I love the tweens (10-12 year olds) who frequent our library after school. They are enthusiastic and generally well behaved, and I thoroughly enjoy some of the philosophical yet short attention span conversations I have with many of them.
However, they are not yet teens and shouldn’t really be included in teen programs or allowed to hang out on the teen floor. Many of them are not mature enough to be part of the conversations that take place in our No Boys Allowed Club, watch PG 13 movies (that their parents often object to), or discuss novels of the Ellen Hopkins variety. We also have programs for school aged kids (6-12) in the children’s department. Of course, the tweens don’t want to attend those programs because they feel they are far too cool for them. But alternatively if they attend teen programs, the older teens (15-17) feel like their time has been taken over by little kids and it is no longer a teen program.
So how do we solve this problem? I initially decided that they can only come to a teen program if they have a teen card, but that is problematic because of the 10 and 11 year olds whose parents have given consent for a teen card because their child has read EVERYTHING in the children’s section. Or perhaps because they want to sign out video games or graphic novels (which they can’t do with a children’s card).
My new plan is to offer a tween club once a month with teen-ish activities (crafts, Wii, movies etc) and let 10-12 year olds attend. We have the first club scheduled for March 17, and this could potentially be a hit … but it may also fall flat on its face. I have a hunch that nine year olds may try to crash the party this time!
Do many of you face tween troubles at your library as well and if so, do you have any great solutions?