I began my library career as a children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library (BPL). I always wanted to work with and for teens but there were no teen librarian positions open so I plotted and waited. I was a children’s librarian for three and half years at BPL until I came upon a teen outreach librarian position that became available at the Oakland Public Library. It was a new position and outreach has always been my passion; serving the underserved and underrepresented. I packed up my life in Boston and became the first teen outreach librarian at the Oakland Public Library. The position was truly life changing, it solidified my focus on outreach and while outreach was entirely my focus within that position, it allowed me to envision ways to incorporate outreach into other positions I have subsequently been in. From the teen outreach librarian position, believe it or not, I moved back to Boston as a teen librarian position opened up at the Boston Public Library. I grew up outside of Boston, always loved it, and wanted to go back. I was the lone teen librarian for one year before an amazing opportunity opened up at the BPL: the creation of a youth services coordinator position. The position oversaw youth services for the entire BPL system. It was a great opportunity that I was in for three years before yet another amazing opportunity was opening; the creation of the teen services team leader of Teen Central at Central Library. This position supervised the staff, developed a vision, and worked directly with staff and teens in developing programs in the newly created Teen Central . I felt this position allowed me to dig more into teen services as a whole and work with a staff that was entirely focused on teen services, teen programming, and outreach.
One of the things I’m very proud of is the partnership I established with the Department of Youth Services (DYS) in Boston, the state agency that serves youth who are incarcerated. The library provides library services and programs monthly for teens in all of the units in DYS and teens are able to request specific books they want to read as well as books that BPL librarians will booktalk. As this partnership began, I also began to speak at more conferences about this outreach work and the importance of libraries going outside the walls and looking at their own communities and ways to work closer with underserved populations.
In 2016, I became a YALSA Board of Directors director. I filled in a yearlong position for a director who resigned and then I ran for the slate this year and will be in the position for three years. I have been involved with YALSA for as long as I have been a librarian.
I have worked in libraries for seventeen years and in teen services for eight of those years, almost half of my library life. The plan is to continue working with and for teens in libraries. VOYA has been a part of my life since I began in library school at UCLA; it was THE publication for everything teen so it was always my go to. As I begin on the VOYA Advisory Board, I look forward to the opportunity to work with the other board members and helping steer the direction of the publication in ways to focus the articles and authors that are brought forward. I also look forward to connecting with all of the other VOYA readers out there, so please anytime feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org