Reinventing Your Teen Department (Riverton Branch Library, Fremont County Library System, Wyoming):
- If you're able to, move shelves and furniture around - freshens things up
- Don't have enough shelving? Try putting manga, magazines, AV, etc, on carts - they're mobile and flexible.
- Social networking - give teens in your community a survey to find out what they're using and why. MySpace? Facebook? Are they only texting on mobile devices, or are they accessing the Internet?
- Also survey teens about tech use, favorite websites and games, what gaming system they use, whether they have computer/Internet access at home (see link at bottom for conference handouts, including sample survey)
- If you add programs, services, equipment to teen area, prepare staff for possible increased foot traffic, noise, questions, etc. Train staff about teen basics.
- Gaming - Riverton found that Wii not so popular with teens (more for kids and adults). Most popular systems are Xbox and Playstation 3.
- If you offer games, be sure to have a clearly stated gaming philosophy/principle that you can articulate to staff, patrons, donors, admin, parents.
- Some popular programs - make a zine; decorate canvas grocery bags;button-making; banned books bingo
Seeing as how LAPL is going to go through a heck of a lot of change in the next months and years, I was eager to hear real-life examples at this program. Alas, there was mostly generalizations along the lines of:
- Accept that staff will feel anger and grief at first
- Make sure staff feels able to make suggestions and give feedback
- There will be an uncomfortable, chaotic time - "the wilderness" (yikes!)
- Find the folks in your organization who are managing to make the changes work - figure out (ask them!) what they're doing and how it works; find the patterns; then use as a model for the rest of the staff
- When you need folks to change their behavior - clarify measurable results, find the vital behaviors that will bring these about, and then figure out how to influence and motivate people to do these behaviors
- There are personal, social, and structural reasons for both motivation and ability to do something - many factors may be involved
This was an awesome program, presented by Maryann Mori, director of the Waukee Public Library in Iowa. She was also the instructor of a great ALSC online course on Information Literacy for kids and teens that I just took.
- Great way for YA and children's librarians to collaborate; YA librarians can do the footwork, make the connections, make presentations on services for teens, and children's librarians can do early literacy storytimes
- These teens need education help, job info, entertainment, parenting skills, referral services, and someone to trust
- Pregnant teens aren't even old enough to get their own library card - their parents must sign! Yet many have been kicked out of the house
- They often haven't been successful in school and don't like to read
- They can be wary and immature
- Every Child Ready to Read storytimes are just right for parenting teens
- Try a 4 session workshop (1 or 2 really isn't enough for the message to sink in). 1 - Intro; ECRR; stats about importance of reading to kids. 2 - Books for kids; choosing books; print motivation. 3 - Phonics awareness; vocabulary. 4 - Review; reading memories; encouragement
- Why do it? It works; parents' attitudes about education improve; results in more reading for both generations; positively affects dropout rates; skills learned assist in other areas; improvements in parents' behavior; babies become kids with above-average reading levels
- Makes clear to teens that the library has many resources for them - they are more likely to continue using the library (and will bring their babies!)
- Before you get started, figure out - Who will do the presentations? Who will the audience be - moms alone? Moms and babies? Moms, dads, and babies? Who will you collaborate with? What kind of presentation? Will you lend books to organization? Will the presentations be at the library or the organization? How often will you give presentation?
- It's great to have babies present - they can be distracting but are perfect examples of how great reading is for babies. They react perfectly on cue to books and songs!
- Little, Brown, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Bloomsbury talked up some upcoming books for kids and teens
- Can't wait for Grace Lin's Ling and Ting, Jane Yolen's Foiled (graphic novel!), Mark Haddon's Boom, and so much more!
- I am desperate to have a Book Buzz at our children's and YA librarians' info meetings - how cool would that be! Library marketing people - would you like to come to L.A.?
Handouts from many of the programs are available at the PLA website.