Young adult services librarian a familiar face
Published 7:12 pm Friday, July 19, 2019
Mention the library and many people think not only of books, but also of story times and other fun early literacy activities for young children. As the children grow, the activities held at the library grow with them.
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While the Boyle County Public Library has long had a robust slate of programs for children and tweens, it recognized there weren’t many programs held at the library for teenagers. With that in mind, a concerted effort was begun to reach teens by increasing its teen activities, such as a teen Dungeons and Dragons Club, and by growing the young adult collection. It was also decided that the library needed to have a librarian for teens, one who would be dedicated to serving the unique needs of young adults.
This summer the library appointed a familiar face to fill the role of young adult services librarian. Brittany Smith has worked in libraries since graduating from Berea College in 2012. She has been serving as the outreach services librarian at the Boyle County Public Library since January 2016, working inside and outside of the building, creating programs and driving the bookmobile.
Smith is currently very busy serving two roles as she transitions from being on the road for outreach programs to serving teen patrons in the library. Beginning in August she’ll be able to focus solely on the goal of reaching and serving the local teens.
BCPL: How did you become a librarian?
Smith: “My undergraduate degree from Berea College is in Music Education. I enjoy helping young people learn and discover, particularly when it comes to self-expression and exploration. Surprisingly, it was an education course at Berea that led me to working in libraries. This class entailed gaining teaching experiences with a culture other than my own, which led me to an internship at the Village Branch of the Lexington Public Library. There I pioneered a one-on-one reading program with young Latina library patrons — a program that continues today with other Berea College students. This internship developed my understanding that the library provides educational types of experiences that are learning for learning’s sake, all within an environment that encourages self-improvement and understanding.
“This experience also rekindled my fond memories of my local library. I grew up 5 minutes away from the library in my small town of 1,500 residents. The library was very powerful in shaping who I was as a kid, providing a place where I could be myself and was welcomed regardless of my socio-economic status, race, gender identity or my aptitude for getting on the librarians’ nerves. It is this type of environment that I would like to cultivate for teens in our community — a place of solace that is welcoming, warm and supportive.
“I have worn many hats in my previous library lives, including everything from janitorial work to being the right-hand man to the library director. I’ve worked with patrons from age 2 to 92 in my time at the library. Above all, my passion remains with the younger users of the library. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with teens at the library.”
BCPL: What programs do you plan to offer teens?
Smith: “Some of the programs that I’m looking forward to offering include a Ukulele series, DIY activities and gaming. I also look forward to helping teens look ahead to their future goals, including college tours, visiting vocational schools, learning about how to interview and how to fill out the FAFSA.”
BCPL: How can teens find out about what’s going on at the library?
Smith: “If they would like to get text reminders for upcoming activities, they can text @teensbcpl to 81010. They can also pick up a monthly teen calendar at the library or check the library’s website for any upcoming events.”
BCPL: What else will you be doing in addition to offering teen programs?
Smith: “In addition to programming, I purchase books for teenagers in the library. I’m always looking for new recommendations so if there’s something you would like to read that we don’t have at the library, let me know. You can email me at email@example.com or give me a call at the library. I love helping folks find information and materials. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me when using the library.”
More information about teen programs and other upcoming events can be found at www.BoylePubLib.org or by calling the library at (859) 238-7323.