Beverly Talanian has contributed more than 2,300 hours of volunteer service as the unofficial librarian at the Joplin Youth Center since October 2005. The Joplin Youth Center is a juvenile correctional facility that provides residential treatment for teenage boys ages 13 to 15. Boys sent to Joplin typically have 30 to 90 days remaining on their juvenile court commitments.
Each Tuesday, Beverly spends most of the day overseeing library services for approximately 60 youth. She assists the boys in selecting books appropriate for their reading level and takes every opportunity to open their world to more challenging forms of literature. In addition, Beverly reviews book reports submitted by the teens and works closely with those who are struggling to complete an assignment, encouraging them along the way and recognizing their efforts. She serves as a liaison with school staff and has been instrumental in making sure that students are properly credited for the work they complete towards high school graduation.
Beverly has made the Joplin Youth Center’s library a reality by filling a void created by budget cuts. Funding is not always available to keep the library fully stocked, and Beverly has often purchased books at her own expense. In addition, she takes time to research publications that will further enhance the teens’ library experience and makes recommendations to Joplin’s administration for new purchases.
Due to Beverly’s diligence, the center offers teens a quality library program that enriches their lives, opens their world to new possibilities and helps prepare them for future academic endeavors.