Reaching the Youth at Your Library


Published on

School’s out for summer, as you’ve probably noticed because of the recent influx of tots and teens participating in your story hours and book clubs. Public librarians with experience in youth outreach will spend this hour sharing what has worked and what has not when it comes to reaching this patron population at their libraries. Bring your own best practices to share with the group as well.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Hello, everybody, and thanks so much for being a part of this webinar. The webinar today will focus on outreach to youth. First, to kids from birth through twelve, and then to teens through age 18. My name is Amanda Liss and I am a youth services librarian with the Loudoun County Public Library. I’ve been with Loudoun for six and a half years and I am also the current chair of the Virginia Library Association Youth Services Forum. I will be starting off by talking about the younger age group.
  • Most of us participate in outreach to our community all the time. Hopefully, though, this webinar will bring a few new ideas to the table and help to fill in any potential gaps. So, as we said, this initial segment will focus on outreach to children from birth through twelve. Outreach to this age group means outreach to the parents and caregivers as much as to the kids themselves. Parents of the youngest of these kids will frequently bring them to the library for activities such as storytimes, playdates, or rhythm & rhyme programs. The first step in reaching out to this segment is of course having the programs available to them. Once parents are bringing their babies to a baby storytime or something similar for that age group, they will often keep coming to that program week after week. It is an opportunity to network with other parents and also for you to keep them informed of what else is going on at the library.
  • There is so much out there for parents with babies or toddlers. You can do baby sign, baby yoga, baby play dates. You can offer the parents early literacy workshops such as Every Child Ready to Read. When the parents come in for your storytimes, have the information on hand to distribute to them about what else is going on at the library. You can also use the opportunity to ask them what other types of programming they would like to see and talk to them about any ideas you have in order to gauge their interest.
  • I’ve been fortunate enough that community groups have sought out my library for partnerships. Recently, a coworker and I wrote and directed a play about Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low for a group of Girl Scouts to perform at our library in celebration of the organization’s 100th birthday. It was a huge success and a lot of fun. My advice if you should have a group approach you for some type of collaborative event? Say yes if it is at all possible. The play endeavor took much time and creativity but the payoff was well worth it in terms of showing the library as a welcoming, visible, resource in the community. Of course, often we have to seek out community partners. Scout groups are great because they are frequently looking for projects. But there are other partnerships awaiting. Your local Parks & Recreation department could be a valuable partner. One of our branches was lucky enough to be a stop on the Tour de Trees bicycle ride in 2011, and the event was part of a childrens’ program. The branch is next door to the town rec center, so they paired up for the event and when the tour arrived, children participated in planting a tree on the property between the rec center and the library. We have also partnered with Community Police Officers, firemen, and other public service personnel to do storytimes for preschool age kids or to come and read poetry during National Poetry Month. Community helpers are excellent resources as they are a draw for kids, who see them as heroes, and will bring children into your library. Local museums, farms, or petting zoos may also be willing to partner with you and collaborate on programming. I spent a recent Sunday at a local park giving out information on the library at their second annual fair. This new event is still growing, and so now is a good time to become a staple of it. Find out what’s going on in your area and see if you can piggyback. If the Tour de Trees is coming your way, perhaps you can be a stop!
  • This is a partial agenda from an “educator open house” we did at several branches of our library system. Each branch had a slight variation on this agenda, but the idea was the same throughout: showing the school librarians and the teachers what we could offer their kids, and them as well. By them meeting us and seeing our resources, they have something and someone to which they can refer the kids. As you can see, we covered books and databases, e-books, and programs. Also, as I’ve highlighted in red, we wanted to make it easy for them to invite us into the schools at other times of the year besides the end, when we talk about Summer Reading. This is a good program to do after the start of school, maybe October. That way, the teachers have had time to settle in but it is still early in the school year, and it’s before the holidays.
