The writers of Unshelved, quite possibly the best comic strip to ever use the library and its staff as the main driving force of its humor, have issued a contest for all libraries to “Pimp my Bookcart.”
The challenge is in response to the overwhelming response they received for a shrot strip series they did a few weeks back in which Dewey, the Teen Librarian, has the local youth snazzy up his bookcart and then sells it off for proceeds (incidentally, to another co-worker).
Get your neon out, and start your pimpin’
As you know, I am a horror junkie. I tend to watch these movies late at night as I cuddle my wife to bed insisting that the wailing and bloodshed coming from the TV isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Eventually, she does fall asleep only to wake up the next morning and tell me about the strange dreams she had the night before…
Do you think there’s a connection?
Anyway, for those of you who aren’t watching the Sci-Fi channel, they have been heavily pushing the film festival, 8 Films to Die For. Taking place from November 17-19, in over 500 theatres across the country, eight films have been selected to be shown which have been previously “passed on” for public viewing due to their content. Supposedly, this means they are super scary and gory.
Hopefully so, I would hate to think I bought an eight-movie pass to films that were passed up on because they just plain sucked.
This is one of the more difficult books I’ve had to explain to people, there is just so much that goes on within it and the subplots become seemingly integral to the book in its entirety.
Mateo Alacran is the clone of the 140 year-old El Patron, ruler of Opium (a country which now divides the Unites States and former Mexico). Like all clones, he was harvested from the womb of a cow but, unlike other clones, his brain and body were allowed to develop normally. His only friends are his caretaker, Celia, a bodyguard, Tam Lin, and an all-too-forgiving, if not a little ignorant girl, named Maria all of who know the unfortunate fate that lies ahead of Mateo. Soon enough, Mateo begins to learn about Opium’s past, the truth behind the field workers called “eejits”, and the darker side of El Patron. Mateo learns that if he is to survive, he must escape the land of Opium, his identity, and try to find refuge in another country far away from his decided fate as Patron’s clone.
But can he escape who and what he really is?
The book raises questions of what does it really mean to be human. It also asks how much of our personality is nature vs. nurture. There are several forms of slavery found within the book as well and Mateo initially struggles to see that all forms are unacceptable.
This was a book that I had intended to read for some time but hadn’t got around to. I’m glad I finally did, it was worth it and I think that it would be an ideal book for an active discussion group of middle to high-school teens.
As adamant as I can be for Teens in the library, I think Greg does bring up a very legitimate point in his comments. Teens can certainly be brash and take things way further than necessary. For that matter, a gang of teens can cause major discomfort among general library population.
So, the question is, at what point do you ask teens to leave the library?
Personally, as much of an advocate as I am, I do expect proper behavior from my teens. I expect them to be in control of themselves and able to follow the rules of the library. Sure, they can have their fits of giggling and their occasional outbursts, but that does not mean it dictates the pace of the library.
When it comes to determing when to ask teens to leave, I use two rules:
1. If they cannot control themselves
2. If they have decided they will dictate the rules of the library.
Breaking either one will result in being dismissed from the library and I tend to adhere to them quite tightly. As contradictory or tough as these may seem towards my advocacy goals, believe it or not, I have found a lot of success with them. I found I saw less of the problematic teens (but when I did they were a lot more respectful) and even grew a larger group of new teen patrons. In fact, my monthly attendance numbers surged when I implemented tighter boundaries.
Don’t forget, teens have a general want of acceptance. If they misbehave, you can kick them out… chances are they will be back and on better behavior.