Creating a Tween Collection

>>All right. Good afternoon everyone. It’s two o’clock, so we’re
going to get started here. If you are live and online with us right
now, in the chat box we’d love to hear– you can message all panelists and attendees. You’re welcome to ask questions. If you have not received a copy of your book, Creating a Tween Collection,
please do let me know. I’m Cathy Lancaster, the youth services
coordinator here at the Library of Michigan, and we are very grateful to the Institute of
Museum and Library services for providing us with the funding to purchase copies of
Creating a Tween Collection and giving them all out to you for use in your libraries. And we are also very lucky to have Karen
Smith here with us, the author of the book, as well as the librarian over at the
Livonia Town– Livonia Public Library. And I am going to let Karen take
over now and get us started. So, thank you, everyone, for joining us.>>Hello everyone. Can you see my screen? I hope that everyone can see it. OK. Great. So, thank you, Cathy, for
allowing me to do this today. I’m Karen Smith and I am the head of children’s
services at the Livonia Public Library. I have been working in Libraries for over
20 years, which is hard for me to believe. I don’t feel like I’m that old, but I am. And I am well versed in collection
development and maintenance. So, middle school patrons are my
favorite patrons to work with. They are fun, they understand that not
everybody can win, they can still be silly, and they are learning to speak
for themselves and how to interact with peers and with other adults. They are beginning to use the library on their
own and they are a great patron resource for us to help us figure out what we
want in our library going forward. So, you guys are here because you are
considering adding a tween collection to your library. And it probably seems like a
very daunting task at this point. And it is time consuming and it is
a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Your patrons are going to love it. The tween collection will fill many needs. It will make middle schoolers and their
parents feel welcome in the library and like the library has a place for them
where they’re not wading in the vastness of the baby books in juvenile and the very
mature books that are often found in tween now. So, let’s start with what consists
of tweens and my– there we go. Tween equals middle school,
fifth through eighth grade. In some cases, it might be
beneficial for you to look at how your school district
separates middle school. Livonia actually has upper elementary, which is
five and six, and then they have middle school, which is seven and eight,
and then they do high school. Some cities I know do middle school
as sixth through eighth grade. So, if it makes sense for you,
use what your school district does and that might even help you when you go
to present this idea to your stakeholders or when you’re trying to explain it
to patrons and other staff members. So, the overall philosophy of tween collections. Collections are fluid. Your collections are ever-changing. You are always updating and thinking
about things that you want to add, thinking about things that
maybe you no longer need. So– and a lot of kids collections are based
on popularity, especially fiction collections. It’s usually the next big thing that you want to
make sure that you have, while keeping in mind that you do need some classics and
school requirements and things like that. Nothing is set in stone. You can always change where you place something. If you find that you have a book that
you thought would be a great tween book and it’s just not circulating for whatever
reason, reconsider where you put it. Maybe it does actually belong
in juvenile or teen– and we’ll talk about that
more a little bit later. Tweens are diverse and challenging. We’re going to talk a little bit about
the tween brain and why they can be such a challenging population, but
they are certainly worth the effort. And the main thing is tween
collections act as a bridge between juvenile collections
and teen collections. They are intended for kids who have outgrown Dog
Man and the Warriors series, but not quite ready for the novels of John Green and Ellen Hopkins. So, adolescent brain development–
and I go into this in pretty– it’s pretty detailed in the
book, so if you want to read more about it, I would encourage you to do so. But just overall, a teen’s brain
develops at different rates. So, cognitively, tweens are beginning
to understand more complex subjects. They are learning to think critically. Their thinking goes from concrete to abstract. They are learning to set and attain goals and they are learning their
strengths and weaknesses. Their language– tweens like
to say things for shock value. They will use a lot of slang. They may pick a fight for no reason just to
see how that interaction is going to play out. Face-to-face communication can be hard with
this age group for a variety of reasons. This is an age group– especially in today’s
world– that have grown up on devices. So, they– so they don’t necessarily know
how to interact face-to-face in the same way that we know how to interact face-to-face. And because a lot of their communication
happens via some sort of device, it is likely that they will have a
hard time maintaining eye contact and they may mumble a little
bit when they talk to you. So, a lot of– a little patience
goes a long way with this age group. Emotionally, they can be volatile. They can be sweet moment and having
a meltdown the next over something that we might consider is minute, like
a video game or the fact that the book that they want isn’t in the
building at the time. They can have a low level of frustration and
they can be irritable and the area of the brain that controls their emotions is not
developed until around the age of 15, while other areas of the brain are
developing much quicker than that. Physically, they may look a little bit
older or younger than their actual age. It’s hard for them to control their bodies. They’re very similar to toddlers in that
respect where they really just can’t sit still. They are going to rock in an unrockable
