At the library I have had a hard time connecting with teens because Youth Services is downstairs, but the YA section is upstairs. My office is located downstairs, where I spend much of my time. To combat this, I have placed a whiteboard/paper pad easel in the area where their books are. This seemed to help. When I asked what they wanted from the library, they said â€œWater Balloon Fightâ€. That totally happened as a BYOB (Bring Your Own Balloons). Providing sponges was cheaper and easier to clean up.
Another way to better connect with the teens is by starting a TAB. With our first meeting a success, I think I have made an impact on the teens.
Following basic guidelines for starting a TAB, I was sure to include key phrases when presenting this option. â€œMeeting with snacksâ€ worked like a charm. Teens are always hungry. I’ve had a few come to my office bragging about how much they can eat. One teen boy says he can eat a whole pizza. Challenge accepted! A total of six teens met for the first meeting. With the promise of pizza next month, I’m sure more will make their way over to the library.
My library is renovating the entire Youth Services area (not including the YA area on the upper level). The area will include a kitchen! The TAB is excited to learn that we will be able to make food when it opens in October. They were more than willing to provide food ideas to the agenda. Some suggested pizza (of course), sushi, and cheesecake’ (I’ll have to find a quick bake recipe for that one).
Additionally, I’ve requested that the teens be able to volunteer 10 hours per month as a TAB member. This should help with implementing prep for programming, especially in regards to the kitchen. In the agenda, I included a â€œnew ideasâ€ section. One of the new TAB members is interested in teaching Cantonese at our library!! Bonus for her since it counts as volunteer hours.