  • This is the final piece of the “Outreach Inside” portion that I’d like to talk about, and it is homeschoolers. You visit the schools and promote to the schools, but if you have a homeschool community, you may be losing them in the shuffle! In my experience, the homeschool population typically pays attention to what’s going on in their area, including library events. But I recently did a couple of “Homeschooler Summer Reading Promos” at my branch, and found that I did get attendees, and that a couple of the kids had not participated in Summer Reading before! You can have a similar promo and simply say and do what you would if you were speaking to a school classroom of kids. I did a couple of booktalks and an overview of this year’s Summer Reading Program. You can also hold programs for homeschooled kids during times when you would normally not program, such as school year weekdays before 4pm. Use the words “home school” in your publicity and market directly to them.
  • As Youth Services staff, when we think about outreach many of us think of the schools first. But before I get into that, I would like to think a bit outside that particular box and look at some of the other community organizations we can utilize. I’d like to give you some examples of some incredible programs a coworker of mine has done with 4H. Literature in the Garden is one, in which plant-themed picture books are paired with garden science experiments over an 8 week class in the summer. Another, called Reading to Make Cents… cents as in your loose change… pairs financial literacy picture books with hands-on math activities. This was done with an after-school club over the course of a month. This summer, my library branch is planning outreach to our local community center hoping to do some “poolside storytimes” and make visits during other activities. I have also visited many a preschool and provided storytimes for the kids. This is one of my favorite things to do… the kids always love when someone comes in to read to them. One last example: my coworker provided county fair themed storytimes for visiting preschool classes and camps during the county fair. I don’t think the county fair is the first thing that pops into any of our minds for youth outreach, but what a great place!
  • As the elementary school liaison for my branch for a number of years, I understand how difficult it can be to coordinate visits with the schools. Their class schedules combined with the library’s busy schedule can make it a challenge. But we all know how important it is to forge and maintain this relationship. To begin, I have always kept the school librarians as my main points of contact. They know the classes, they have a set schedule during which they see them, and it is easier and makes more sense than contacting all the teachers for every school especially if you have multiple elementary schools in your area. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, and you may find someone else at the schools who can coordinate visits with you more conveniently, such as a Parent Liaison, PTA or PTO member, or a designated teacher.
  • I’m sure most of us get the word out to our schools when Summer Reading begins to approach, but even though our year revolves around this mega-program, the nine-month-long school year likely has other openings ready for you to fill. Think Career Day, for example. I did one career day and have been lucky enough to be invited back every year since then. Kids love to hear about what we do. Some schools have lunchtime book clubs, an excellent opportunity for book talks. You can also offer to book talk books of any genre, topic, fiction or non, that falls in line with the curriculum at that time. Sometimes teachers will be amenable to classroom book talks if it will enhance the lesson plan. After school clubs are great resources. Sometimes, depending on the group, you may get to talk to parents, as well. I recently had a great experience talking to a group of Spanish-speaking parents through a translator at an after-school activity. The kids were part of an ESOL class at school, and they were taken to another room for an activity while I spoke to the parents about the library. As it turned out, these parents didn’t know about the programs we had to offer, including Summer Reading; didn’t have library cards; didn’t know that our services are free, and much more. After learning about all we had to offer, the parents all signed up for library cards and signed their kids up, as well. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. A final point on book talks: for book talks, don’t forget the e-books! You can do an e-book demonstration, and even show kids Playaways and books on CDs. You might be surprised at what items they may not know are in your collection.
  • Hello, and thanks to Amanda for the great information so far! My portion of the webinar will focus on outreach to teens ages 12 through 18. My name is Michelle Chrzanowski and I am the Teen Outreach Specialist with the Newport News Public Library System. Don’t let the title fool you. I still have a lot to learn and hope we can share some ideas today. I’ve been with Newport News for nearly a year now and for the past five years have worked with teens at both the Chesapeake Public Library and Virginia Beach Public Library System. I am also the Region III representative of the Virginia Library Association Youth Services Forum. To continue with what Amanda began with, outreach to teens continues the work done with the younger age group. Instead of focusing on parents and caregivers, you will more than likely focus on schools and other community organizations. Essentially, your goal is to bring library services to teens out in the community.