[phonetic] chair, they might bump into things, they might feel the need to just touch somebody. That’s all just because they have
a hard time just sitting still. They also need a lot of sleep. Experts actually recommend nine to
12 hours of sleep per night and many of them are not getting that, so
that’s something to consider as well. They could just simply be tired and stressed. Socially, tweens need to learn
how to behave in a variety of situations and how to interact with others. Peer pressure is at an all-time
high, as is risk-taking behavior. And a lot of tweens, feeling the need to fit in, may participate in some negative
risk-taking behavior just to get the approval of their tweens– of their fellow tweens. However, they– this can also be a
great time of confidence-building because they are more likely to take risks. They might consider trying out
for that sports team or trying out for a new club or maybe the school play. And in doing this, they may find
new friendships and opportunities through these extracurricular activities. Sexuality. They’re starting to develop emotions
and feelings of love and attraction. Some of those feelings may
be confusing for them. They may have friends who are what
we call boy crazy or girl crazy or they may have some feelings
of I might like the same gender, I’m not sure if I am the gender
that I was assigned at birth. They have a lot of things happening
and– or they may feel nothing yet. Maybe they’re not attracted to anybody yet and
they might be thinking what’s wrong with me. All of my friends are, you know, starting
to maybe think that they want a boyfriend or a girlfriend and I don’t
want any of those things yet. So, those are things that
they’re dealing with as well. And then they’re learning to have
relationships with authority figures. They feel the need for independence
and they want to test their boundaries, but they also want the comforts of home and
they also want structure and they like routine. And librarians can have a very
positive effect in the lives of tweens. We can be a positive influence in their life
because, while we are authority figures, we don’t necessarily set strict
rules and implement punishments. We’re much more likely to advocate for them. So, now we know that their
brains are all over the place. So, what do they want going forward? Well, some of them want to hang out in
groups and socialize with their friends, which often involves a mobile device. They want to crowd around a computer playing
video games or watching YouTube videos. And it’s important to provide
them opportunities to do that. Some tweens want to be left alone. Others seek out interactions with adults. Some will try to impress authority figures and
some will see how much they can get away with. Their need for independence and freedom is
growing, but they still need a safe place with trusted adults who are
available, but not overbearing. A tween collection and a specialized
space can accomplish all of these goals. By giving tweens a collection to call their
own, a space to hang out with their friends, and a friendly librarian with whom to interact, tweens can navigate those awkward middle school
years a bit more easily and come out prepared for the challenges of high school,
all while learning to love the library and become lifelong readers and learners. Because that’s the whole point
of this collection, right? It’s to make them lifelong readers and learners. So, what do tweens want to read? Because we need to know what
they want to read in order to create this wonderful tween collection. So, there was a great book that I used
when I was researching the practical guide and it’s called Naked Reading: Uncovering
What Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers. And it was written in a very fun, relatable tone and I would recommend anyone
to take a look at it. I found it very enjoyable. And so the five stages that they
talked about were unconscious delight, reading autobiographically,
vicarious experience, philosophical exploration,
and aesthetic experience. So, unconscious delight. The time in the tweens life when the real world
drops away and readers become lost in a book. We all know that feeling and we all love that
feeling and we certainly want to make sure that we are providing opportunities
for that feeling for our tween patrons. Reading autobiographically. Tweens want to meet characters who share some
of the same characteristics of their own lives. They want to see someone like them who is
experiencing the same feelings and situations that they are and they want
characters who look like them. That’s very important. And I’m not going to go into a whole
lot of diversity in this webinar, but I do have some resources at the end
that you might want to take a look at. And I’m sure actually most of you
already know about most of them. So, it’s important to make sure that your
readers are seeing themselves in the books that you have in their– in your collection. Vicarious experience. Some tweens want to read about people
and experiences not like their own. They want to explore other
cultures, other places, other times. Reading vicariously helps break down
barriers and encourages the readers to understand the experiences of others. So, you want to make sure that you have
things that are going to intrigue them. You know, maybe they want to read about a
different time period or a different culture or a different geographical
place or even just someone who has different religious
beliefs than their own. Philosophical exploration. Sometimes tweens read to wrestle
with larger questions in life. Who am I? Why am I the way that I am? What am I supposed to do with my life? This is the age where kids start
thinking about things like that. They want to see how they fit into
the bigger picture in their families, in school, and the world around us. They need to know what other
possibilities are there for them. They may be growing up in a household with
very conservative or even very liberal beliefs and they’re just not quite
sure they feel that way. So, it’s important to make sure
that there is opportunities for them to explore other facets of the world for them. And then aesthetic experience. Reading for the sheer beauty and
