Sunday Reflections: Tween Conversations
Fade In: Me, at reference desk on Valentines Day, working. Tween Boy, 12 years old, sitting next to me.
Tween: Miss, so you and Mr. That Guy don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Tween: Why not?
Me: Just cause.
Tween: But you like each other, right? Cuz he brings you dinner, and you hold hands and stuff.
Tween: So you didn’t get him nothing and he didn’t get you nothing.
Tween: But you made us Valentines.
Me: Yep, because you guys celebrate Valentines.
Tween: So what else don’t you and Mr. That Guy don’t celebrate?
Me: Hanukkah. Ramadan. Kwanzaa. Chinese New Years.
Tween: WAIT. You don’t celebrate THOSE? WHY NOT?
Me: Hanukkah is for those who are Jewish and we’re not. Ramadan is for those who are Muslim and we’re not. Kwanzaa is for those who are primarily African-American and while I like the principals I don’t celebrate it. We’re not Chinese.
Tween: BUT we celebrate all those in the LIBRARY!!!!!
Tween: BUT WHY? If you don’t celebrate those, why do we have them?
Me: We celebrate them because everyone who walks in the library is different, and special, and has their own beliefs. They celebrate different things, and I can’t celebrate one thing and not the other, so we celebrate everything.
Me: Just like we celebrate Cinco de Mayo and dieciseis de septiembre at the library even though I’m not Hispanic.
Tween: Wait, you’re an Honorary Mexican, Diego said so.
Me: Yes, but if we only celebrated my actual heritage, we’d do Irish, Scottish, German, English, and Jedi.
Tween: Wait, you’re a JEDI?!?!?
Me: Yes, that’s how I know what they’re doing in the corner. STOP RUNNING AND SIT DOWN.
Tween: WHOA. I love this library, Miss. It’s awesome. Do other libraries celebrate everything?
Me: Yes, because libraries welcome everyone.
Tween: Libraries are awesome.
True story. No embellishment. If you doubt me, ask That Guy or Karen. They have been at my library and have met my kids.
Filed under: holidays, love your library, Sunday Reflections, tween conversations
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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