Big with Teens
Head of Reference and Teen Services
Greenwood Public Library, IN
MLS, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, 2007
2009 LSTA Innovative Grant “Mobile Laptop Classroom,” awarded $40,000
Mr. Potato Heads line cabinets, a bookshelf is full of zombie paraphernalia
Photo by Lindsey Wells
When it comes to teen services, Emily Ellis thinks big. In just three years at Greenwood Public Library, she increased program attendance by more than 133 percent, anchored by successes like the teen film festival, a collaborative effort with the local high school media specialist. Now in its third year and having spread countywide, the event is the culmination of a program that includes storyboarding and video-editing classes, plus access to cameras and other equipment. Big indeed, as 373 people attended in 2009— and 768 in 2010.
“Her relational, goofy style and excellent programs are what keeps them coming back,” says assistant director Cheryl Dobbs. “She relates very well to teens who never seem to want to leave her office.”
Now head of reference as well, Ellis also established a teen advisory group, which led to the creation of a first-ever teen department and the hiring of an additional teen librarian. With teen programming entrenched, Ellis’s goal is to “create future community leaders.” Teens are now hosting three to five programs every month.
Ellis and her teens have formed a mutual admiration society. “When adults walk into my office, they often shake their head in amusement. When teens walk into my office and smile, I know immediately that I’m working in the right profession,” says Ellis.