Long Overdue-A Place for Teen Activities

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I finished reading the results of Long Overdue, the national study conducted by the Americans for Libraries Council that was just released last week.
As Beth G.’s post indicated, providing services to teens is a high priority to many, according to the report.

While it is great to see that this is a number one priority, the justification for it seemed to me to be more out of using a deficit model for teens than as an opportunity and place where they can create and contribute to the library. Statements such as, “Concerns about the relationship between drugs, crime and teenagers were especially salient among focus group participants” or “providing a place for teens to congregate” seem to be missing something in terms of empowering teens to offer programs with true youth participation opportunities. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but maybe not-or perhaps by using a deficit model, it can be then justified hypothetically that since ‘our town does not have a crime problem among teenagers, the money does not really need to be spent to build stronger programs for teens at our library.’

Also, for a report to have the words ’21st Century’ in the title and not mention video games (please tell me I missed this in the report) is something I do not understand.

While Barnes and Noble and Amazon get several mentions as competitors for the relevance of libraries-what about Netflix or even social networking sites that provide a community many are seeking-which might be blocked in libraries and schools receiving e-rate funding? (side note: as Eli Neiburger says, ‘we’re in the content business, not the book business).

I hope people will respond about this report-either on the blog-especially to Beth G’s. discussion questions or in their own communities. What about teens themselves? I hope they were asked for their opinions too.