pleasure that reading can bring. Books read for aesthetic experiences also
contain passages, characters, scenes, and sentences that make us pause as
readers, usually because we connect with the books in some specific way. Tweens will find favorite characters in
these books and may even reread them. And we as adults know this feeling well. So, tweens who read through all of these stages
are more likely to become lifelong readers. Although almost everything
librarians do help tweens and other young readers become
successful literate people, an understanding of the publishing market and review sources can also help librarians
make informed decisions which will help to provide appropriate tween collections. So, one of the things that I think is
important is we need to rethink the YA or teen classification in libraries. So, typically, juvenile collections
cover from birth to grade six and teen collections cover grade six to 12. And we all know that those are
both huge developmental age ranges. A kid who is just starting middle school is
still thinking about the comforts of home and they’re thinking about video games
and they’re thinking about, you know, what they might do this weekend
if they have a sleepover. Where a junior in high school
is going to be thinking about taking standardized
tests or the ACT or SAT. They might be worried about school. They might be worried about
getting a scholarship. They might have a job. So, they are dealing with a lot of
different things and so to lump middle school in with high school actually
does them a disservice. And one of the main things is some parents are
concerned that there will be very mature themes in the teen collection and I
have actually seen firsthand where parents will not allow their middle
schooler to browse the teen collection because there are things that they or they feel
or their child simply is just not ready for. So, having a specialized middle school or
tween collection really goes a long way in giving tweens ownership of the library. So, tweens are a very unique
group of patrons who are still under the watchful eye of
their parents, in most cases. Tween literature continues to become
edgier and tackle tough topics and more authors are writing books
with middle schoolers in mind. There’s a lot more books that have middle
school characters and deal with things that middle schoolers are dealing
with on a day-to-day basis. Kids in this age group are caught between
wanting all the comforts and security of home and yet doing everything they
can to find their independence. This is an age where book lovers
may move away from the written word because juvenile books are too
young and teen books are too much. Just the presence of a tween
collection could make an entire group of patrons feel welcome and
at home in your library. So, a good tween collection
will have appropriate books, both in content and intended audience. A welcoming space for kids to hang out. Popular entertaining titles, required
reading, and maybe some nonfiction. And a knowledgeable, fun librarian. Tween collections and spaces can help combat
the challenges of keeping tweens engaged in reading and learning in general. Parents can often be our
hardest customers to please. How many times have we heard that
graphic novels are not real books or I don’t want my kid reading that, usually
in reference to the latest book-to-movie title or whatever they’ve heard
on the news or on Facebook. So, this problem is exacerbated when a new
sixth-grader walks into the teen collection and discovers a book like The Hate U Give
or 13 Reasons Why, which are, of course, fantastic books, but might not be
quite appropriate for a sixth-grader or at least the parent doesn’t
think that they are appropriate and then this entire section is
closed off to these middle schoolers. And research has shown that one
factor in creating lifelong readers is to let children choose their
own reading material. Kids are more likely to have the opportunity
to select reading materials if there is a space for tweens that includes books written with
middle schoolers as the intended audience. So, I know– if you’re here, you really
want to create a tween collection or at least you’re really considering creating a
tween collection and I’m sure you have concerns or I’m sure perhaps some of your stakeholders
or other staff members have concerns. One of the things that I heard when I was researching was nobody is
asking for a tween collection or space. And this is probably true. But it’s an invalid argument. And the reason being, most people don’t
understand what a tween collection or a tween space is. It’s relatively new that libraries are even
considering putting in spaces specifically for middle schoolers, so
don’t confuse something– lack of knowledge does not necessarily
mean that there’s a lack of interest. People just don’t necessarily
understand that it’s a thing. Another thing that I heard was tween
collections will pigeonhole readers. Some librarians were concerned
that if you have a tween collection and you have a space that’s simply for middle
schoolers, only middle schoolers will go in there and they won’t go anywhere else. And, if you’re not in middle school,
you won’t be able to go in there. And we all know that that is not the case. We have teens who still browse in the
juvenile collection because the like the books that are there or they just
want to reread something. And we have juveniles going into the
teen collection looking for something. And, as librarians, we know that
all collections are for all people. So, this area will simply just allow tweens
to know that there is a specific place that might have items that
are more geared towards them, but it’s certainly not the
only area that they can go to. Reading levels. Now, we all know about reading levels and we
all know how fun they can be to deal with. So, there is too many systems. They’re all proprietary. Schools don’t necessarily use
the same ones across the board. So, tween collections are
not about reading levels. Tween collections are about interest. These are the books that are
written for middle schoolers. These are the books that middle
schoolers will find interesting. It has absolutely nothing
