As head of adult reference, I primarily work with adults at the library. However, I am friends with the head of teen services, and the adult and teen departments share the same reference desk. These things allow me the opportunity to have some interaction with Greenwood’s teen population. Sometimes that is frustrating (like when I have to kick kids out for yelling, throwing things or running), but most of my interactions are rewarding. About once or twice a week I help a teen or two with a school assignment. I usually feel like a spokesperson for INSPIRE during those sessions. I also chaperone the occasional teen event or pitch in at events geared towards families.

Yesterday I was able to be a judge for the annual Teen Film Festival. This is the third year for the festival, and it keeps getting better and better. Many teenagers are visual learners. Working with video can be a creative release for many teens. The Teen Film Festival accepts video entries in any of the following categories: documentary, feature film, music video, and book trailer. Yesterday I was on a panel with seven other judges. We watched each entry and rated them on technical skills as well as their ability to pull together a plot. Many of these entries were amazing. The talent and creativity of the teens in our community is something to appreciate and feel proud of.

The head of Teen Services started this festival with hopes of providing a way to encourage teens in their efforts to learn new technology skills and express their creativity. She has succeeded in not only helping the teens, but bringing a community together around this shared goal. Three years into the project, there were entries from five schools. I was on a panel with community volunteers who are passionate about film and also other librarians from other library districts all discussing the merits and weaknesses of the various entries.

The big “reveal” on the winners of the terrific prizes will be Thursday night at 7pm at the Greenwood High School auditorium. Everyone who made an attempt is a winner in my heart. These kids have more video editing skills than I will probably ever have. Their ability to enter a contest and share their talent is also quite amazing, in my opinion. I am honored to have had a very small part in the process.