February 16, 2018

Karen Brooks-Reese | Movers & Shakers 2008

Better Than Cool

Karen Brooks-Reese thought librarians were “boring shushers” until she saw Party Girl. Now, as coordinator of teen services at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP), she, too, gets to upend teens’ stereotypes of librarians—and not just by bringing Wii and Playstation2 to CLP’s 19 facilities.

Brooks-Reese helps teens expand their skills and gain the respect of their peers. She helps them turn their program ideas into reality. Together, they’ve created a slew of programs, including Tell-a-Tale Theater (teens bring popular children’s books and activities to children at CLP branches); a video contest for teen-designed ads promoting the library; and Behind the Book: Authors Talk to Teens. “I feel that teens will have a greater appreciation of literature if they are directly exposed to those who create it,” she says.

She nurtures colleagues as well as teens, training teen specialists at 83 county libraries and using her Executive Leadership Institute training (she’s a 2007 Urban Libraries Council Fellow) to foster a leadership development program for CLP staff.

Brooks-Reese is better than cool, in the eyes of teens at CLP—and in ours.


CURRENT POSITION Coordinator of Teen Services, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

DEGREE MLIS, University of Pittsburgh, 2005

BLOG clpteens.blogspot.com; myspace.com/clpteens

KNOW-IT-ALL YALSA expert on urban fantasy