  • Now, bringing the library to the community is not as easy as it sounds. The most important and often frustrating part of teen outreach (or any outreach) is making connections with other agencies and in the community. If you are fortunate, you may already know some people to work with or have contacts (I am jealous!). For those of you who don’t’ have contacts, here are some things you can do to get them. If you are in a city or urban area, you can try to form a connection with other city or local agencies. This can be done by being part of a city team or group or just by looking them up in the directory and giving them a call or email. Another way to get connections is to search online for agencies that you may have read about in an article or a general search for topics that relate to teens. I have used this method myself and have gotten some good leads. There is always the email option as well. Once you find some contact information, send out a message to these organizations to introduce yourself and to hopefully create a connection. Additionally, if there are any community events such as a festival or job fair, it would be a good idea to have a table to promote not only the library but to network with others there.
  • To go more in depth, for those of you that have municipal or local government connections, try to partner with agencies that have a youth focus. Some examples are the Human Services Department, a juvenile detention center nearby, the Parks and Recreation Department, Police Department, and of course area schools (both public and private) and homeschool groups.
  • Here are some ideas for partnerships with community organizations: Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Community Centers (these may be already run by your Parks and Recreation department), Girls Inc. (may not be in all areas), Hospitals or Hospice Care Centers, Museums or Educational Centers, and the Workforce Development in your area.
  • A great way to bring the library to the community is to take part in a community or school event. You may already be attending career days at schools in your area. Something to think about would be any kind of youth job fairs. A great way to find out about job fairs is to contact your local workforce development agency. I’m sure there are some kind of community events in your area such as festivals or fairs. Try to get a booth or table and share information about your library, events, and any groups you may have. A more non-traditional event to get a booth or table at would be a local convention. They can be anything from a book fair or festival, a sci-fi convention, or even an anime convention. If you aren’t sure what conventions are in your area, you could ask your teens. They may be already planning on attending some. Also, there is a site called Anime Cons where you can search for any anime conventions in the area. A really fun idea to do at an anime convention is to host a manga library.
  • For the past two years I have hosted a manga library at Anime Mid-Atlantic, which is an anime convention in Chesapeake, VA. Basically, I boxed up all of the manga from the library and drove it literally down the road to where the convention was taking place. My fellow anime loving staff members and I then placed it on three separate tables (divided by age range – Juvenile/Young Adult/Adult). The rules are simple: If a con attendee wants to read a volume of manga, we take their badge and hold on to it while they read the volume in the room. They can either choose another volume to read or request their badge back when done with the manga. That way none of the manga leaves the room and no worries about any of it walking out the door. The only thing that I find to be important when setting up the manga library is ensuring you have a room that can be locked at night. That way none of the manga will be taken and you don’t have to worry about boxing it up each night.
  • This is a screenshot of the manga library page on the Anime Mid-Atlantic website. The con was really great about promoting the summer reading program for us as well. In the library itself, we also had flyers and bookmarks about upcoming library programs which is a great way to promote your library events.This is really one of the more fun ways to do outreach and attend a fun convention at the same time. 
  • On to some other teen outreach ideas. Some interesting ideas that could work well at schools, Boys & Girls clubs or recreation centers would be book clubs and anime or manga clubs. There are different ways that they can be done. To work in a school environment, you will more than likely have to make it a shorter program than you would at the library. You have to make it fit into the school’s already tight schedule. Provided your library allows this, you could issue a school an institutional or special library card to class or Media Specialist so they could use the library databases. Some schools have the same databases that we do at the library, but often the library will have even more that will benefit the students. Something else to highlight is your library eBook collection. Schools may not offer eBooks and you could get a list of books they need to read and make sure you have digital copies available.If you have a Juvenile Detention Center nearby, you could suggest starting a Book Discussion Group. In Newport News, we have a book group at the JDC where we go usually every other Saturday. Originally, we received our books from the Great Stories Club grant. We would distribute copies of a single title to the girls and read them together. We also did youth development activates along with the book. There may be restrictions as to what kind of books you can get so make sure to discus this with your contact at the JDC.
  • I got this last idea from something I experienced in my life. This past fall, I had to place my mother in hospice care. While I was visiting, I noticed the hospice had a small book collection for families. After my mom passed, the hospice sent my Dad and I many newsletters and flyers on grief or grief counseling. They did have some booklists in one of the newsletters, but it was either for small children or adults. This could be an area where we could suggest some books for them to include for teens, including fiction. Another idea would be to see if any local hospitals or children’s hospitals would be interested in having a book group. This would be especially for patients who are there more frequently or for longer periods of time. You could read excerpts of books that you bring with or just talk about books with them.Your best bet would be to contact one of the support groups that are offered at the hospitals or health care centers.
