Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What does it take to be a Youth Librarian?

Here it is - my first in-blog interview!! And it's with colleague Christine May who is our Youth Librarian, looking after the 13-25 age group at verbYL. Christine is aged 27, she is a new(ish) graduate and this is her first professional posting.
Q: What made you decide on librarianship as a career in the first place?
I finished my arts degree and took a year off, then thought about what I was good at - and came up with "people" and "books" - so librarianship seemed a good choice.

Q. And what attracted you to this job (ie at Livingstone)?

Primarily it was open and accepting of new graduates. I had had trouble finding a position in Melbourne - everyone seemed to be looking for someone with experience. And also it sounded different to other youth librarian positions.

Q. Now that you've been in the job for more than a year, what would you say have been your biggest achievements?

Developing a rapport with young people. That was definitely a challenge. But beyond that, developing programs such as the Reader's Lounge, Study Group, 18+ Club, and getting the website and ezine up and running (stumbling).

Professional development opportunities have been fantastic - I am especially proud of my presentation about verbYL at the Patrick Jones seminar at the State Library of Queensland; yesterday I did a presentation to regional school library staff and teachers and this was well received. We continue to get enquiries and visits from librarians and community development staff who are interested in this unique model of service to young people. I love showing off my library.

Q. And the greatest challenges?

Similar to the achievements really!

Q.What qualities would you say a Youth Librarian would need to succeed in an environment like verbYL?

They would need to really like young people. This is something you cannot fake. You need to be willing to handle challenging behaviour, and not to hold "grudges". Applying the rules (like "no drinks in the computer room" )can make you occasionally unpopular. You have to take each young person on each day "fresh" if you can, and maintaining your sense of humour is essential. And a good knowledge of youth culture - what they're interested in.

Well that's my first in-blog interview! If you would like to contact Christine, please feel free to email on



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