Laura Guth is the Youth Director at the Adel Public Library
. She grew up in a small town called Richmond in Illinois and then attended Wartburg College in Waverly. In 2006, Laura graduated with a BA in History. She then completed her Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Iowa in 2007. Laura joined the Adel Public Library in 2007 after her graduation.
Q. What age group does the Youth Director focus on? How do you apply that focus in the library?A.
As the Youth Director, I get to work with all ranges of youths from babies through teens. It can be challenging to try to meet the needs of all these groups but it is also incredibly fun. I love how working with these different age groups keeps me on my toes and means that everyday at work is completely different.
I try very hard to have at least one event for every age group a month, but usually more than that. We regularly have story times for babies, toddlers and preschool age kids. We also have early out activities for school age children. For teens we have a book club, volunteer opportunities, a monthly video game club, and the Teen Advisory Board. We have also started a new mommy book club that Paula will lead while I babysit.Q. As the Youth Director, what are your goals for the coming year?A.
One of the biggest (goals) is getting more involved in the schools. We recently had all of the 6th and 7th graders from ADM over to the library. We are also partnering with them to have a reading program in which the top two readers from each class with get to come to the library for a party. I am hoping to get more involved with the high school as well.
Another one of my major goals is to establish more services for homeschoolers. We are going to start by offering an Open House for homeschoolers in which we will share specific tools like EPSCHO Host that we have available.Q. Do you have any special events planned in the next few months? A.
We will be having an early out movie on Thursday, November 12th. (There is) a Teen Advisory Board meeting on Monday, November 17th and December 15th. The Teen Advisory Board is for anyone grades 7-12. We meet the 3rd Monday of every month after school. We plan teen events for the library, help select books for the teen section and hang out. Teens can show up for any meeting. We also have The Teen Library Arcade, a program for gaming after school where teens can play our video games or bring their own and play on the big projector, which will be on Friday, November 21st and December 19th. We will also be having a holiday craft on December 9th for school age kids. Q. What excites you about working at the Adel Library? A.
I love going to work and working here. It is just so much fun. I
am a pretty hyper person so this job is perfect for me. I am always
doing something whether it's planning a new event for the kids,
helping a person find books, or doing a story time.
I also love that the library director, Paula, has given me a lot of room
to try new things. Sometimes they don't work out and sometimes they
are a huge success. It's always fun to get to see what happens.
By the time kids get to high school many have forgotten what its like
to read for pleasure. It can be a real challenge to get them to want
to read for fun. One of the ways we try to deal with that issue is by
offering books that appeal to them and ordering the latest titles in a
wide variety of genres. I am also going to try a new teen
volunteering activity in which teens read to children once a week
after school. There is nothing quite like reading a picture book to
help you remember how much fun reading is.
Q. What challenges do you face, or does the library face, in the coming year? A.
The one ongoing challenge that we face is letting people know what we are doing. With G.Rafics Inc. we are launching a new website that will make it easier to let everyone know what is going on at the library.
The other on going challenge we face is getting teens and boys into the library. Inevitably sometime in middle school the library and reading seems to become uncool. The challenge is to show teens that's not true. We have some pretty cool things here, including a Wii with Rockband.
By the time kids get to high school many have forgotten what its like to read for pleasure. It can be a real challenge to get them to want to read for fun. One of the ways we try to deal with that issue is by offering books that appeal to them and ordering the latest titles in a wide variety of genres. I am also trying to encourage reading for fun by having a teen book club in which the teens pick which books they want to read and discuss. I am also going to try a new teen volunteering activity in which teens read to children once a week after school. There is nothing quite like reading a children's picture book to help you remember how much fun reading is.Q. How is the library encouraging reading in the community, how do you encourage reading in children? A.
Story times are a great way to encourage reading. They are also a lot of fun and a great way to get children to socialize. Story times engage children in stories and help them to start enjoying books. We have story times for children ranging from 6 month olds to 5 year olds.
For other children we try very hard to have the books they want to read. There is no simpler way of encouraging reading then by having the books that people actually want to read. We also try to make these books easy to find with labels on the shelf and book bins. We have pulled out a lot of the major picture book tittles like Berenstein Bears and Clifford and put them in bins were they can easily be looked at and flipped though by children, which is awesome. We also try to help people find books that they might be interested in. For example if a kid tells me they only read books about baseball I will try to find them a book about baseball they might not have tried.
Another large aspect of encouraging reading in the community and youth is through reading programs. Every summer we have a children's reading program and a teen reading program. For both we offer prizes for the youths who read and keep up in the program. We also have crafts and activities to engage children even more in the library itself. Both programs are very successful and of course a lot of fun. This summer will be pretty awesome too; the theme is Be Creative @ Your Library. We recently wrapped up a family reading program as well. Families kept track of all the pages they had read over the six week time frame. We had tremendous results with 21 families turning in 86,528 pages. Our Assistant director Lynne also has reading programs for adults.Q. What was your favorite book as a child? A.
My favorite picture book growing up was The Color Kittens byMargaret Wise Brown
. My favorite chapter book was Catherine CalledBirdy by Karen Cushman
. I loved it so much I actually sent a letter
to the author asking her to make a sequel to it. She even wrote back
to me. Although, sadly, she said she wasn't making another one. Q. What type of books do you read in your spare time? Do you enjoy youth books as well as other fiction?A.
I enjoy reading a wide variety of things. I am currently readingDewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by VickiMyron
. I tend to stray towards mysteries and books with a sense of
humor. Any book that makes you laugh out loud is a good book in my
opinion. I also love to read picture books. I probably read more
picture books than I do adult books.Q. Do you have a favorite author/ genre/ book/ series?A.
I love the Stephanie Plum
series by Janet Evanovich
for adults. They are absolutely hilarious mysteries. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. For teens, I love Laurie Halse-Anderson
. She writes books that are thought provoking yet enjoyable. One of my favorite picture book authors is Judith Byron Schachner
who writes Skippyjon Jones
; a series of books about a Siamese cat who wants to be a Chihuahua dog and who possess an incredible imagination that is always getting him into trouble. They are really funny. Q. Is there any exciting news coming out of the Youth book world?A.
What I have been noticing here as far as trends in teen fiction has been the immense popularity of vampire books. It seems to have gotten started with the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
and just kept rolling.
What is also exciting in youth literature is that there are a number of really well written books that deal with tough issues middle schoolers and high schoolers face. Whether it is being overweight, a minority, depressed, or peer pressure; there is likely a book available in which the main character deals with one of these issues in a positive way. I think it is a very valuable way for youths to see an issue they might be dealing with play out. Q. Are there any promising series or authors coming out soon? A.
I think a promising new book is Math Doesn't Suck: How to SurviveMiddle School Math Without Losing you Mind or Breaking a Nail byDanica McKellar
. McKellar played Winnie on the Wonder Years
graduated Summa Cum Laude with a mathematics degree from UCLA. The
book's goal is to encourage middle school girls to excel in math and
to show them that math is relevant and accessible to them and not just
I am also a pretty big fan of the new children's picture book series
by Jan Thomas
. The first book is What Will Fat Cat Sit On
. The books
are very simple but funny read aloud with very simple and bright
pictures.Q. Is there any information you would like people to know about as a Youth Director? Any information that you feel is ignored when discussing Youth reading? A.
There is always this stereotype of what a library is and what a
librarian does. Many people believe that a library is a place only to
get books and get shhhhed by a librarian but that is definitely not
the case here. We (strive) to make the library a place for the
community to be proud of, to be a place the community enjoys coming
to. For kids and teens we want to make this a place where they can
not only find books, but also a place to hang out, feel safe, and even