Monday, November 18, 2013

Teen Space

So here's the deal. I work in a youth room, so we have birth to seventeen materials on one floor (and it's not a very big floor). On the right side of the room we have children's, there are picture books, toys, puzzles, a large carpet for them the play on, and the little baby tables (you know what I'm talking about). In the middle of the room we have the circulation desk and five computers, and on the left side of the room has all of the juvenile books, non-fiction books, and one row of YA materials. Needless to say I've been a little obsessive with growing and updating the collection. In the middle of the four shelves that house these items there are three tables and some chairs. Where these tables and chairs are currently positioned, we have 0% visibility, none of the kids in that area can be seen from the circ. desk. I want to change absolutely everything. Well, rearrange it anyway. I want to shift the shelving units so that the sitting space that we have in the middle of our non-fiction section, will be where we have our YA books. I then want to add three study desk to the teen area, so that the study desks, the row of YA material, and the wall will create a teen corner.

I think it' so important to have a dedicated space that can appeal to the teens who are frequent library users, and the teens who are looking for a safe place to go after school. I think that it's so easy to overlook teen needs in library space, because they're such a hard demographic to reach out to, but when I read the YALSA Teen Space Guidelines it stated "Libraries are vital to today’s teens in order for them to achieve a successful transition from childhood to adulthood. They offer the resources and the environment that foster positive intellectual, emotional and social development of tomorrow’s adults. All of these factors contribute to the need for distinct teen spaces, both in-library and virtually." I couldn't agree more, I've sat and watched as seventeen year old's, twelve year old's, and five years old's, share seating space and study space, and it just doesn't work. Teens are on a very different level that tweens a children developmentally so we need to work to accommodate those developmental differences. My library isn't in a position where we can build on attachments, or add another floor so we have to do what we can with what space we have.

Creating a small teen corner may not solve all of our spacing issues, but I think it would be a great start.

Here are a few articles that I found while reading about teen space
 The Need for Teen Space in Public Libraries
YALSA Teen Space Guidelines 
Speaking up for Library Service to Teens 


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