When We Were Teens…

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When We Were Teens…

In celebration of Teen Read Week, running October 9-15, we thought we’d ask some of our Collection Development librarians and professionals to share their special memories of the books and reading habits that carried them through their teenage years.

Q: Can you describe your library experience from when you were a teenager?

Paul Duckworth: I found myself at the age of 15 in a small, rural town in Missouri, with no public library. It felt as if I were dehydrated in a sense and that there was no water to drink. Having my dad drive me to the nearest library, about 20 miles away, was a big treat.

Q: What is one special memory you have of reading during your teenage years?

Becky Roupp: Reading Kate Chopin for the first time, she made me fall in love with the New Orleans area. I loved that she wrote at a time it wasn’t thought proper to be a female writer.

Katharine Kan: Meeting another girl who liked sci-fi. We were standing in line for our PE class, and she had a Robert Heinlein novel; I was behind her, so I leaned over and asked if the book was good. We bonded at that moment and became best friends.

Q: Was there a key friend or mentor who had a significant positive impact on your reading life as a teen?

Gwen Vanderhage: My high school English teacher, who taught British literature, was my all-time favorite teacher. I would not have read so many classic novels off-assignment if Mr. Dolmatz hadn’t made them sound so wonderful and taught me historical perspective and critical thinking.

Katharine Kan: My friend in high school – her name is Ruth. We shared the books we were reading, she recommended so many authors and books to me – especially Anne McCaffrey and Georgette Heyer. We also wrote Star Trek fanfic together, and turned our story into our senior English project.

Suzanne Hawley: A very smart boy with whom I had been friendly since pre-school would tell me what he was reading and it was always a challenge for me to read it as well and discuss it with him. He introduced me to many titles I may never have found on my own.

Q: What do you think of today’s teens and their current reading habits?

Becky Roupp: I love to see the number of teens reading today, and new great YA titles are so plentiful now. There are so many adults reading YA.

Gwen Vanderhage: Teens are really passionate about the authors and series they love; they talk about them online, write fan-fic, and line up to buy their new titles. We didn’t have that kind of passionate book culture of our own when I was a teen.

Whatever memories you have of sitting in a library or dipping into another world beneath your favorite tree at the local park, delight in this as you pass on that same joy to teenage readers.



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