to do with reading levels. Lack of space. This one is an interesting one because you’re
not really going to need any new space. You simply need to rearrange your space. Because you already have tween
books in your collection. Some of them are in juvenile and some
of them are in teen and you just need to find them and put them in a new space. But you don’t need to create new space, you just need to reimagine the
space that you already have. And the same thing goes for money. You’re already buying these books. They are just simply going to be
catalogued or linked differently. So, you don’t need any more space
and you don’t need any more money; you just need to reimagine how you use
your space and redistribute your funds. So– and we’ll go into that
a little bit more at the end. So, what is tween literature? What constitutes– what makes a book tween? So, first thing is middle school. If the characters are in middle school,
it’s like that it is a tween book. However, there are some middle school
characters that do very well in juvenile. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the
Middle School series are both ones that do just fine in juvenile. They can be read by kids
as young as third grade. However, if you want to put them in tween,
put them in tween because, remember, nothing is set in stone and
collections are fluid. You also want to look at the storylines. What happens to the characters in the story? Are they going on a parent-free adventure? Are they dealing with discrimination
or bullying? Is that based on race, culture, or gender? Are they being abused or neglected? What does the family dynamic look like? Is there a substance abuse
or a mental health issue? Does someone die? If so, is it tragic or unexpected? In some cases, it’s the concept
that makes it appropriate for tween. Books with dystopian societies or
those dealing with social justice or injustice may belong in tween. Also, coming of age, sexual identity, and gender
questioning begin to appear in tween novels. This of course can make parents
and other grown ups nervous. However, for tweens who are
trying to figure out who they are and why they are having these feelings,
these novels can be a lifesaver for them. And, again, they may be dealing
with feelings of love or attraction or they may be feeling nothing at all. So, having books that deal with first
romance or first kisses or, you know, anything of the sort are also good to have. Other things, they may contain
nudity, but not in a sexual way. It’s going to be more likely like some– they saw someone naked rather
than a graphic description of someone being naked in a sexual way. The other thing is mild swearing. And that is going to be kind of
based on your community standards. We all have those words that we know are
completely off limits, but there are other ones that would be absolutely fine and
completely appropriate in tween books. So– OK. So, resources you
can use as you are figuring out your tween collection and your tween books. You. You are an extremely valuable resource. You’ve gone to school, you’ve read
articles, you read reviews, you are– if you’re brand new and you
don’t feel like you’re an expert in kids’ literature, you will be. You will continue to read things, you’ll
read the books, you will read reviews, you will continue to become more and
more knowledgeable about your patrons and what they want and your community
and what your community standards are and those are all things that you
can use as you form your opinions about what belongs in your tween collection. Other librarians. Librarians, by nature, are pretty helpful. And we like to recommend things to
each other and you can join listservs– and I’m sure many of you have– so you can
see all of the book lists that come out, all of the book suggestions that come out. So, use your other librarians that
you know and just ask for help. Vendors. Sometimes vendors’ emails have
fantastic suggestions for new things coming out or even things that maybe
had slipped under your radar. And some vendors also now allow
reviews to pop up when you’re searching for books, so that is always good. But you can, you know, just
go to a one-stop shop, which we’re going to talk
about that next, with NoveList. NoveList K plus eight is probably
one of my favorite MeL databases. I use it all the time. You can go in, you can search for things. You can see a bunch of reviews in
the same place, including– there’s– Kirkus is in there and School Library Journal–
and we’re going to actually go out into NoveList and I’m going to show you how I use those
to see which books would make a good– how I look at the books and how
I figure out which ones belong in tween versus juvenile or teen. So– but before we do that, I want to talk
about two different formats that are important to continue– or to have
in your tween collections. So, the first one is novels in verse. Novels in verse help to create
comprehension and fluency. Kids who are reluctant readers may be
more likely to pick up a novel in verse because there’s less words on the page. Right? They don’t have to go through
paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. They can get through a chapter
in a short amount of time because there’s just simply not
that many words on the page. And some readers have commented that the
verses are like tweets and they are short and their brains have an easier
time understanding what’s going on. And I thought that was interesting that they
compared them to tweets and what a way to tap into this digital generation but
by adding more novels in verse. The other one is graphic novels. And I found out a bunch of really cool things
about graphic novels and the history of them as far as what they thought was appropriate
and what they didn’t think was appropriate and how publishers and vendors got around
selling items that some people didn’t like. So, that’s all very interesting. If you want to take a look at it, it’s in
the book, but I just found it fascinating. And we all know that some people don’t
feel that graphic novels are real books, but we also know that they can be
beneficial to reluctant readers as well. It gives them a chance to read
