As teens enter the E.D. Locke Public Library, Abby Seymour, the new teen services librarian, will be smiling at them from the young adult section.
Seymour started her new position Aug. 12 to assist with programming and activities geared toward middle school and high school-aged teens. She also oversees the teen advisory board. At their monthly meetings, teens discuss library programming, literature trends and how they want to use the library.
“I love all the aspects to the library, but I would say definitely my passion is that teen group,” she said.
Seymour grew up across the street from the La Crosse Public Library. Being so close, she said she spent lots of time reading in the library and volunteered in her teen years.
As she entered college at UW-Eau Claire, she knew she wanted to work with libraries.
“At a certain point, it just seemed like the right thing to do, because I was so familiar and I loved it so much,” she said.
The university only offered library science as a minor, so she used her major in German to study abroad and her minor in library science to pursue her career. She took courses on cataloguing, programming, technology services and collection development. When she walked across the stage to receive her diploma in 2016, she already had her first job lined up.
Seymour was the teen services librarian for the Menomonie and Altoona public libraries in the Eau Claire area for three years before coming to McFarland. She enjoyed her jobs but found it challenging to juggle two part-time jobs simultaneously.
Seymour has family and friends in the Madison area, so finding a job in the location has always been a goal of hers.
“Fate just kind of really worked in my favor that I was able to live in the area and that I was offered that full-time job,” she said.
She is excited to be part of an established teen program at a library teens can easily walk to from school.
“I’m lucky enough that I’m coming into a program that has been started,” Seymour said. “There has been programs for teens before, but the teens have always said that they wanted more.”
She wants to help give teens greater access to the library by being a familiar face and running monthly programs.
On Friday, Sept. 27, the library is hosting a candy sushi event. Teens will make and eat sushi created from candy and Rice Krispies. October brings the annual Nerf capture the flag event with the McFarland Police Department.
“It’s not homework. It’s not school. They can just kind of relax and be a kid,” she said.
Library programs must compete with school, homework, extracurriculars and leisure time.
“It’s a challenge to get them to the library, but then when it happens, it’s really rewarding,” she said.
Seymour loves working with this age group because the teens keep you on your toes, she said. The passion that teens have is what makes her job so rewarding, whether that is about a TV show, a game or reading.
“And I get to see that sometimes right up close and it’s about books usually,” she said. “I love it when they show their passions about books.”