Saturday, March 17, 2007


"Victor," he asked. "what do adults do all day?"
"Work," Victor answered, "eat, shop, pay bills, use the phone, read newspapers, drink coffee, sleep."
Scipio sighted. "Not really very exciting," he muttered, resting his arms on the cold stone of the parapet.

Funke, Cornelia. The Thief Lord. Translated by Olvier Latsch. New York: Scholastic, 2002.

When I was about twelve years old, I went through a time of finding everything boring. Kid's games that I used to enjoy weren't fun anymore, but adult stuff was pretty boring, too. When I asked a friend, who was only two years older than me, what she did all day, she told me she did her schoolwork, read, played the guitar, checked her email, etc. Her list sounded about as boring to me as Victor's did to Scipio. When I was a teen, about the only thing that was constant was change.

I can remember pretty well what it was like to be a teen. That's something I really want to hold on to, being able to remember, even in just these generalities, some of the feelings and experiences I went through. At the same time, I've been realizing a lot lately -- and this is going to sound strange, but bear with me here -- that I'm not a teen anymore. You see, not much has changed since I was about 16 or so. Same home, same job, different schools, but only one semester since high school that I haven't been a full-time student. And that's one of the reasons I realized that I'm getting to be a "real" adult. I like to think I've matured some in the past eight years or so, but my interests have pretty much stayed the same. If my interests have been the same that long, I'm definitely not aware of what teenagers are interested in.

Thinking about that this week has made me realize how important it is to get teen input about teen services and collections. I started working at the library when I was sixteen, so sometimes the staff there would ask me for a teen's perspective...but I can't be that perspective anymore. I choose and read books I like with an adult's eye now. I still forget that sometimes (I've honestly been forgetting my age regularly ever since I was 19), but I'm going to try to remember the disparity between my point of view and a teen's.

1 comment:

Linda Braun said...

Did I ever mention that when I went to Simmons I was 24 and the professor who taught the YA lit class considered 24 as YA. It was a bit odd and made it really hard to move forward into the adult perspective.

Sounds to me like you are on the right track. Thinking about what teens today are interested in can be similar to your own interests or not. Thinking about what today's teens like to do might be similar to your own interests or not.

All it takes is being open to conversation to find out.