Teens in Libraries


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Presented at the Adult Reading Roundtable Workshop on Serving teens in the library. April 2007.

Published in: Technology, Education

Teens in Libraries

  1. 1. Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid Teens and Libraries Maggie Hommel, Young Adult Librarian Park Ridge Public Library [email_address]
  2. 2. A Whirlwind Tour… <ul><li>Perceptions of Teens </li></ul><ul><li>Perceptions of Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Adolescent Brains </li></ul><ul><li>Teens and Technology </li></ul><ul><li>How all of this can change how you look at and deal with Teens </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Teenagers are not luggage: They don’t need handling.” --Edward T. Sullivan
  4. 4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T <ul><li>Teens deserve as much respect and service as any other patron </li></ul><ul><li>What can be done about teens  What can be done for teens </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, there are several real barriers that make service to teens difficult </li></ul>
  5. 5. Perceptions & “Great Expectations”
  6. 6. Teens Perceptions of Libraries <ul><li>Uncool? </li></ul><ul><li>Restrictive </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians are mean </li></ul><ul><li>Not on their radar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Missouri study: 40% rarely go to the library; 43% would go “if they thought about it” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YALSA/SmartGirl.org survey: 16% never go </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Teens like “inviting spaces, specialized teen areas, food services” </li></ul><ul><li>YA Loft survey: #1 was “friendly librarian” </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing library well can greatly improve teen perceptions </li></ul>Teens Perceptions of Libraries
  8. 8. Librarians’ (and S ociety’s) Perceptions of Teens <ul><li>Negative Portrayals and Stereotypes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teen pregnancy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teen drug use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underage drinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crime rates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sleep Deprivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teenage suicide </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Librarians’ (and S ociety’s) Perceptions of Teens <ul><li>Fear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ephebiphobia: fear of teenagers or of adolescence, and the prejudice against teenagers or underage adolescents </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Librarians’ (and S ociety’s) Perceptions of Teens <ul><li>Fear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teens have problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They are disrespectful, loud, rude, disruptive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They are always in a hurry </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They break the rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They come to the library to goof off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t make good decisions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Librarians’ (and S ociety’s) Perceptions of Teens <ul><li>Fear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can these things be said about ALL teenagers? Could they be said about some adults? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much is perception and how much reality? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental and psychological reasons for teen behavior </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. “ Terrible Teens”
  13. 13. Adolescent Development <ul><li>Teenage brains are going through similar changes to a two-year-old </li></ul><ul><li>Their brains aren’t wired to think logically </li></ul><ul><li>There are real developmental reasons for teen behavior </li></ul>
  14. 14. Adolescent Development <ul><li>Be their prefrontal cortex </li></ul>
  15. 15. Adolescent Development <ul><li>Prefrontal cortex : responsible for planning, organizing, complex thinking, and impulse control </li></ul><ul><li>Amygdala : responsible for impulsive, emotional, and instinctual behavior </li></ul>
  16. 16. Adolescent Development <ul><li>Teens brains are developing </li></ul><ul><li>What they encounter and engage in will affect how their brain develops </li></ul><ul><li>“ Use it or lose it” </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians can play a positive role </li></ul>
  17. 17. Teens & Technology <ul><li>New Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PEW Project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Teens and Technology” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MacArthur Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Digital Media and Learning” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>PEW Report </li></ul><ul><li>“ Youth are leading the transition to a </li></ul><ul><li>fully wired and mobile nation” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>87% of U.S. teens age 12-17 use the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>51% go online on a daily basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>81% of Internet users play games online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>76% get news online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45% have cell phones; 33% text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IM is preferred to email </li></ul></ul>Teens & Technology
  19. 19. Teens & Technology <ul><li>PEW Report </li></ul><ul><li>What Librarians should know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology is ubiquitous, always on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multitasking is a way of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teens are consumers & creators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instantaneous feedback & results </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Teens & Technology <ul><li>MacArthur Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Media and Learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asked “Are kids different today because of digital media?” </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Teens & Technology <ul><li>MacArthur Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Findings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>83% of young people play video games regularly </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Teens & Technology <ul><li>MacArthur Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Possible Effects on Learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teens work on a trial-and-error basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not afraid to fail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multitasking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Books are not the standard thing for learning anymore” (quote from a teen) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analytical/problem solving skills vs. rote knowledge </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Teen Behavior vs. Library Rules
  24. 24. Teen Behavior vs. Library Rules <ul><li>Discipline is part of serving teens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take a few breaths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t appear threatening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t take it personally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apply rules equally across all age groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep things in perspective and give them the benefit of the doubt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop relationships with teens </li></ul></ul><ul><li>**”Here Comes Trouble” by Susan B. Harden and Melanie Huggins. School Library Journal. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Teen Behavior vs. Library Rules “ Go Against Your Instincts”
  26. 26. Teen Behavior vs. Library Rules <ul><ul><li>Approach the teens that seem the most unapproachable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t take anything personally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be the “bigger” person </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Teen Behavior vs. Library Rules <ul><ul><li>Don’t make judgments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beware of peer pressure & group mentality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be understanding of teen development </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Thank You! Maggie Hommel [email_address]
  29. 29. Resources <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Adolescent Brain Development Conference, New York Academy of the Sciences: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.nyas.org/ebriefreps/splash.asp?intEBriefID=219 </li></ul><ul><li>Jones, Jami. “Teens Will Be Teens.” School Library Journal. January 2005, p.37. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Strauch, Barbara. The Primal Teen: What New Discoveries about the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids. (Doubleday, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Harden, Susan B. and Melanie Huggins. “Here Comes Trouble.” School Library Journal . July 2004, p. 32-5. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Sullivan, Edward T. “Teenagers Are Not Luggage: They Don’t Need Handling.” Public Libraries, March/April 2001, p. 75-7. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Jones, Patrick. Do it Right!: Best Practices for Serving Young Adults in School and Public Libraries. (Neal-Schumann, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>PEW Research Center Report: Teens and Technology http://www.pewinternet.org </li></ul><ul><li>Macarthur Foundation Research on Digital Learning http://www.digitallearning.macfound.org </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>