not many words on the page. They can enjoy the illustrations and it actually
helps them comprehend better because they have to reconcile with the words on the page
with what is happening in the picture. So, graphic novels are great in increasing
comprehension, especially for reluctant readers. So, hopefully that’s a little tidbit of information you can use the next time a
parent says I don’t want my kid reading a graphic novel. So– and now a lot of classics are getting
reimagined as graphic novels, which is nice, and there is also some nonfiction graphic novels that patrons are starting to
discover and really enjoy.>>Hey Karen. It’s Cathy.>>Hey.>>So, we had a quick question in the chat box
about suggested tween book lists and I mentioned that in the book everyone is
getting, Creating a Tween Collection, there are some book lists in Appendix A and B.>>Yes.>>Just wanted to point that out.>>Yes. Alright. Thank you.>>Yep.>>OK. So, we are going to
start evaluating what we have. So, because your tween collection covers
grades five through eight, roughly, you’re going to find a fair
amount of tween books already in your juvenile collection
and in your teen collection. Getting started is the hardest part, right,
because you’ve got so many books in juvenile and so many books in teen it’s
like where do you even start. So, start thinking about some of the
series that you know might be more for those middle school students. So, we have Percy Jackson would be one of them. Harry Potter is one that technically I think
it belongs in tween, but a lot of librarians like it in juvenile or like
it in teen and, again, it’s– collections are fluid, so if you want
to keep yours in juvenile or in teen, that of course is going to
be what works best for you. So– and as you use review
sources, when you start looking– once you figure out the series that you know
belongs in tween and then you start looking at specific things, you want to look at the age
recommendations that are found in the reviews, you want to look for comments about maturity
in the books or comparison to other books. Similar to, you know, for kids
who have outgrown Dog Man, this might be the next, you
know, thing for them. And then when you– when the reviews
are not consistent on age ranges– which a lot of times they’re not– you
want to see what happens in the story and that will help you figure out exactly where
the book that you’re thinking about needs to go. So, when you evaluate your collection,
you want to look at your review sources. And I’m sure you guys are
all familiar with these. VOYA, Publishers Weekly, School Library
Journal, Booklist, Horn Book, and Kirkus. So, I’m not going to go into a
whole lot of detail with those because you guys know about them. What I really want to do–
because I just noticed my time here and I’m running a little over– I want to
talk to you guys about the meat and potatoes. How to physically start looking for those books. So, we’re going to look at
sample juvenile titles. So, this is taken from NoveList right here. The Summer of Owen Todd. I’m sure most of you are familiar with this
book and it’s one of those like, oh, boy, this is probably a kids book but, oh, I’m not
sure I want to put it in the kids section. This is a great example of a tween book. It is a book written with
middle schoolers in mind. It is about young middle schoolers. They are just beginning sixth grade or they’re
going to be beginning sixth grade and it’s about something that could
quite possibly be happening to any one of our tweens and we know that. So, this is a great book to
put in your tween collection. It’s going to be there for the kids who need it. And even if you have a teen who might need
it, they’re going to be able to find it in your tween collection as well. Where it’s going to get lost in your teen
collection because a junior doesn’t want to read about a sixth grader and we know that as well. So, George is another one. George is one that could
easily go into juvenile. If you have the type of community that
would be willing to be cool with that. In a more conservative community, it might
be something that belongs more in tween. But, again, that’s something that
you need to know your community and what your community standards are. OK. And then we’re going to do two teen titles. We have Refugee, which is a historic novel. Actually, it has a few different time periods
that it deals with and this is another one that would be a great tween title. And Counting by 7s, which has a 12-year-old
girl who feels like an outsider and is trying to figure out her place in the world after
her parents are killed in a car crash. This one is almost a textbook tween book. So, I have some NoveList screenshots in
the slides, but I want to show you how to physically search in NoveList, just in
case you guys are not familiar with it. And if you’re not familiar with it, I
would highly recommend getting familiar with it, because NoveList is amazing. So, I don’t know– are you seeing the
NoveList K plus eight or do I need to do something different to share the screen.>>No, we can see it. You’re good.>>OK. So– OK. So, you just want to go to MeL. And you guys all know how to go to MeL and I’m
sure you’re familiar with most of the databases. So, we’re just going to do a quick
search here for Beverly, Right Here. And like I said, these are the screenshots
that I saved for you so you can see them again. And we’re just going to search
and it’s going to pop up. OK. So, these are the things
that you want to look for. So, NoveList is going to give
you an age recommendation.>>Karen, I’m sorry. You tricked us because your
slide is showing NoveList.>>OK. Let me–>>Go ahead and reshare to your web.>>I will do that right now. OK. Let me see. There we go.>>I thought you already had this page open. Sorry.>>Alright.>>There you are. Now I can see your URLs.>>OK. Wonderful. OK. So– OK. So, NoveList is going to give
you a recommended age range. So, this has ages nine to 12,
min-max grade level five to seven. So, that’s something that you
can use when you’re selecting. And then when you scroll down, you’re
going to see all of these great reviews and it’s going to– and all of these reviewers
