There are three basic ways to incorporate religion into teen programming: collaborate with religious organizations, outreach programming at a religious event or location, and programming with a religious theme. By the end of this post, you should feel empowered to take these best practices into your own programming, and to your coworkers.
Just like the civic groups libraries frequently collaborate with (Kiwanis, United Way, schools, etc.), religious organizations have what libraries desire most in our programming: people. When you collaborate with a religious organization, you’ve automatically got an audience, who you can now market to more effectively, and, if you’ve planned your program well, participation in the collaborative effort will be natural. By opening the library to collaborations with religious institutions, you also gain access to additional funding—either monetary in nature or in volunteer hours. Collaborations with religious organizations help the library expand services to a greater number of its patrons than it could have done on its own.
For the past few years, the topic of establishing healthy habits at an early age has garnered much news, investigation, and governmental action across the nation. As centers for community life and lifelong education, libraries are uniquely positioned to contribute to the formation of these healthy habits in young people. Indeed, given the special role of social responsibility many libraries assume in their charters and mission statements, supporting healthy habit formation may be viewed as a necessity in your library.
The Indiana State Department of Health summarizes the need for and suggests a direction to library involvement in this issue: “Ideally, population-based, sustainable approaches for changing the weight status, diet, and physical activity of people should include creating environments, policies, and practices that support increases in physical activity and improvements in diet, especially among those disproportionately affected by poor health. Interventions should go beyond people acquiring new knowledge and allow people to build the skills and practice the behaviors leading to a healthy weight. Supportive environments are necessary to sustain healthy behaviors.” [emphasis mine] (Indiana State Department of Health 2011)
What follows is a list of activities young adult librarians can put into practice to stimulate interest in and action towards healthy habit formation with their teen patrons.