Presented as part of the 2016 Abilene Public Library's Annual Children's Workshop in Abilene, Texas. Discusses Teens in the Library, Developmental and Behavioral Issues, YA Materials, and creating an inviting YA Space in the library.
- Approximately 14 million middle and high school students are on their own after school. - 8 in 10 Americans want all children and teens to have some type of organized activity or safe place to go after school. - The hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. - There are more public libraries in the U.S. than McDonald’s restaurants or Starbucks. - Students make 1.3 billion visits to school libraries in a given year, about the same as nationwide attendance at movie theaters. - Research shows that as an age group teens (ages 12 – 18) receive the least financial support. Government, philanthropic and non-profit spending directed at teens lags far behind what is invested in children (birth through 11 years) and young adults (19 and up). - Workforce Development, Digital Literacy, Traditional Literacy, Year-Round Learning
YALSA = Young Adult Library Services Association; a division of the American Library Association
What makes teens different?
- Amygdala: the region of the brain responsible for instinctual reactions including fear and aggressive behavior. - Frontal Cortex: the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act.
So…Teen behavior is guided more by the amygdala, which develops earlier than the frontal cortex.
“The Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.” The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2011
Based on the stage of their development…
All of which often leads to misunderstandings. We have to be their prefrontal cortex. Help them learn and make good decisions.
If the goal is to create life-long users of the library, we can’t drop the ball when it comes to teens. It takes a village…
Uncool Restrictive Librarians are mean Associate libraries with strict rules, enforced silence, and homework Fines Not on their radar / Awareness
Ephebiphobia is the fear of teenagers or of adolescence, and the prejudice against teenagers or underage adolescents; recognized as the “inaccurate, exaggerated and sensational characterization of young people” in a range of settings around the world.
Negative Portrayals - Teen pregnancy, Teen drug use, Underage drinking, Crime rates, sleep deprivation, Teenage suicide Fear - Teens have problems; They are disrespectful, loud, rude, disruptive; They are always in a hurry; They break the rules; They come to the library to goof off; They don’t make good decisions; Fear? Can all these things be said about ALL teenagers? Could they be said about some adults? How much is perception and how much is reality? Developmental and psychological reasons for teen behavior. Teens: The only people we treat like children but expect to act like adults.
Competition – Family, School, Sports, Groups, Transportation, technology Turnover – As current teens outgrow programs, new teens must be reached; can’t really grow your audience over time. Basically, every four years, there's a new crop of teens Visually Sophisticated – Teens are a significant market for advertisers and corporations Solutions – crafts from recycled toilet paper rolls work great with toddlers, less so with teenagers
- “Teenagers are not luggage: they don’t need handling.” Edward T. Sullivan - Teens deserve as much respect and service as any other patron. - Change thinking from “what can be done about teens” to “what can be done for teens.”
Demographic – get their input, involve them in every aspect of programming, promote atmosphere of inclusion. Partnerships – get out of the library. Be where the teens are – school, community, online Program - “If you offer it, they will come,” does NOT apply to teen programs. Increase your online presence by encouraging teens to create content for you, Recruit Teens to do the marketing for you. Contests to design promotional materials like posters or library card designs (library door/window wrap).
Relationships – talk to teens when they do something right. Greet them and get out Participation – share decision-making; be where the teens are – on social media especially Librarian – customer service, reference, reader’s advisory
With the good, comes the bad…
Discipline - Take a few breaths, - Don’t appear threatening, - Don’t take it personally, - Apply rules equally across all age groups, - Keep things in perspective and give them the benefit of the doubt, - Develop relationships with teens Instincts - Approach the teens that seem the most unapproachable, - Don’t take anything personally, - Be the “bigger” person, - Don’t make judgements, - Be Aware and Beware of peer pressure & group mentality, - Be understanding of teen development Assess Each Situation - Nuisance or Hazard? Nuisance: Pushing each other, Talking loudly, Wandering around in large groups, Blocking the front door, Hugging or laying on each other for long time, Leaving bags around the library Hazard: violence, guns, drugs, meds Action – do what you said you would Follow – greet teen when returns, have a conversation, build relationships Consistency – criticize the behavior, not the person; make sure everyone knows the behavior policy because ignorance of the law is no excuse
Remember, librarians do no kick teens out of the library. Teens get themselves kicked out of the library, because of their behavior.
Dealing with issues – how do you serve someone who doesn’t ask for help? Because the teen who has a paper due on anorexia will have no problem coming to the desk to ask, where as the teen dealing with it themselves will not approach the desk.
Clip from the movie ‘The Princess Bride,’ from the film adaptation of The Princess Bride, an adaptation of S. Morgenstern’s True Love and High Adventures.
