An Interview with Youth Librarian Extraordinaire, 

Annmarie (Mimi) Curtis


Mimi, you do great programs with tweens and teens. Can you tell us about one of your favorites?  

Vampire Kisses

One of my favorites, and it’s timely given this summer’s

Collaborative Library Summer Program theme, was Goth 101 for teens.

The goth subculture became pretty popular with books like The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber and The Ghost and the Goth series by Stacey Kade, but I think there are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about the culture. So, I came up with a quiz about gothic fashion and music based on the book Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters, and also had a kind of goth dress-up session where kids got to play with makeup and clothes and create their own goth look. 

I even taught them some goth dance moves and played goth music like Joy Division. It was a lot of fun, and it was cool to see kids who came in (that initially bought into the stereotype) go away with a better understanding of the subculture and realize that not all goth people are depressed and gloomy. It’s really just about fashion and music. 

Do you have suggestions for folks that would like to do their own goth program? 
Mimi 1Know the subculture! I’ve seen a lot of people that confuse goth with steampunk, or just punk in general. While those are all very similar, goth has its own unique flair and is not steampunk or punk.
Also, knowing the culture will help you to avoid stereotypes, and I think that’s true of any program that you want to do. If you’re not familiar with the culture, read up on it, find out what it’s all about. Also, don’t be afraid to have fun with it. One of the great things about the goth subculture is that it does have a flair for the dramatic. So, it’s fun.


How did you promote this program? 
I work for a rather large library system. So, we promote a lot of our programs on our website, Facebook, and through our own newsletter. 

I was contacted by a lot of parents that were concerned about some of the gothic stereotypes, but I assured them that this was a program about music and fashion and nothing else, and that definitely helped.

What are some books that you’d recommend for this theme? 


Emily StrangeIf you’re building a bibliography for the theme or want to have your participants do some reading beforehand, I’d recommend definitely the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber and the Emily the Strange series by Rob Reger. 
Those are some of 

Gothic Charm School

my favorites. If you’re researching how to present the program, I’d definitely recommend Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters as well as What is Goth by


What is Goth by Voltaire has a really fun section on Goth dance moves. Study up on them, throw on some Cure (or my favorite, Malice Mizer– a band from Japan), and 
What is Gothdance!
Some of the moves are really silly. So, ham it up. My teens had a great time with this, especially when they saw that I was being just as goofy as they were.

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