adults. Our job is to help create stronger, better, healthier youths. Later in the day Patrick made a similar point: Our job is not to build collections or answer reference questions. Our job is to make our communities better places to live (or work, or study.)
- Regarding our assumption that boys don't read: "When we talk about boys not reading, we assume that reading means fiction. Boys read a lot. Just not Pride and Prejudice." I recall hearing Stephen Abram making a similar point.
- It's good to remember that teens act the way they do because their brains are not yet fully developed. "Our brains our big hunks of Colby...theirs are swiss cheese!"
- After helping a teen, give them a business card and tell them, "If you need help, let me know." Wow! Great idea. I know many librarians don't have business cards, but it's easy to run them off, either for individuals or for the department. How about putting an IM address on that card too? As Patrick said, "Every transaction is a relationship. Let them know you want it to continue." That's so...respectful!
- Find a way to say Yes. (i.e., In response to teen who wants to check email on an OPAC only machine: "Yes you can check your email. Let me show you which computer is available for you to do that."
- Say Thank You. Simple, positive reinforcement goes a long way. Teens made a choice to come to the library. Thank them for that choice. Tell them it's good to see them, by name if possible. ("Thanks for being here Bill. Tomorrow we're not going to throw chairs, right? OK, have a good night.")
Well, those are my big takeaways, what are yours???