Originally from Poland, Feliciano is a graduate of the University of Silesia in Katowice. She came to Prescott Valley from Valley High School in Albuquerque, N.M., where she worked as the school’s librarian for 13 years. She and her husband, Juan, often visited family in Prescott Valley and liked the community, so when the position of teen librarian came open at the town, she applied and won the job.
The majority of today’s young adults are shifting into cyberspace – living and communicating online. Feliciano said. Keeping up with that shift requires her to stay abreast of new technology.
“Some librarians are no longer called librarians, they are ‘cybrarians,’” she said. “They are using computers, ebooks, web tools, and other activities in a digital format. Teens have a great need to be producers, not just consumers. We have to learn new tools to adapt to that.”
“Adapting” means that the Prescott Valley Library is much more than a building with a lot of shelves full of dusty tomes. One of the most exciting events to come along for local teens is the new, grant funded digital lab, where they will be able to learn and produce animations, book trailers (think digital book report), stories and videos for the web, and multi-media posters.
“There are a lot of fantastic tools the kids can learn to use, and it will help them outside the library,” Feliciano said. “Especially in high school, students will use the skills they learn at the library to advance at school.”
She is excited about the library’s new teen book club, which certainly is not “reading a book and sitting around talking about it.” Teens in the club will Skype with authors and members of other clubs, and meet local writers. They’ll create digital books reports and promote them on the town’s website.
“There are a variety of ways book clubs can work,” she said, adding that is the case for the entire library. “We have to shift our preconceived idea of what libraries are.”
The activities Feliciano promotes in the teen library have a central theme – they all point back to reading. It’s just reading in a different way.
“Children today are born into technology. We have to read a manual. They know it intuitively,” she said. “I like that aspect of my job the most. The teens are constantly forcing me to learn to stay on top of the curve. I learn from them all the time.”
Feliciano said she loves to be right in the middle of where the teens are.
“People sometimes have a strange idea that all teens are lost kids. There are a lot of good kids out there. We have to connect with them, and that’s the trick,” she said. “So far all the kids coming here are willing to participate, to organize and work to make this happen.”
With their lives so focused online, Feliciano said she also will work to educate teens about cyber bullying, online safety, and about how their online content can affect their lives and their futures.
She knows the library has become a “third place” for many students, who go from home to school and then to the library each day.
“A lot of them have no other place to go. This is their safe place to do homework, receive tutoring, do activities and socialize with friends,” she said. She is forming an advisory council to allow the teens to plan and organize their own activities.
Feliciano is at the library from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. The library is closed on Mondays. For more information on activities for teens, including book and art clubs, holiday activities, tutoring, and more, call her at 928-759-3042.