December 1, 2015

Justin Hoenke | Movers & Shakers 2013 — Advocates


Justin Hoenke - Movers & Shakers 2013


Teen Librarian
Portland Public Library, ME

MLS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2008

2013 YALSA President’s Program Planning Task Force

“The leader’s job is not to provide energy but to release it from others.”—Frances Hesselbein

@JustinLibrarian; justinthelibrarian;

Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images for Library Journal

“My goal was to come to Portland [Public Library] and make the teen library a success,” says Justin Hoenke, aka Justin the Librarian—blogger, music enthusiast, “retro video gamer,” and fearless programs creator. “Being a teen can be a crazy thing…. We want to help teens 12–19 find the best path toward adulthood.”

As the first teen librarian hired by Portland (in March 2010), Hoenke is more than meeting his goal. Innovations include Make Music at the Library, a program in which teens create their own tracks and albums (and edit them in Hoenke’s office), and a storytelling-focused “make your own video game” that’s a joint venture with the Telling Room, a local writing organization for young people. [Hoenke recently accepted a position as teen librarian at Chattanooga Public Library.]

The collaborative-minded Hoenke also tapped the talent of Maine College of Art students to launch Make Art for the Library at PPL, and he hosts weekly gaming nights dominated by FIFA Xbox soccer.

“Not only does he create innovative programs, but he shares them with the broader LIS community,” says nominator and LIS professor Michael Stephens, who invited Hoenke to share his wisdom on Stephens’s blog Tame the Web. Stephens cites Create, Play, Read, Hoenke’s bold strategy for lending ebooks and app-loaded devices to teens, as an example. “What did I learn from this? You’re gonna lose items…and it’s OK,” Stephens says.

Over 1,000 teens attend Hoenke’s programs annually; 60–100 teens come in daily. “I like to get teens to think creatively about the world around them,” he says.

Craft Exceptional Digital Experiences for Your Users
Digital UX LJ and ER&L present an exceptional roster of library and user experience (UX) experts for our newest online course, Digital UX Workshop: Crafting Exceptional Digital Experiences for the User-Centered Library. During this 5-week online workshop, you will explore why UX matters, and how to sell user-centered design (UCD) to leadership within your organization. Whether you want to redesign your website, revamp your user interface, create a new discovery tool, implement e-resources, or develop a mobile app—you’ll have a tangible product by the end of the course.
Lead the Change logoLTC register Lead the Change
Library Journal's Lead the Change offers timely resources and tools to stay ahead of the innovations and changes impacting the library profession. Library staff at all levels can participate in hands-on live events, access insightful on-demand webcasts, and enroll in LTC Leadership Academy - Online, a new online learning program that will help staff learn essential skills to advance their careers, solve problems unique to their libraries, and put strategic plans into action. LEARN MORE


  1. Karla Ivarson says:

    Congratulations Justin! I had the pleasure of partnering with Justin for an assignment in an online Clarion U. class–he was a great collaborator and pulled his weight on the project.