Little Libraries on the Big State’s Prairie
The South Dakota State Library has seen some wonderful advances in teen services across the state in the last year after our summer Library Institute (June 2014) focused on teen services and programming. Our Library Training Institute is designed for directors and staff of our medium and small libraries. Our definition of medium and small is very different than the standard definitions – we’re talking libraries that serve populations of 5,000 – 15,000 for a medium and under 5,000 people for small libraries. Our curriculum is on a four year rotation – one year is on children’s & early literacy, one year is on teens, and two years are spent on administration, reference, grants, and technical services. For 5 days in June of 2013, 30 librarians from 26 libraries came together in Aberdeen, South Dakota and took part in intense learning about teens in their libraries. Topics covered included teen advisory boards, social media, programming ideas, booktalks & displays, book discussion groups, and how the teen brain functions.
As a result, we have not only seen an increase in programming for teens (annual report numbers are still coming in), but three libraries that had never done much for teens than purchase YA books started teen advisory boards and teen programming! For a state with only 111 public libraries, This. Is. Huge. At the 2013 Institute we featured the books Cinder and Scarlet, and we were even fortunate enough to Skype with Marissa Meyer! SQUEEEEE!!!!! Recently, one of the libraries that started a brand new teen advisory board also reported getting an 80 year old grandma hooked on Cinder! How awesome is that?
Two other statewide teen library initiatives have also seen wonderful growth over the last several years. The South Dakota State Library has focused more time and energy on promoting teen summer reading in our summer reading program workshops. Thanks to the amazing teen summer reading manual from the Collaborative Summer Library Program, teen summer reading numbers climb every year, with over 3,000 teens participating in summer reading in 2013! Also, in cooperation with the South Dakota Library Association, the South Dakota Teen Choice Book Award – YARP – has also seen increases in teen voting for the last 5 years. Over 2,000 teens voted last year across the state!
We can’t wait to see what happens in 2014!
Submitted by Jasmine Rockwell
Youth Services Coordinator, South Dakota State Library