YA Librarians: Be Friendly, Just Not too Friendly

You Try to Relate to Teens In a “Cool Way,” Often Using Teen Lingo. You Sense It Is Tragic. You Might Be Right

(Velásquez, 2015, p. 103).

This section was very interesting to me, both Deborah Takahashi’s advice and the fact that librarians attempt to use lingo to relate to teens.

Let’s break this down, starting with Takahashi’s response. I appreciated her insight on relating to teens by following what’s popular in their world, especially because I am also passionate about many aspects of nerd culture (I got a little too excited when she referenced to crunchyroll.com). The idea that I could connect with teens by appreciating their interests as much as they do, and maybe even learn more about pop culture from them, is exciting to me. Takahashi discusses this with great enthusiasm. Aspiring librarians can learn from her.

Onto the second point, that some librarians try to match teen “lingo” so that they sound current. It would, to me, be pretty amusing to hear a librarian try talking that like. I’m no longer up to date on teen lingo, but even as teen myself, when “oh, snap!” was still a thing, slang sounded ridiculous to me. I suppose it’s always good to google the slang words you hear in the YA room, but I do wonder who these librarians are that attempt to talk the way their teen patrons do.

I think it’s important to listen to Takahashi’s advice on making an effort with teens. Take the time to talk with them and make the effort to know more about them than what their favorite books are. Make the YA room a warm, welcoming place for them. That’s certainly more important than knowing what GTFO stands for, or who Taylor Swift’s latest beau is.


Velásquez, J. (2015). Real-World Teen Services. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.


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