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Tewksbury's New Teen Librarian Brings Experience, Passion To The Job

Sep 07, 2015 02:42PM ● By Bill Gilman

Tewksbury Teen Librarian Molly Collins.

Tewksbury residents have much to be proud of when it comes to their Public Library. A rich and diverse calendar of programming for adults and a vibrant Children's Library offer something for every member of the family.
For six years, budget constraints have forced the library to leave vacant the position of Teen Librarian. While some programs for teens have been offered with other library staffers trying to pick up the slack, the lack of a comprehensive teen strategy and a leader to execute that strategy has left a noticeable void.
That all changed this year when Teen Librarian was included as a line item in the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget approved by Town Meeting Voters in May. Over the summer, Library Director Diane Giarusso made it official when she hired Molly Collins to fill the position. Collins' first day on the job was Aug. 24 and she has no intention of easing into the position. Armed with a wealth of experience and seemingly limitless enthusiasm, Collins has hit the ground running and is taking an aggressive approach to building the Teen Library program.
"When I applied for the job, I had heard wonderful things about the Tewksbury Library," said Collins. "It was exciting, the idea of starting up a whole new teen program."
A native of Western New York, Collins has 17 years experience as a children's and teen librarian, including recent positions with the Malden Public Library and Burlington Public Library.
Collins' first challenge will be to re-ignite interest in the library among Tewksbury teens. And to do that, said Collins, her focus will be on listening.
"I want to find out what (Tewksbury teens) are looking for from their library. I'm putting together a teen advisory group that would meet monthly in the Community Meeting Room," Collins explained. "This isn't about me, it's about them and what they want. I want to let them know it's their library. I'm here to serve them."
Which is not to say Collins doesn't bring plenty of her own ideas to the table. She'd like to see several teen activity groups form at the library for such things as Lego robotics, video production, gaming, and Anime. She would also like to form a "Geek Club" to give teens a chance to gather and talk about their favorite sci-fi movies and shows like Star Wars, Supernatural, Dr. Who, etc.
In the early months, as she looks to gain interest for the Teen Advisory Group and various programs, Collins expects to be spending quality time at the Wynn Middle School and TMHS.
"Outreach will definitely be part of the strategy," she said. "The thing is, nothing embarrasses me when I'm talking to teenagers. I want to hear what they have to say."
The first meeting of the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) will be Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room on the first floor of the library.
Collins says she expects the Anime Club and Geek Club to me meeting, back-to-back, every other Saturday, but she is still working on times and a start date.

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