Mailbag: Why TLT?
I worked at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Ohio for almost ten years – and loved every moment of it. Every day I was very aware that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. The universe, however, was not so kind to The Mr. So he ended up with a job in Texas and for a year – a whole year! – he worked in Texas and occasionally came home to see me and our two children, one of which was a 1 year old with chronic health issues. Then, our town flooded, including our home (we lost 1/3 of our possessions including the first child’s baby stuff and some books! – it was fairly
traumatic), I broke my toe (meet Frankentoe!) and the 1 year old continued to have chronic health problems (mentioned here). It seemed like maybe it would be easier and better for everyone if we were all in one place . . . but I could not stand the thought of leaving my job (miss you guys). I knew that I could not give up my passion for teens and book and libraries, it is at the core of who I am. The answer, for me, was TLT.
So, I started the Teen Librarian’s Toolbox. And honestly, I am so glad every day that I did (though I don’t always appreciate what it cost me to get to this point). I am now working part-time as the teen (and tween) librarian at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas. It is a really nice library and I have met a lot of really great people (and I’m not just saying that because my boss reads my blog). And – I get to continue to maintain my blog.
The thing about TLT is that I find that in helping other teen librarians serve their teens, I get to reach even more teens. It’s like being a teen librarian on steroids. And the other truth is that TLT has become a community – you share your ideas and inspire me just as much as I do you. TLT is not just a blog, there is a very active community on Facebook where we share resources, ideas and talk about books. I learn about things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Together, as a community, we have become advocates for teens and our libraries through things like The 2012 Project. You see, you inspire me just as much as you say that I inspire you. I thank you for the privilege of being a part of this community and for an opportunity to share my passion.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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