The Teen Programming Guidelines discuss the physical spaces of hosting teen programs in their eighth guideline. When YALSA released its Teen Space Guidelines in May 2012, I dove into the wealth of information that the guidelines provided. My school was in a transition period where we gained an additional media center space that needed to be completely renovated. Our original media center also needed some updating, so the Teen Space Guidelines was the perfect tool for me to use in approaching our spaces.
The first teen space guideline states, “Solicit teen feedback and input in the design and creation of the teen space.” Librarians and media specialists should always take into consideration the community they serve. I needed feedback on what our students wanted to see in our original space. A simple Survey Monkey survey was all it took to gain valuable insight into layout, furniture, needs, and wants for our high school students. With their advice, we were able to rearrange furnishings and incorporate a few new pieces to freshen up our original media center. Students also suggested that we move our manga section closer to the circulation desk. Manga books are cataloged in the 740s in the nonfiction collection. In our media center, this happened to put them in a far corner of our space and hard to see from the circulation desk. Not only are these super popular books that are checked out frequently, but they became hot commodities that were frequently stolen. (We do not have a book security system.) After moving these books closer to the circulation desk, students have easier access to them, and we do not lose near as many to theft. This also allowed us to promote the books more easily, which is also one of the guidelines in Teen Space Guidelines. Teen feedback can never be underestimated.
In renovating our newly acquired media space, the main goal was to create a comprehensive digital lab that allowed us to add tools to “link” education with technology in a more efficient manner. Thus our school’s LiNK was created. “Provide furniture and technology that is practical yet adaptive” is another guideline for teen spaces. In creating the LiNK, I knew we needed mobile furniture that would allow students and teachers to work as individuals, small groups, and entire classes. Teen Space Guidelines also states that teen spaces should “be technology rich and include both stationary and portable technology.” We are able to do that by having 21 Windows desktop computers available, as well as 35 Chromebooks, and 30 iPads. Students have many technology options for researching and creating. Here is what we were able to accomplish as we took into consideration the Teen Space Guidelines:
The Teen Space Guidelines are essential to librarians as they consider their library’s physical space. Teens need spaces that allow them to grow intellectually and socially, and these guidelines will ensure that our libraries are able to meet their needs.