Why do you want to be a YA librarian?
I often get asked about what I learn as a student pursuing a Master of Library Science degree. More than once, this question has been followed by, “So you’re learning about the Dewey Decimal System?” Ha. Well, I’ve learned a lot after two semesters. I’ve learned about cataloguing and how to retrieve accurate research. But I’d have to say that one of the most fascinating and valuable things I’ve learned is how important reading motivation is for children and adolescents. That’s why learning about how hard it can be to advocate for teens in the library was so frustrating to me. It’s sad to know that YA librarians have to fight extra hard to give teens the resources and space they need in the library.
Research has shown that technology and skim reading internet articles have caused our brains to develop differently. We can’t process longer, denser texts the way we used to. Going back to the conversations I’ve had with people about my career choice, I’ve often been asked if I worry libraries will become obsolete now that we live in the digital age. My response, in addition to mentioning that libraries have adapted to this change, is that because we live in a digital age, libraries are more important now than ever. We need libraries, and we need to continue to fight for our teen patrons especially.
I felt the need to write up a longer response, to help me craft my much shorter elevator pitch. And so, TL;DR:
- I want to be a YA librarian because, in an age where we are so glued to our computer and phone screens, reading motivation for adolescents is essential. I hope to find that one special book every reluctant reader needs, and to put it in his/her hand. I want to advocate for teens in the library, so that they will be drawn to a place that offers them so many valuable resources.