Friday, January 29, 2010

If teens won't come to the library...

...then the library must go to the teens.

Re: The Kaiser Family Foundation's Generation M2 report - Rather than collapse in horror and dismay at the knowledge that kids ages 8 and up are spending only 38 minutes a day reading print compared to 4 1/2 hours watching TV and 1 1/2 hours using the computer, let's think about this.

Okay, TV is definitely The Enemy. Parents need to take TVs out of their kids' bedrooms and make sure that TVs aren't yapping away in the background all day and night. 4 1/2 hours a day, 7 days a week, is too much TV. Period.

But computers, now. Yes, kids watch television shows on their computers, as well as YouTube and much more. But they mostly do social networking, and the older they get, the more they do it. And that's good news for librarians. Not only can we use content-creating and sharing apps with kids who come into our libraries, but we can share information about our services - and books! - with kids who never step foot in our buildings. I want every student in Los Angeles to know about and use our free online Live Homework Help, even if they only come to the library once in order to get a library card (needed in order to have access to the program from home). I want teens to see library-created videos of other teens in their community booktalking or acting out their favorite books. We can reach them through Facebook, YouTube, and other sites.

(Email? Not so much. My own teen daughters rarely use email, relying solely on Facebook and cellphone texts to communicate and receive updates.)

It would be too easy to give up on teen non-readers altogether and just concentrate on those eager library teens. That would be a mistake. To win the hearts and minds of non-readers, especially those who don't come into our libraries at all, let's reach them where they live - online.

1 comment:

  1. My teen and college aged kid hardly ever even talk on the phone. Facebook and texts are it. I finally got a Facebooks to keep up with them :)