Too often, teens are slighted when it comes to library programs and materials. Many children stop using libraries when they enter adolescence. It doesn’t have to end there, but the approach may need to evolve. For example, enlisting teens as volunteers to assist with summer reading programming keeps them involved with libraries. The key is also in designing a summer program to meet teens’ interests.
There are four traits that all stages of teen development have in common:
- Independence. By offering library cards and guaranteeing the confidentiality of the teen’s library usage, giving instruction in how to use library resources independently, and offering the opportunity to volunteer on projects for which they are responsible, the library gives teens chances to assert their independence.
- Excitement. While in the past, libraries may not have been synonymous with excitement, new ideas in programming and young adult spaces can offer teens a great deal of stimulation.
- Identity. Reading can help teens to discover possible futures for themselves. Therefore, a strong teen reader’s advisory program, complete with both fiction and nonfiction, can help teens fully explore their potential. Additionally, programs that help teens to share their interests with others can strengthen their self-esteem and give them opportunities to explore other possibilities.
- Acceptance. When the library provides a space for teens, a positive experience, and a welcoming environment, it is acknowledging their worth.
Annually, CSLP volunteer library staff come together to create compelling teen content around these very principles. We package that into our teen section of the programming manual and center it around the theme/slogan. Over 40 states provide access to the online manual annually for all their public libraries through an access code. If you are in a non-member state or are in another type of library (school, private, academic, special), the manual can be purchased in our store. An annual purchase of our programming manual includes access to our Summer Program Archive.
Many member states get free access to the online manual. Inquire with your state rep.