  • You may not see this as outreach, but it really is. Many people who are using your online site or social networks may not be active library users (i.e. those that come into the library on a regular basis). Make sure you have a decent webpage for your teens that they will actually want to use. Include links for homework help, but also some things for fun… you want them to enjoy books and reading too! Some of you may have a blog for your teens. I personally like Tumblr as it is super easy to use and I have fun with it. On your blog, you could have reviews by the teens themselves and by staff, post funny library pictures, or even a mini podcast.For social sites, many libraries already have a Facebook and Twitter. What I am interested in is how many of you have a teen specific Facebook page? It really depends on your system to see if you want or need to have a separate FB for your teens. I have found that the most important thing to have is more than one staff member who genuinely wants to update the sites. I really haven’t seen many library’s really use twitter beyond program announcements, which is fairly dull. Try to interact with them by having a virtual book talk by using a specific hashtag. For a bit more interactive fun, you could create a Pinterest page for your library. Include boards for teens (there are teen users of Pinterest, believe it or not). You can share award lists or new books to the teen section. Try creating a collaborative board where the teens can pin books they enjoy and recommend.For the teens who can’t make it in to the library (or to continue the fun online), why not create a virtual book club. GoodReads has a great groups page where you can create private and secret groups where you can share your books (you can create your own group bookshelf) and continue to have engaging discussions. For writing groups or clubs, you really should check out Figment. Not only do they have great resources for young writers, but you can also read beginning chapters of many YA novels and they also have some really fun contests. What is really great are their online groups. You can create a group for just about any topic and it can be private or public. This would be really helpful especially if you have several writing groups at different locations. You could have them all meetup online in one space.Another thing you can do to highlight library events and programs would be to create a monthly newsletter. You may already have one for your library, but why not create one just for the teens. This is also something that could be sent out to teachers or Media Specialists for them to post at the schools.
  • Something else that you can use donations or discarded books for are book deposit collections. Think of places where people are sitting a while and could use a book to read. Some possible locations would be Laundromats, hospitals, health care centers, hospice providers and Juvenile Detention Centers (although they may already have a library so this may not be an option). Make sure to have a bookmark or other small flyer nearby the collection so the people picking them up know where they came from.If you are in an area with an airport, you could share your eBook collection with people flying in our out of the airport. The Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale, FL created a partnership with the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Inernational Airport. They offer free public domain books as they are available without a library card. All the peole in the airport have to do is scan the QR code and they are taken to the Broward County’s OverDrive site. You can can scan the QR code in the picture on the right – it takes you to the same place to see what I am talking about. For more information, check out the Digital Shift article here: For something a little different (and if you happen to have a bunch of extra cash laying around), you may be able to try to place a book vending machine in a location like an airport or a shopping center. If it works for Red Box, it should work for libraries!
  • Reaching the Youth at Your Library

    1. 1. Reaching the Youth at YourLibrary July 9, 2012
    2. 2. Best Practices1. E-mail withLibraries Thriving questions or comments.2. Share comments and questions in the chatbox.3. Visit the Libraries Thriving Discussion Forum tocontinue the conversation after today’s session
    3. 3. Introduction to Our Speakers Michelle Chrzanowski Amanda Liss Teen Outreach Specialist Youth Services Librarian Newport News Public Library SystemLoudoun County Public Library
    4. 4. Youth OutreachAmanda Liss, Youth Services Librarian, Loudoun County Public Library System
    5. 5. • This segment will focus on outreach to children ages birth through twelve.• Outreach to this age begins with the parents and caregivers, teachers, andother adults in the kids’ lives.• You can begin reaching out to this group in the library itself.
    6. 6. •Promoting within your programs: • Have the information available about what else is going on at the library. Hand out flyers, bookmarks, brochures. • Think about what else you can offer this group or ask them what they would like to see. • There is so much out there for young children and their parents. • Early Literacy workshops such as Every Child Ready to Read. • Unstructured playtimes/playdates allow for kids to play and parents to socialize. • Baby Sign. • Baby Yoga.
