Nerdy Reference Librarian
Hello! My name is Jake Ciarapica. I am a lifelong nerd, avid gamer, and enthusiastic cat dad. I have been a public librarian in Maryland for over 8 years, during that time, I have worked as a children’s librarian, focusing on serving families with disabilities, as a teen librarian, and now as a generalist leading my branch’s teen team. I have co-chaired the Maryland Library Association’s Teen Interest Group and served on many county-wide planning committees for programs like Comic-Con, Teen Video Contests, and a rework of my system’s storytime model.
I have discovered a great passion for leading training and workshops. I have presented at the county, state, and national levels; including the Maryland Library Association’s conference over 6 times, and an Anime workshop at the 2022 Young Adult Library Services Association conference. My training style is interactive and engaging.
In 2016, I was named a Champion for Youth of Harford County, for working on making the library more accessible. In 2017 I received a Roenna Fahrney Award from Harford County Libraries for my work creating, “outstanding and popular programs and services for a young adult audience.” For 2023 I was selected for the Maryland Library Association’s Margaret Carty Emerging Leader Award.
I was recently featured on the American Library Association’s Gamer RoundTable https://games.ala.org/follow-up-librarians-report-dungeons-dragons-in-the-library/
I would love to share my knowledge about gaming, anime, and accessibility with you!
Below you will find the various training and workshops Jake offers. Jake is also able to do presentations revolving around teen services, gaming, anime, or disability services, tailored to your specific needs.
Anime Boot Camp
Anime Boot Camp is a two or three-hour workshop, presented by Jake and a co-presenter, focusing on all things anime and teens. During the workshop, they cover anime/manga basics, such as what it is, sales and publisher numbers, why it’s popular, anime genres, and ways to get into anime. They also discuss anime programming in the library, sharing ways to improve your library anime club and other passive or active programs that can engage your teen anime fans.
The three-hour version of the workshop allows the presenters to provide more interactive examples of anime activities, as well as more time to cover things like age ratings, building or refreshing your manga collection, and more!
This program was presented at the 2022 MLA Library Association Conference, where it was the top-rated presentation of the year. It was also presented at the 2022 Young Adult Library Services Association symposium, where it received high praise, such as:
My coworker and I already are planning an anime-themed game night, and we’re going to use many of the ideas from the boot camp! So thrilled to be becoming better versed in the forms that are so tremendously popular in my community (and popular across a huge diversity of teens, which is what I’m most excited about — I think it’s going to be a way to better engage with almost EVERYONE, including folks who aren’t currently using the library!!).
Incredibly informative program from experts in the field. Would love to hear them speak again.
I really enjoyed the breakdown of anime information in this program. As someone with no real understanding, it was presented in an easy and accessible way.-Post Conference Feedback Forms
This training can be presented virtually or in person.
Dungeons and Dragons in the Library
A two-hour workshop focused on incorporating the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons into your library programming. Jake has over 20 years of experience running D&D games, and 8 years of experience running D&D in the library.
This workshop is split roughly into two parts. The first part covers what D&D is, the basics of the rules and terminology, as well as the many benefits of the game. The second part then emphasizes the library side of D&D, sharing different models for library D&D, how library D&D is different from regular D&D, and ways that even librarians lacking D&D experience can run their own programs.
This program was presented virtually at the 2020 Maryland Library Association conference. Feedback included:
This is the first D&D training that actually made me feel I could run a D&D program.
I am so glad I attended this training, I might actually give D&D in the library a try now.-Anonymous Feedback Via post training feedback form
This workshop can be presented virtually or in person
Jake also offers DM-specific training and DM for Hire services, check out his Dungeons and Dragons Resources section.
Welcoming Families with Disabilities to the Library
In this two or three-hour presentation, Jake shares the experiences of families with disabilities using the library and covers ways libraries can help improve inclusivity and accessibility. Jake draws on 5 years of professional experience as a special needs life skills trainer and the personal experience of having five siblings with various disabilities.
During this training, Jake will share personal stories, videos, data, and activities to try to help build empathy and understanding in staff. In addition, he will cover common behaviors for youth with disabilities, and ways library staff can help guide them in their library experiences. Jake will discuss depiction in literature, sharing tips and tricks for identifying good representation. He will also share ways we can make library programming more inclusive. Finally, this presentation will cover various activities that libraries can do to help families feel welcome in the library, including Sensory Storytime, Teen Sensory Social, After Hours Programs, and more.
The three-hour version of this workshop allows more time for discussion and sharing, more interactive activities, such as an example craft, and sharing some videos covering topics important to the community. The two-hour version is still engaging and informative but needs to condense its information more, leaving less time for discussion, sharing, and activities.
Jake has presented different versions of this workshop over 12 times, including at the Maryland Library Association conference in 2017 and for selected library systems in 2018 and 2019. Participant feedback includes:
Thank you to Jake for sharing his family’s story, and his insight into libraries. I left with several ideas on how to better serve our community in the library.
Jake’s presentation is filled with so many tips and tricks, which are assisted by a wealth of personal stories and activities. This is a great presentation!
This workshop can be presented virtually or in person