Thank you to the Teen Summit Committee and MLS for inviting me to be part of this panel today.I was once the Head of Youth Services/Assistant Director in Plaistow, NH (where I live and grew up) and also the Director of the Langley-Adams Library in Groveland. When I got to Groveland, I had to let the current children’s librarian go and I had to take on the youth services. Then I was blessed to find and hire Gina Lipkin, whom many of you may know. She was on the planning of a couple of Teen Summits!
Philosophy – Refer to the brand new National Teen Space Guidelines approved by YALSA. I am going to take each of the 6 points of these guidelines as I talk about my two teen spaces projects Teens deserve space that is structured for them, just like the children and adults.History – Teens have been neglected in libraries for a long time. They were part of the children’s area or if they were doing research they were in the adult reference section. Yet YALSA has been in existence since 1957 – 55 years! Libraries are slow to change, and I think this is a perfect example.Two Libraries – One Process – I will go into each of these projects in more detailsStrategic Planning – why this is so important and why you need to be at the table.Mission Statement – This goes with the strategic plan – but for now, raise your hand if your library has a specific children, teen or youth services mission statementAdvocacy (staff & community) – need to build support all the time, not just when you are looking at a space. Educate – use the research and guidelines to help you build a case – more on this later as well.
First project – turned the audio book and video section of the library into a teen space in Plaistow. We were restricted as far as the shelves and some of the furniture. This building was built in 2001 and we did this project in 2006 – lots of resistance. Previously, there were some teen books in the children’s room, but there was no effort to maintain a collection and definitely there was no space for teens.Second project – turned the book sale/meeting room into a teen room in Groveland. This was truly a renovation, where everything was re-done, however, we did repurpose the shelving and the old table you see here for a while until a new table could be purchased. We also painted the room, bought computers and computer carrels, a new rug and filled it with books.Previously, there was an 8’ low shelf that held probably 200 books and it was in the furthest corner of the adult section, where you couldn’t even bend down to look at the books without hitting the other shelves behind you.Chose the space because we could see into the room from circulation; linoleum floor (projects); front of the building where people walking into the library could see into the room. It was safe and visible!Liked the size of the space because it could flow into the meeting room if the teens needed extra space. Could close the door if there was a program going on.
1st Guideline from YALSA’s National Teen Space GuidelinesBoth times I got teens together and created a Teen Advisory Group. I talked to parents of teens, teens, teachers and anyone else who I thought may know of a teen that would like to be part of the group. Plaistow’s group had 4 kids (which grew to about 10). Groveland started with about 12 and grew to about 15. (We had a huge outcry for this and the parents really helped get their kids involved.The couch you see in this picture was from my home – it is still there!! The teens desperately wanted a place to lounge and they wanted a couch! My director let me bring this one in (it is a pull-out bed – and I always threatened that I would stay overnight)Groveland – Girl Scout project. They did the legwork and presentation.TAG chose colors, furniture, etc.
We used these closet doors as bulletin boards. This gave the teens a space to see what was going on so they could come together for programs, or just to hang out. There was also a dry erase board on another door where the teens could write messages, etc.This is where all the decisions about colors and furniture were hanging – so this became the “center” of the room
When I left, there was only one computer. Kids were bringing in their own devices and wanted to either do homework at these desks or the table. I would have instituted wireless printing so kids could print from laptop instead of having to send documents to email and then going on a computer.
These two guidelines are where you can start the conversation about strategically planning for a teen space, or renovating your space. Also, you want to make sure the WHOLE space is appropriate, including the materials that teens needs (games, computers, charging stations, homework tools, books, music, etc.)Get teens on the strategic planning committee if you are ready to launch into that process or if you have a TAG/TAB they can begin to work on their own strategic plan. This is what happened in Plaistow – we created a plan and then presented it to the Director and the Trustees and they bought into it.In Groveland, there had been a survey and the beginnings of a long-range plan. There also was a space planning document done by a library advisor (Susan). These set the stage. When I was hired, I had access to these documents and knew that I had the community’s support. When we wrote our actual Strategic Plan – this had been completed so we didn’t need to add it in as a goal or objective.These are objectives – use this language. The overall goal would be to “Create an inviting, safe environment with all the materials and equipment needed to support the educational and leisure needs of teens, ages 12-18.”
I firmly believe that you need to not just have youth, but to spell out that it is for children and teens.Will get more buy-in if you include families, even if the teens don’t want the parents involved.Langley Strategic Plan: http://www.langleyadamslib.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Langley-Adams-Library-Long-Range-Plan-2011-2015.pdfTry and pull out these sections when thinking about serving teens – it does impact space:Collection DevelopmentBudgetTechnologyProgrammingServicesSpace/Environment
Make sure your policies are fair and do not discriminate against the teens. Also, it is important to decide if adults or kids under the age of 12 can use this space. In both cases, we did not let anyone else but teens use the computer, so it was always free for them. We did have to ask ADULTS to leave the café table. The kids didn’t like being in there when the teens were there, so they didn’t come in.
Bake sale to raise money for the rug, bean bag chairs and the café table. Seeing the teens volunteer was very powerful for the community to see. They did this during the Open House/Book Sale, Groveland Days and also during the Children’s Halloween Party they face painted.Also, they hosted author, Elizabeth Atkinson in their space. This was posted on FB.The more the community sees the teens are involved and they are in a safe and trusted space, they value that space. We had a great teen volunteer program!More programs, more attendance – building support and funding for future.We were very transparent and liked to share what we were doing – selectmen, local cable channel, newsletters, social media
This is a great resource and I wish I had it to refer to when I was creating the teen spaces in both libraries. It is very clear and has great, easy to understand language.
Teen Summit 2012
The Library as aSafe Space for Teens Deb Hoadley, Advisor MA Library System Teen Summit Oct 25, 2012
2Creating Teen Spaces Philosophy History Two libraries – One Process Strategic Planning Mission Statement Advocacy (Staff & Public Awareness) Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
3Two Libraries – One ProcessPlaistow Public Library, Langley-Adams Library,NH Groveland, MA Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
4How did it Solicit teenhappen? feedback and input in the design and creation of the teen space. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
5Provide a library environment thatencourages emotional, social andintellectual development of teens. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
6Flexibility Provide furniture and technology that is practical yet adaptive. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
7 Moving in a Strategic DirectionProvide a Provide andlibrary space promotefor teens that materials thatreflects the support the educationalcommunity in and leisurewhich they live. needs of teens. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
8 Youth Mission Statement The Langley-Adams Library provides a safe and welcoming environment for children and teens to develop a lifelong interest in and appreciation for reading and learning. The Library provides a variety of programs and services that bring families in the community together and foster a love of reading. The Library also provides a relevant collection of print and non-print materials that meet the developmental needs of the young people of Groveland. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
9Ensure the teen space has appropriateacceptable use and age policies tomake teens feel welcome and safe. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
10Advocacy-Building Support Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012
11YALSA’s National Teen SpaceGuidelines1. Solicit teen feedback and input in the design and creation of the teen space.2. Provide a library environment that encourages emotional, social and intellectual development of teens.3. Provide a library space for teens that reflects the community in which they live.4. Provide and promote materials that support the educational and leisure needs of teens.5. Ensure the teen space has appropriate acceptable use and age policies to make teens feel welcome and safe.6. Provide furniture and technology that is practical yet adaptive. Deb Hoadley, Teen Summit 2012