are going to give you a recommendation. So, Booklist says it’s five to eight. School Library Journal says it’s five to seven. Publishers Weekly says it’s ages 10 and up. And Kirkus gives it 10 to 14. So, this one is pretty firmly in that
tween area of what we’re looking for. And then the other one is Strange Birds–
which I thought was a super cool title, because it has, of course,
nothing to do with birds, it has to do with four different characters–
A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers. And so this is about four girls who are
trying to shake up their sleepy Florida town. So, if you’re dealing with a book that has some
sort of– what’s the word I’m looking for– they’re trying to take some sort of action. If they’re trying to stop something or
make something happen or change something, some sort of political or social change,
you’re probably looking at a tween book because most elementary school kids aren’t
going to be quite there yet developmentally. And if you look at the grades
here, we have five to eight. School Library Journal has it as four to seven. Publishers Weekly has it as nine to 12. And Kirkus has it as nine to 12 as well. So, this would be one– it’s not quite firmly
in that tween area across the board; however, because it is dealing with some sort
of social action, it’s much more likely that it’s going to be a tween book. So, like I said, so you have these slides. They will be in your notes, so you can
take a look at those a little bit more. So, I’m going to go back to the
PowerPoint and I’m just going to bump through these quickly so
we can get beyond there. They were just backup in
case, you know, technology. And– OK. So, now we are to carving out space. So, you have the books or you’re thinking
about what books you want to put there and then you need a spot to actually put them. Right? So, carving out space
is the one thing that, like I said, was a big concern for everybody. So, you want to do some weeding as you are going through selecting what you think
belongs in your tween collection. As you’re going through, you
might find that there are books that really just aren’t circulating well, and
it could be that they’re not circulating well because they’re just not circulating well
or maybe they’re not circulating well because the audience who needs
them is not finding them. So, you might want to consider that. You might have a book in teen that is
a great book, but no one’s finding it, so maybe throw it in tween and see what happens. If you’re not familiar with the CREW method, I do have the link here that
you can take a look at. It’s a wonderful way to go through your
weeding process, which some librarians love, other librarians consider it a necessary evil. So, if you ever do need tips or tricks or
motivation, CREW is a good place to go for that. And weeding will accomplish two things. It will help you find between books that are
already in your collection and it will free up space for your tween collection. So, as you’re going through your weeding
process, just think about your policies. Condition of the books. Circulation. Are they circulating, would they
circulate better somewhere else? Availability. Can you get the book in through
interlibrary loan? So, maybe it’s not a book that necessarily works
well in your collection, but if you can get it from another library it will be there in
case you do have a patron who wants it. And then if you’re doing nonfiction, of course,
is the book still accurate or do we need to maybe update what’s in the book. So– and then location. So, now you have started your weeding, you’ve
started figuring out the books that you want in your tween collection and now
where exactly are we going to put it. Are we going to put it closer to juvenile? Are we going to put it closer to teen? And juvenile makes sense if you have parents
who come to the kids with the library still. So, if you have parents who have, say, a
second-grader and a sixth-grader and they come to the library as a family, you might want to
put your tween collection closer to juvenile. That way the parent can still
see where they’re at, but will allow them a little bit more
freedom to go into their tween space. So, the tween will be able to explore, but
the parent is still there for guidance. And it also provides a natural
flow from juvenile to tween. Maybe you want to put it closer to teen. Maybe your library is close to a middle
school and you have a lot of middle schoolers who just come into the library
after school all by themselves. So, maybe it makes more sense closer to teen. And it also provides more of a flow from tween
to teen, because remember this is a bridge. Tween collections are a bridge
between juvenile and teen. Finally, wherever you have space. If you’re able to move shelves
around, that’s great. But you might not be able to. Your library might be super tiny in a very
small community, so you might just want to put, you know, four or five shelves of tween books at
the end of juvenile or at the beginning of teen. Try not to get too hung up on the actual
placement of your tween collection. Just having one and having a space that
tweens can call their own will be beneficial. That’s the main thing. So, don’t get hung up on the perfect space
or the perfect dynamic or any of those things because you probably aren’t going to find one. So, just focus on making a space for them,
even if it’s just four shelves somewhere. OK. So, let’s talk a little bit about
controversy in your Tween collection because there is going to be some
controversy, especially as we start dealing with a little bit more of the heavier
subjects, like sexual abuse or first kisses or someone’s an alcoholic or somebody
committed suicide, things like that. So, we all know that tweens have their right
to read and they can read whatever they want and we do not act in loco parentis,
but we still do need to make sure that we’re finding age-appropriate materials
and putting them in the appropriate spots. Just it serves the community
better, it serves our tweens better, and it makes everyone a little happier. So– whoops, went the wrong way. And– so, the Office of Intellectual
Freedom, of course, librarians and library-governing bodies have a public
