Book Discussion at a Teen Library (public library)

Octavia Fellin Public Library, Navajo Nation

In Navajo Nation, a group of Native American teens, between 13 and 18 years old, gathered once a week and discussed books together, including Thirteen Reasons Why and Romeo and Juliet: The Graphic Novel. Because the books entail quite heavy and sensitive topics (such as mental illness, suicide and sexual violence), Anne Price, youth services manager at Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, NM, endeavored to create an environment in which her teen patrons could feel safe and share candidly. Ms. Price viewed the Ten Questions for Young Changemakers Framework as instrumental in helping teens stay focused on the discussion and articulate their thoughts.

Given the nature of the discussed topics, #2 How much should I share? turned out to be the most important one. The teens also found the questions pertaining to crowds––#6 How can we get wisdom from crowds? and #7 How can we handle the downside of crowds?––puzzling. They were glad that they had other friends who were going through the same struggles and sought comfort from sharing in confidence, but they did not want their circle to be open to the public. Although the discussion group had yet to aim for social transformation in a greater context, from Ms. Price’s point of view, their opening up was already transformational for those teens.