Wednesday, April 2, 2008

YA Librarians as YA Researchers (or Sorry, No PARTY GIRL* Here)

Tip of the Day: Don't turn on the TV if you want to get any writing done and it's American Idol season. Is that show ever not on? And why do I get sucked in?

As a YA Librarian, I am now part undercover spy. Because my work badge clearly states my reign over the Teen Area, I can hang out there straightening/rearranging/observing the YA shelves -- and those who hang out there -- withhout raising suspicion. Heh heh heh..... ;)

Yes, in the afternoon and evening hours, the teen tables are full, the PCs are clicking away, and the teens are talking. What are they saying? Honestly, I'm not sure. That either means (1) I suck at being an undercover spy, or (2) what they're saying isn't as important as how they're saying it. How they're interacting. What they're wearing. All great details to use in my YA novels!

What I also like to observe are the books that draw the teens' attention, especially on the new shelf or my display shelves. I do stop myself from pulling out my notebook and jumping in front of their faces, firing, "What made you pick up that book? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? Would you read my book if it was on this shelf?" -- because I know that despite the age I appear on my badge (approx. 14), I am an adult (sigh) and I don't want to scare them out of my beloved Teen Area!

(This is my Teen Area. I'm working on making it snazzier! Can you say cool coffee table, fab area rug, and lounge chairs that are too uncomfortable for adults? :))

What have I learned so far? Teens like:

-series, like Gossip Girls, The A List, The Clique, etc, with no abandon

-new books, face out

-manga and graphic novels

-gaming on the Teen Area PCs

-cell phones

-humor, adventure, and animal stories if you can recommend a good one

I think my novel on submission now is definitely an adventure. Maybe that means I have hope with the teens in my library!

Those of you without teens at home, how do you observe what books they are drawn to in real life? Do you tailor your writing ever to resemble these books?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped

*Apparently PARTY GIRL is THE Parker Posie movie to see before you are officially initiated into the world of Public Librarianship.

It was very not good, but not as much as doing your taxes, so if you do them at the same time, it all works out.


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Oh, Deena, I LOVE the movie Party Girl! It's a hoot! You have to take it all tongue-in-cheek. But it is way cool that you get to do serious market research while you work. Hey...and what a great cover--14-year-old librarian!

Enjoy the prowl! And good luck with your submissions!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Okay, would you STOP making us all envious of the best job in the whole freaking UNIVERSE??? Do you have to like pinch yourself every day, that you are really there, doing that fun work, and getting paid for it? WOW!!!

I hope you keep sharing what you learn there. I love hearing what teens like!

Emily Marshall said...

I love Party Girl, too. And I think the teens at my library are pretty similar in their likes. Ours love MySpace as well (way too much), and love to hang out at the library, since there's no where else to hang out in the small town I work in.

Rhonda Helms said...

ROFL--awesome post...but seriously, thanks for the tips on what they're diggin', yo!!

DeenaML said...

Today I just had a fun chat with a Page (18) and a patron (13). Both are boys and reading books for adults! Non-fic and Crichton. It is hard to capture them in my YA area except for the graphic novels.

Kristina Springer said...

Thanks for the info!! Your job looks like so much fun!! :-)