Angela Dubinger has been the Children’s Services Consultant at the Indiana State Library for nearly a year. As some of you may already know, Angela will be leaving to pursue a new position in Madison County. The following is an excerpt from our conversation discussing her time at the State Library and what she looks forward to in the future.
RB: Your last day is coming up on February 12th, does it seem like the last year has flown by?
AD: Yeah, it really does! I have so many emails to go through, kit requests, consultations and training requests that are a big part of what I do. So, it really fills up a lot of time when you add a sometimes heavy training schedule and you are out three times a week. I remember in September I booked way too many trainings, and you can’t know the first few months that you work here. Then here comes October and Indiana Library Federation Conference presentations and having to get those ready, but it was such a busy season.
RB: What did you enjoy most about the job?
AD: I really like the travel and visiting other libraries. I appreciated the diversity in different communities, hearing about the different programs and meeting all the youth services librarians and other staff. I think that was the best part.
RB: You said that one of the things you missed about your previous position was working directly with children and teens one-on-one. Tell me more about that?
AD: Yeah, that is the part I missed the most. I definitely miss the kids and being able to talk with them about books they are reading, and the things they enjoy doing and their interests. I like to get inspired to do events for the community based on what they are interested in and what they are reading. It is very different from building and creating presentations for continuing education, which I like, but it’s not where my heart’s at. It is definitely with kids. But, I enjoyed supporting librarians and the state. I really loved helping them out.
RB: Tell me about what library you are going to be working at and some of the duties you will be performing.
AD: I am going to be the Youth Services Manager at Alexandria-Monroe Public Library in Madison County. I have a bit of a commute, so I am looking forward to listening to a lot of audio books. I’m in charge of services and programming for kids ages birth to 18-years-old, but there is a particular focus on teen services. There is another staff person there that does a lot of the story times and school-age programs, so I would do a lot of the teen programs.
RB: What attracts you to that environment?
AD: I love the teen literature. I love how intense teens are at that age and how passionate they are about things. Everyone is so unique, you can really see their unique personalities come out and how you influence how to serve the community and what fun things you can do for them – be it about music, literature, movies, etc.
RB: Would you say that programming and events at public libraries is more about creating something the public might not be aware of, or is it about creating programming and events based off of their known interests?
AD: I think it is a little bit of both because you are wanting to find out what they are interested in and maybe have them grow in something a little different, while connecting them with resources at the library. Maybe books and things they didn’t realize they wanted to learn about like computer coding. The library would be able to connect them with those resources and provide an opportunity for them to tinker around with that. It could be that way for any subject they are interested in. I would like for them to know that the library is a place for learning and growing, but very much about having things that they would like to do. In teen services it is very much about getting their buy-in and having them plan programs too, albeit through a teen library council, or a teen advisory board or group where they get to do something totally on their own too – of course with my supervision. It is about working with the teens, listening to them – and learning new teen slang! [Chuckling] Because I’m old!
RB: Tell me about that. I am pretty out of touch with teen slang because I haven’t been teaching for a while. You mentioned something the other day and I had no idea what you were talking about. What was it?
RB: Yeah, what is that?
AD: Shipping is a fan term that came out of X-files old fan internet groups. Basically, it is when you ‘ship’ someone – you use it as a verb – and you put two fictional characters in a relationship. So, it came out of wanting to put together Mulder and Scully. From there it has evolved into being big on Tumblr and it is big in Fan Fiction. It plays out a lot in fan fiction.
RB: I was always a fan of when Conan O’Brian used to do a mash-up photo of what it would look like if two celebrities had a baby.
AD: Conan O’Brian is hilarious.
RB: Do you have any advice for whoever the new person is that will be taking over your current position?
AD: I would encourage the incoming Children’s Services Consultant to keep a balance of library youth services trends, but also keep in mind the needs of the smallest libraries on a small budget. When in charge of continuing education, it’s really about hearing what libraries need on the frontlines as well as sharing the latest information. You definitely want to serve the libraries where they are but inspire them to other possibilities as well.
This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Communications Director Ryan Brown. For more information on the library, please Ask-A-Librarian.