Your Poulsbo branch library is powered by teens | At Your Library

From left, Darby Lowney, Ali Raphael and Laura Christman show off their favorite books.                     - Contributed
From left, Darby Lowney, Ali Raphael and Laura Christman show off their favorite books.
— image credit: Contributed


“I was scared to death,” Ali Raphael, 18, admitted.

“Talking in front of a room packed with people is not something I’m comfortable with. I did it because I had to talk about a title that I love, love, loved! It was, ‘My Life Next Door,’ by Huntley Fitzpatrick. What girl can’t relate to that? We all want the boy next door and not some bald fat guy!”

Ali is a teen volunteer at the Poulsbo Branch Library. She, Darby Lowney, 16, and Laura Christman, 17, were selected to participate in the Best Fiction for Young Adults session during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in January. Lynn Stone, reference/teen services librarian, had seen the announcement in a library journal and approached each of the teens with the opportunity.

Lynn knew that Ali, Darby, and Laura — each a library volunteer — were big readers and would thrive on a professional conference experience.

They each took turns with other selected teens from across the country to express their opinions on the 200 books nominated for the 2013 list.Professional librarians with laptops flipped open and publishers packed the room to standing room only to hear what the teens had to say.

Darby felt honored to be able to have some kind of influence on the literature being published for teens. She wanted to let publishers know “what WE want.”

Laura said she was excited to be a part of a forum where professionals actually “listened to me.”

She also wanted publishers to know that teens like her want to see new young adult titles with substance.

By the end of the conference, the 200 nominated titles had been reduced to 102. So, who cares? Teachers, librarians, publishers, and teens do. The 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults List is used to guide the purchasing decisions in schools and libraries across the country. (A Top 10 list accompanies this column.) Teen book groups in the Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard branch libraries are also participating in selecting titles for a Teens’ Top Ten Award, or TTT for short. These teens are reading the 28 nominees and will vote on their favorites later this summer.

TAB: What is it? It’s a Teen Advisory Board. Teen volunteers meet each month with Jennifer Lu’Becke, library assistant, to talk about teen programs, library outreach, and service opportunities.

TAB members helped to design the new Dragon’s Den Teen Space and develop a range of programs for teens in our community.  They’re behind our anime club, The Kawaii Otakus. They’re behind our Teen Screen Reads series, with book-to-film discussions and viewings.

TAB members have an exclusive volunteer gig with the Poulsbo Friends of the Library, the good people that host book sales to raise money for the library. Members of Friends can’t say enough good things about the teen volunteers who show up on time and ready to work. They have, in fact, come to depend on this local teen energy.

Is that all that TAB members are up to? No, there is so much more, including film making.

Elinor Krafsky, 15, wrote a screenplay for TAB members to act and film onsite at the library, called “The Mystery of the Shredded Books,” in 2012. They all had such a great time they decided to try it again. This time they focused on a 90-second promotion for our teen summer reading program. The clip features TAB members Alex Koch, 17, Declan Krafsky, 13, and Hanna, 13. (Hanna doesn’t give her last name in the film’s credits.)

Elinor worked with her father to find a professional camera for this year’s project, and a generous photographer named Debbie came along with it. Elinor negotiated with Poulsbo Cinema and received permission to film on site at the theater on a Sunday morning. Charlie Wise, library associate, did the narration and TAB member, Chloe Fox-Hughes, 17, did the final editing.  Check out our “Summer Reading for Teens” page on to see their film clip under the link, “Avoid Boredom and Toilets.”

Elinor and Chloe say one of the things they like best about being a TAB member is seeing other teens enjoy something they helped plan or create. Elinor loves to be able to say, “I helped make that happen!”

Chloe invites all teens out there to start coming to Teen Screen Reads because “It’s a great way to see some really great films with awesome people. You can discuss how the film relates to the book, and maybe let out some pent-up frustration because you don’t like the way they adapted it.”

Kristy Correll, 18, likes to contribute ideas on what programs the library should do next. Anime Club and last summer’s Evening in Paris have been her favorites. She likes to get together with other anime obsessed friends to watch anime films, have conversations and draw. Kristy has a gift for drawing. The thing she liked best about Evening in Paris: “The French ice cream was really good.”

Live teens are making a difference in the Poulsbo branch and branches throughout Kitsap Regional Library. If you are a teen, age 13 to 18, and want to join TAB, Anime Club, or Teen Screen Reads, or volunteer to be a Reading Buddy or Lego Engineering Consultant, then drop in, call or email us: (360) 779-2915,  We’ll get you set up.

Teen Power goes a long way in this library.

— Sharon S. Lee is manager of the Poulsbo branch library. Contact her at

Young Adult fiction top 10
— “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jess Andrews
— “The Diviners,” by Libba Bray
— “Seraphina,” by Rachel Hartman
— “Enchanted,” by Alethea Kontis
— “Every Day,” by David Levithan
— “Never Fall Down,” by Patricia McCormick 
— “Boy 21,” by Matthew Quick
— “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
— “The Raven Boys,” by Maggie Stiefvater
— “Code Name Verity,” by Elizabeth Wein


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