Erik Berman subscribes to a “teen run, teen led” mentality, according to senior librarian Sharon Fung at San José Public Library (SJPL). “He works tirelessly to get to know his teens, build their confidence, and guide them into taking an active role in the library.” Hand in hand with local teens and professional designers, Berman is responsible for the creation of the new teen center, TeenHQ, in San José’s central Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
Before December 2014, when she stepped into the new role of San José Public Library’s (SJPL) technology and innovation project manager (now innovations manager), Erin Berman launched SJPL’s first Maker faire, which introduced 200 people to after-school STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] programs. She believes Making can empower her community and help close the digital divide. Statewide, 25 percent of Californians in 2014 lacked broadband Internet access at home, according to a Field Poll. “When someone walks into one of our libraries and says they want to learn something, we don’t just hand them a book; we hand them the tool and teach them how to use it,” Berman says.
Youth services librarian Courtney Saldana says she “came into the library world backward.” She got her master’s in children’s literature because she loved the books but not (yet) the audience for them: “I joke that I started Teen Book Fest [at Ontario City Library] as a way to stalk authors without freaking them out.”
Music librarians Perry Genovesi (seated, l.) and Adam Feldman of the Free Library of Philadelphia tap teens’ passion for music to introduce them to criticism and help them to develop research and information literacy skills. “If you’re a librarian, and you want to know your teens better, have them share the music they’re passionate about!” Genovesi says.