and professional obligation to ensure that all members of the community they
serve have free, equal, and equitable access to the entire range of library resources,
regardless of content, approach, or format. The principle of library services applies
equally to all users, minors as well as adults. Lack of access to information
can be harmful to minors. Librarians and library-governing bodies
must uphold this principle in order to provide adequate and affective
service to minors. So, we all know that and sometimes when you’re
facing a challenge or a censorship attempt, it can be hard to remember, but it’s important
for us to stand our ground when it comes to the information and the books
that we provide for our patrons. A lot of you probably are familiar with a
request for reconsideration of materials. So, I would recommend that everyone take a
look at that a little bit more in the book. Because, again, I’m running low on time. So, you just want to make sure that
you have a policy for challenges if someone does say I don’t think
this book belongs in the library. So, have a policy. Have a form that the patron can fill out. Often times they won’t, but sometimes they will
and it makes them feel like they’re being heard, which I think is important
in any patron interaction. You want to make sure that your library has
a process and that you complete that process. Make sure you have your reviews because
you had them when you ordered the book, so make sure you have them
if somebody challenges it. And don’t be afraid to reevaluate the item. Like I said, sometimes you will buy
something and you think oh, wow, it really– this would make a great tween book and then, no,
maybe, maybe it does actually belong in teen. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You know, we can– we can read the reviews,
but until you get that book in your hand, you can’t be 100% sure where
you think it belongs. And bibliotherapy, why we need problem novels. You want to make sure that you have
novels that have issues in them. Alcoholism, anxiety, mental health
issues, gender identity, child abuse, maybe bullying, suicide, things like that. Just make sure that you have items
in your collection for those kids who probably aren’t going to ask for them, but
will be very appreciative when they find them. OK. So, nonfiction. Do you want to add nonfiction
or should you add nonfiction? This is a question that is completely up
to each individual library and librarian. Nonfiction tween collections are great. They really are. You can have report-worthy books,
which are going to consist of things that are going to help them with school. Anything that they can use to write a report
or write an essay or create a presentation– and you can talk to media specialists
in your school district about that. You can look at the Common Core, since
Michigan does use the Common Core for their education standards. So, those are things that you can do to figure out if you want your nonfiction
collection to focus on report-worthy books. Maybe you just want some
self-help and just for fun books. Maybe you want books that just deal with,
you know, helping kids throughout the growing up process because middle school is tough. It’s tough for a lot of reasons. So, if you can have books for them that
deal with how their body is changing and how their feelings are changing and how
to deal with friendships and how to deal with teachers and how to deal
with parents and maybe even things that will help them become more mindful and
things that help them deal with the stress. I’ve always felt bad that people
think that kids aren’t under stress. Kids are under tremendous stress from being
overscheduled to being pushed to succeed to, you know, having the latest technology
to not having the latest technology. There’s so much that goes into being a tween,
so providing some sort of nonfiction materials to help them through that
can be very beneficial. Or you can just have fun stuff. Crafting, gardening, cooking, video games,
YouTube guys– guides– makeup and hairstyling. Just something that would
be fun for them to read. Books about sports teams or athletes, actresses,
actors, you know, the next YouTube sensation. All of those things make great additions
to a tween nonfiction collection. But, if you don’t have the space or the time or you don’t think you definitely
need a nonfiction collection, it’s certainly not a requirement to
make a satisfactory tween collection. So, who buys what? So, if you are lucky enough to have
more than one librarian working in your youth department, you
divvy up duties in some way. Somebody may be purchasing the
books for birth through grade six and then somebody may be
purchasing the books for six to 12. So, how do you decide which
one buy those tween books. There’s a couple of ways you could do this. Somebody might just want to buy the tween books. Say, hey, you know what, I love this age
group and I want to buy all the stuff. If you’re cool with it, I’m cool with it. So, that might work. Or maybe you want to go based on genre. You know? Some people love
mysteries and realistic fiction and other people love those
sci-fi and fantasy books, so maybe you want to purchase based on that. However it works best for your library
is how you decide who buys what. The main thing is, is you want to make sure that
you guys are talking to each other and remember that there’s no ownership
in any of the collections. I am lucky enough that I have a decent size
staff and we all have our own collections. I do buy the tween books and I have a
librarian who buys the juvenile fiction books and a librarian who buys the teen
books and, every once in a while, one of us will order something
and we’ll be like oh, boy, that’s not exactly where this should go. So, we give it to the other person. Also, some vendors are really cool
that you can see what other libraries in your building are purchasing,
so you don’t have the duplicates. If you don’t have that capability, then
it is super important for you to make sure that you’re talking to your other librarians. Or you might just be a department of one and
if that’s the case you do all of the purchasing and it might even be a little bit easier because
