April hosts one of my favorite events: National Poetry Month. I came to really love poetry when I lived in Las Vegas. I would go to one or two open mics every week, and I wrote daily. It was at this point that poetry transformed for me. Instead of being antiquated, it was fresh. Instead of being an activity to do in isolation, it was part of social gatherings.
In librarianship, we are encouraged to delve into our passions. How perfect! This emphasis lets me bring my excitement about poetry into my patron interactions. For the second year in a row, I serve on the Teen Poetry Committee. Actually, I chaired it last year. This year, the Teen Programming Committee is steering the event, and I am a member of that committee.
Unlike most of my other posts here, this is actually about an event that will happen in the library. I promise that I will tie it to outreach, though. Again, connecting with the community is essential, and the ways that we do that are the same as they would be if this were an off-site program.
It helps to know what else is happening in the community. There is a Teen Open Mic Night at The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. We are cross-promoting. I have sent our information to them to distribute, and I have included their information on our book display. We have both a standing sign and flyers that people can take.
Also, KKFI 90.1, a local radio station, will highlight poets from our event on their Thursday Night Special program six days before our Teen Poetry Night. Some of our featured poets will perform their writing on air. This is a wonderful way to advertise the library’s upcoming experience, but it also draws community members to listen to the radio.
Twitter is a big deal now, too. If outreach is about meeting people where they are, that means also taking to the cyber-realm. We will have daily writing prompts on https://twitter.com/kclibraryteens. Of course, we would love for teens to post their poetry on our Twitter feed, too.
When I worked in Las Vegas in a library, a patron challenged me about the libraries not being open 24-7. I responded that he could access our website at any time of the day, every day of the year. He was pleased, and I have kept that in mind ever since.
Outreach is for teens. Outreach is for lovers of the visual arts. Outreach is for radio listeners. Outreach is for those entrenched in social media. Outreach is for library-lovers who are also insomniacs.
So, to conclude, a poem in the 5-7-5 syllable form of haiku:
passions. Grow them. Nurture them–
in-house and away.
NorthTexas is her Alma Mater, MLIS class of 2008
Nine years plus one-and-a-half more: Her time working in libraries
“Among her favorite memories: Hearing her daughter’s “Where the Duckie?” poem in 2010”