Talking to Teens in the LibraryPosted: April 12, 2012
Tonight, I walked up to 2 teens that were working on a project in the library. It was surprisingly easy to do. I guess I have a natural ability to talk to strangers, but I didn’t know how the teens would react to my presence.
I sauntered over and started by asking what they were working on. That’s usually a good introduction and you can expand on the conversation from there. Luckily, these teens weren’t shy and they wanted to talk about how their teacher gave this assignment on spring break, and how it was due yesterday but they got an extension, and how boring it was, and then, OH! my dad’s house just burned down but that’s okay because all my stuff is gonna get replaced and I got to stay in a hotel with a pool and I thought my library book was in the fire, but it wasn’t, it was in my locker… and you get the idea.
Once they started, they didn’t want to stop! Great! They liked me enough to talk to me about all kinds of things. I think it has something to do with they way I look and how old I may seem, like I’m a college student. The biggest clue that they were comfortable with me was telling me that they thoughts their assignment was boring. Once they said that, I was in. I wasn’t an Authority Figure in their eyes. I was a relatable person who could empathize with their situation. Yes, girls. Homework can be totally boring, don’t I know it.
I also was able to steer the conversation towards books. I asked if they read The Hunger Games because who hasn’t yet? They actually hadn’t read them but want to. I suggested a different series called the Uglies by Scott Wersterfeld which piqued their interest. Later on, I swooped by YA and took a copy of the first book off the shelf, giving it to the one teen who was still hanging around. What a great way to get books directly into teens’ hands!
This gives me the courage to approach more teenagers when I see them in the library.