then you can just decide when the books come in where you think they would work best. Simple purchasing decisions. You want to make sure the characters
or the character is in middle school. The reviews recommend it
for grades five to eight. You want to see what the storyline is about. Is it a coming of age storyline? Are they dealing with major life changes? Are they dealing with some sort
of tragedy, bullying, suicide, gender identity, those types of things? First romance and first kisses. If there’s any violence, you probably want
to make sure that it’s not super graphic. And the books may contain
nudity and mild swearing. And, again, what mild swearing constitutes
is going to be dependent on your demographic. When you’re looking at budgets, so you
don’t necessarily need any more money. You just need to reallocate
how the money is spent. So, there are samples of budgets on page 100
in the book and I just did 10,000, 15,000, 25,000 and the ever-elusive 50,000. And you can kind of see so this
is how the money might be divvied up before you have a tween collection. And then you see how it might be divvied
up after you create your tween collection. So, in this instance, we just took
some money from juvenile fiction. We took a little bit of money from juvenile
nonfiction and we took a little bit of money from teen fiction and we
threw it over into– to tween. So, that is the easiest way to do that, I think. And, again, if you’re the
person who is budgeting– if you have just one budget and it just goes
from birth to age 18, then you might divvy up your budget completely differently. But this is just an example if each individual
group does actually get their own set of funds. So– and I have more budgets
in the slides as well. So, now you have your tween collection and
you’re super excited about it and people come in and they start wondering what it is. Here are some simple talking points for you. You want to talk about how the collection
bridges the gap between juvenile and teen. You want to talk about how these books deal with
typical middle school issues, like bullying, changing family dynamics, increasing athletic and academic competition, and
interpersonal relationships. And that this collection was created
with middle schoolers in mind. So, those are all very important things to
bring up to people when they ask about it. But this collection, you don’t really have
to do a whole lot of marketing for it. It’s going to market itself. People are really going to love it. You will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive feedback you get
from having a tween collection. So, just kind of in closing,
important factors to remember. Know your community. Tween collections do not limit
readers, they actually empower them. It’s not about reading levels. Finding the appropriate books for
the intended audience in terms of storyline, characters, and overall themes. Communication is key. Make sure you’re talking to
your staff and your patrons. The early adolescent years are full of massive
changes, both physically and emotionally. Understanding what tweens want can help you to
serve them better and giving tweens a collection and a place to call their own will
help them to be lifelong library users. And you’re also probably not going to lose those
kids that might fall off in fifth, sixth grade, and then you have a hard time getting
them back when they’re in high school. So, I have a couple of useful
websites for you here. I’m sure some of you are familiar with the
We Need Diverse Books, Reading While White, and the Michigan Electronic Library. One that you might not be
familiar with is Brightly. It’s a website for parents and educators and I
have found it to be an extremely useful website when selecting tween books, so I would
encourage everyone to check that one out. And then here are some resources
for some reviews. And about me. So, I think I just got in under the hour. I got to talking, so I hope everyone enjoyed
it and I am always available by email, it’s the best way to get ahold of me, because
we all know that sitting in our office as a librarian does not happen very often. So, thank you, everyone. Are there any questions, Cathy?>>Thank you, Karen. You get a gold star. You came in just under three o’clock here.>>Alright. Very good.>>There have not been really any questions. If you guys have any– anything you’d like
to share, questions, or your own experiences with tween space, we have about a minute and a
half if you want to get that in the chat box. But, meanwhile, I’d like to remind everyone that Creating a Tween Collection should
have already arrived at your library or be arriving in the next day or so. They were shipped out starting at the end of
last week to all those that were registered and also a quick reminder to please ask– to please share with your coworkers
that this book should be coming in. We’ve had a few– a number of calls to our
shipper saying where did this book come from. From library staff that were opening
the mail and didn’t see your names, but it should be addressed
to all of our attendees. So, that’s available. I’m not seeing anybody type in the chat box. Kathryn responded that Brightly
is excellent and I’ll second that. I do like to get their newsletter
from Brightly as well. You can sign up for an e-newsletter. So, thank you, everyone, very much for today.>>Can I just say one more thing?>>Yeah.>>OK. Just– something else to remember. In the book as well there are four
case studies from other libraries who have created tween collections and
I believe all of the contact information for those librarians is in the
book as well and I’m sure any one of them would be willing
to help you out as well. They were great in helping
me compile some information, so please make sure to check
out those case studies.>>Yeah, those are great and those
are back in the appendixes as well. And all of Karen’s chapters go into
great depth and great information about what she covered here today, including
a chapter on marketing your tween collection, which we just didn’t really have time for today. So, thank you, everyone. And thank you, Karen, for sharing with us today.

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