YA Books: books written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults
Nostalgia – emotional truth of the teenae experienve Genres: fiction, sci-fi, realistic fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, dystopian Types: books, ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, manga and graphic novels Most notable series to do so: Harry Potter (1st book published in 1997/98, 1st movie out in 2001) How do I choose? Read YA Books!, Reviews Journals, Teen Recommendations, Award winners, Book Lists
Alex: 10 books written for adults with YA appeal Margaret Edwards: author & work for significant & lasting contribution to YA lit Printz: literary excellence in YA lit Odyssey: audiobook in english Morris YA Debut: first-time authors writing for teens Non-fiction: best non-fiction for YA Maverick: graphic novels
Think teen when designing space: will they be comfortable, like the colors, etc. but also how can they be showcased? Show off teen art, decorations, collaborative projects, etc. Easy changes: adult size furniture that doesn’t look like grandma’s couch, paint on the walls, colored shelves, signage, paint the ceiling tiles to look like book covers or the sky, etc. Room or space of own: go beyond a shelf and a poster, convert a meeting room or make certain areas teen only for specific times, designated staff person for teens
Let’s Talk Teens
Let’s Talk Teens
Abilene Public Library South Branch
February 29, 2016
Young Adult Services
Understanding Young Adults
Part 1: Understanding
Teens & Young Adults
YALSA: ages 12-19
Authors & Readers: Ages 10-22
The Teenage Brain
Adolescents are MORE likely to:
Act on impulse
Misread or misinterpret social
cues and emotions
Get into accidents and/or fights
of all kinds
Engage in dangerous or risky
The Teenage Brain
Adolescents are LESS likely to:
Think before they act
Pause to consider the potential
consequences of their actions
Modify their dangerous or
Teens & The Library
Make and keep Teens as Life-
Help them become caring,
responsible, productive adults.
Libraries and Librarians can play
an important role.
Challenge: Teen Perceptions
of Libraries and Librarians
Perceptions of Teens
Do you have ephebiphobia?
Ephebiphobia is the fear of teenagers
or of adolescence, and the prejudice
against teenagers or underage
adolescents; recognized as the
“inaccurate, exaggerated and
sensational characterization of young
people” in a range of settings around
Challenge: Perceptions of
Negative Portrayals and Stereotypes
What Do I Do?
Remember that teens are job
Shift your viewpoint!
When nothing goes right…go
Offer more than snacks
Know your demographic
Partner with schools
Diversify program offerings
Empower your staff
Support your teens
Foster positive environment
Consistency is KEY!
Create Raving Fans
Engage teens in meaningful
Be an excellent librarian
Give them a room or space of
Dealing With Teens
Discipline is part of serving teens
Go against your instincts
Assess each situation
Take immediate action to correct behavior
Be firm, fair, and consistent
Don’t take it personally!!!
Dealing With Sensitive Topics
Identity development (gender, sexual, ethnic)
Role of peer group
Teens & Issues
Research or Info-seeking
Personally Dealing with Issues
Part 2: YA Materials
Right Item + Right Person + Right Time
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
School & Bullying
Series evolve as readers develop
All genres and types are popular
It’s okay for YA to get pretty dark
How do I choose?
YA Book Awards
Margaret A. Edwards Award
Michael L. Printz Award
William C. Morris YA Debut Award
YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction
YA Book Lists
Bluebonnet and Lone Star Reading Lists
Teens Top Ten
Goodreads – YA Booklists
Amazon’s 100 Young Adult Books to Read
in a Lifetime
Books I always suggest:
Alanna: the First Adventure – Pierce
Gregor the Overlander – Collins
Dragon and Thief – Zahn
Paranormalcy – White
The Frog Princess – Baker
The Ruins of Gorlan – Flanagan
Bibliotherapy for Teens
School Library Journal
Add Self-Help links to your
Part 3: Space
Inviting spaces or
specialized teen areas
Think ‘Teen’ when
See themselves somewhere
in the library
What easy changes can you
Give them a room or space
of their own
APL’s new Teen Space at the
Main Library – WIP
Teens + Libraries
YOU must advocate for teens at your library.
YOU must share your enthusiasm and first hand
You would never “give up” on programming for any
other age group.
Teens need YOU to not give up on them.
Harden, Susan B. and Melanie Huggins. “Here Comes Trouble.”
School Library Journal. July 2004, p. 32-5.
Jones, Jami. “Teens will be Teens.” School Library Journal. January
2005, p. 37.
Jones, Patrick. Do It Right!: Best Practices for Serving Young Adults
in School and Public Libraries. (Neal-Schumann, 2001).
Stauch, Barbara. The Primal Teen: What New Discoveries about the
Teenage Brain Tell us about Our Kids. (Doubleday, 2003)
Sullivan, Edward T. “Teenagers Are Not Luggage: They Don’t Need
Handling.” Public Libraries, March/April 2001, p. 75-7.