    7. 7. Outreach Inside: Bringing the Community In •Bringing in community partners. • Scout groups. • Parks and Recreation. • Community helpers. • Local museums, farms, petting zoos. • What events are taking place in your area?
    8. 8. Educators @ Your Library: An Open House10:00 AM -12:30 PM: Drop- In•Meet the librarians!•Peruse a book display of new books for elementary school students.•Project Drop-off: Major projects for the school year? Drop off thetopics and time frames, and we will pull items for the kids as theprojects come up.•Convenient Visit planning: We would love to visit you during theschool year and talk about a topic of your choice. We will note yourinformation along with possible visiting opportunities… a lunchtimebook club, for example… so that we can make the visits happen.1:00-2:00 PM: Library Resources Workshop•Learn about the database resources available for elementary schoolstudents.•Learn the basics of downloading e-books!•Ahead for the school year: brief program overview & One Book OneCommunity overview.•Pick up your 2011 One Book, One Community books! The book thisyear is Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick.
    9. 9. •Activities and promotions specifically forhomeschoolers. • Summer Reading promotions in the library. • Programs during the week in time slots convenient to them.
    10. 10. Reaching Out: Beyond the Schools •Community Centers •Daycares •Preschools •4H •YMCA
    11. 11. Schools: The First and Last Frontier Your School Contact(s): The school librarian! Parent liaison PTO or PTA member A designated teacher
    12. 12. Not Just for Summer Reading •Career Day •Book Talks •After school programs •E-book demonstrations • ESOL groups
    13. 13. Teen Outreach Michelle Chrzanowski, Teen OutreachSpecialist, Newport News Public Library System
    14. 14. Teen Outreach: Going Beyond the Library This segment will focus on outreach to ages 12 – 18 years Outreach to this age group continues from the outreach done with parents, caregivers, and schools Bring the library to the community
    15. 15. Teen Outreach Basics Community Contacts  Most important part of teen outreach  Can be difficult and frustrating How to Get Contacts  Talk to other City Agencies  Search Online  Email  Go to Community Events
    16. 16. Municipal Organizations Local Government/City Organizations  Partner with any Department that has a Youth Focus  Human Services Department  Juvenile Detention Center  Parks & Recreation Department  Police Department  Schools (Public, Private, and Homeschoolers)
    17. 17. Community Organizations Boys and Girls Club - Big Brothers, Big Sisters - Community Centers Girls Inc. - Hospitals or Hospice Care Museums or Educational Centers Workforce Development
    18. 18. Community and School Events School Career Day Youth Job Fair Family Focused Community Event Local Conventions  Anime  Anime Cons –  Book Festival  Science Fiction
    19. 19. Manga LibraryAnime Mid-Atlantic 2012  June 15-17, 2012  Chesapeake, VA
    20. 20. Teen Outreach Ideas Schools, Boys and Girls Club, and Recreation Centers  Book Club/Discussion Group  Anime and/or Manga Clubs  Technology Instruction  Showcase Library Databases  Homework Help  eBooks Juvenile Detention Centers  Book Discussion Groups
    21. 21. Teen Outreach Ideas Hospitals, Health Care Centers, Hospice Providers  Booklists  Book Discussion Group  Collaborate with other agencies to assist with counseling or other services
    22. 22. Virtual Outreach Library Site or Blog Facebook Twitter Pinterest – Online Book or Writing Clubs  GoodReads -  Figment - Newsletter  Can be online or sent through email  Send to schools and other community agencies
    23. 23. Book Deposit Collections Laundromats Hospitals, Health Care Centers, Hospice Providers Juvenile Detention Centers Airports  Can Link to eBook Collection -  Book Vending Machines
    24. 24. Questions and CommentsLet us know what has worked with you or other coolideas that you want to try out!
    25. 25. @cjspock
    26. 26. under “Committees and Forums” then “Forums”and all the way at the end of the list. Here you will find: how tojoin, our Wiki, our Facebook page, Twitter page, and Pinterestpage.