Virtual Road Trip: Florida

Florida and the Future

From Pensacola to Key West, teens are finding the doors are wide open in Public Libraries. Teen groups are creating opportunities, not only to learn, but also to enjoy the company of old and new friends. So let’s take a tour, shall we?florida

Miami-Dade Public Library System, after facing a major financial challenge, still finds opportunities for teens with gaming, photography classes, and creative programs such as Sound Art and specialty Open Mic events.

Broward County Libraries Division brings the tech out in teens by offering DIY events, texting competitions and computer fun.

Palm Beach County Library System treats teens to lots of creative activities, including film related parties, thematic food events (chocolate!) and crafting programs.

Sarasota County Library System offers unique activities, such as Fashion Dash, a fashion show in partnership with Plato’s Closet. The public brought in used clothing, and at the end of the event, everything was donated to the local YMCA youth shelter: http://conta.cc/1dHL5Og.

Marion County Public Library System offers a festival of teen talent each year entitled CREATE (Colossal Reading, Entertaining, Artsy Teen Event). They host a plethora of events, such as filmmaking workshops, writing workshops, edible book competitions, and a teen talent program that wraps up the festival: http://conta.cc/1gpLXvm.

In Pinellas County, Clearwater Public Library System offers short story writing competitions as well as teen art gallery showings. Dunedin Public Library offers an annual “No Brainer Day,” which is a unique holiday that requires not thinking (inflatable rollers, coloring pages and pre-school board games, like Candy Land).

Orange County Library System teens participate in a wide gamut of activities: from Steampunk to STEM careers; from speaking up with Open Mic Nights to Stepping competitions; and from fashion shows to future library careers.

From spelling bees to poetry jams, Jacksonville Public Library teens have incredible times in the teen room.

West Florida Public Library System (Pensacola) partners with Shakespeare companies and science labs to expand teen horizons.

Florida libraries encourage teens to find the best use for their services, but what is the future of Florida’s library’s teen services? There are ideas on the horizon to connect the farthest places, and bring teens together for a statewide teen advisory group. Once again, a statewide arts magazine, and regional Young Adult librarian group, will be utilized to offer teens future possibilities from present realities.

Submitted by Jana Fine, State Youth Consultant
Bureau of Library Development, Division of Library and Information Services, Florida

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