An Interview with James McClanahan: Teen Program Coordinator
James easily connects with students in the teen section of the library with his fun, commanding personality.
In fact, James worked in the YA department when I was a teenager, and he has only become more friendly and welcoming since I sat amongst those same shelves.
James’ View on Social Media
There are opportunities for teens to connect with the library through social media, specifically with emailing in book reviews for the blog that has just been updated, now running through WordPress, as well as through the library’s teen Facebook page.
However, James has some qualms about the effectiveness of social media with his core group of students downtown.
James thinks it’s difficult to promote Facebook; he said,
“What do we (the library) have to offer them [on Facebook]?”
According to James, the library is unaware of how to utilize social media efficiently.
He explained, “The library does not have the right mindset.”
James also discussed his efforts in trying to put up events on the YA blog, but administrators rejected this proposal, as they wanted to keep it an exclusive place for book reviews.
This is why his fun videos like this sit on an outdated Flickr account, unnoticed.
Events are probably the most important aspect of the teen area, apart from the daily socialization and homework time.
James believes that “face-to-face time” is more important than a social media presence right now.
“Interactivity is key,” he explained, but in reference to personal relationships.
Where’s Twitter, again?
The YA Department does not have access to NPL’s Twitter account, referenced in Part I, nor does it have its own Twitter. According to James, the YA department can submit tweets the administration of @NowatNPL, but they have to be approved.
Regardless, the process is a little too lengthy to the average tweeter.
“If there was some magical formula, we’d use it…”
James asserted, “If there was some magical formula, we’d use it.”
The issue, though, is that there isn’t; however, James realizes that they could take advantage of this extra communication. However, the YA department would have to consider functionality.
“Facebook [and] texting are big,” James explained, expressing interest in setting up text updates for events in the YA department.
He also hopes to set “Teen Web” as the homepage for the public computers in the department.
After past educational programs flopped, the YA department focuses mostly on fun social programs and events to create a sense of community.
However, since the teens are physically there every weekday, James questions the functionality of social media.
Part IV will give us perhaps the most important point of view– the teen patrons of the YA department!