Covid Chronicles from Woodland’s Teen Librarian

Plans before COVID-19. The last thing we were able to do (thankfully) was the SAT Prep Camp, which the SAT scores won’t even matter anymore (so not thankfully but also thankfully, lol this was a point of contention with some of my TAB teens).
I’m still going to plan for TAB graduation celebration because I have over 10 graduating seniors that deserve to be recognized! Aside from our virtual Shout Outs and Grad Video, I’m wondering if I can have them still come to the library and stand 6 feet apart in the library’s Rose Garden, for a short socially distant ceremony… Probably not feasible but a nice thought!

Our library staff and TAB group are all big on bullet journaling, everyone from our director to the TAB members own bullet journals. However, I must admit that once the pandemic hit, I have rarely used my bullet journal. I am actually a big writer (a librarian that likes to read and write!?) so I’m kind of shocked at myself for not writing as much, especially since it has always been therapeutic and a productive activity for organizing my life (GSD).

I even encourage (force) my own two teen sons to write in their journals for at least 15 minutes a day, and have encouraged my TAB teens to journal for stress relief. But honestly, I think the real reason I’ve been avoiding journaling (besides my horrendous handwriting) is that it’s kind of depressing to see all the things we had planned for the Library and the Teen Advisory Board.

I mean look at all those annual events that we’ve put on in previous years and excitedly planned for…. Which just makes me really feel for my graduating seniors and all the activities they will miss out on. Yes, I know that grandpa had to leave for WWII right out of high school when he was a teen (much respect), but that doesn’t take away from the sadness and disappointment from our current students.

Like many librarians, whose libraries have shut down due to #covid19, I have moved all my programming to online platforms like Zoom, Instagram and Facebook. Our TAB members have been meeting every Wednesday and we even joined forces with our neighboring TAB group at Solano County Library to talk and brainstorm ideas to engage teens online. Yet, nothing beats being able to hang out with your friends, peers, teachers, and library folks in person. These online meetings are really only the next best thing.

Sometimes, our meetings are lively and fun, other times we discuss how anxious and stressed we are feeling. We still have AP tests and finals to study for, in between bouts of boredom and getting lost in the latest Manga series. It’s been nice to see each other face to face, and for the most part we have had a consistent attendance and everyone has joined at least one meeting (there are 30 TAB members). While the plans we had before Covid have been cancelled, we are learning to adapt.

We can still have that game night, talent show, graduation celebration, and Summer Reading Program through virtual and socially distant means. Keep up to date with our plans on IG @WoodlandPublicLibrary or Facebook (for the parentals). As we move to slowly and partially reopen the library (no official date on that yet) our teens are resilient and want to share this message with the world:

-Rhea Gardner

Teen Services Librarian for Woodland Public Library

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