YA Facilities: Flexible Furniture

One of the things that sticks with me from John Beck’s presentation on the gamer generation is that they expect change and in fact, like it. So when Judy Sheriff’s posted a request recently for YA-YAACers to be her “Consumer Reports for beagbag chairs,” I thought I’d collect responses and add a few of my own favorites. It turns out that bean bags are no longer the YA seating of choice, mostly because they can be tough to clean and don’t hold up well to bellyflops. Some other alternatives:

Padded hassocks in different sizes
Circle chairs
Large floor cushions
Wavy high/low chair
Video rockers
Poof Chairs
Bean Bag Loungers
Plylocks

LoveSac
Foof chair
Crushed can chairs

Library Consultant Kim Bolan reminded readers to not just ask teens what they want but show them options. “Most libraries have the best success if they show kids the wealth of other furniture options that are out there. This will usually steer the majority away from the bean bag. I find that most just assume this is their only comfortable seating choice.”

Teen buying trips to Target and Pottery Barn were recommended.

Restaurant style seating seems to be a trend – maybe because teens like to eat?
Cafe style
Booth Style

Some of my favorites:
Bed Bath & Beyond Storage Ottoman – I saw these at a local library, but they were on wheels – a hassock with side pockets and a removeable seat with a reversible cushion that becomes a tray.

JC Penney has floor cushions, seating cubes, and more – click “Home Furnishings,” select “Kid’s Rooms,” pick “Teens,” and then select “Seating.”

Stacks and Stacks has clever hassocks with stands – flip it over, and you have a tray table.

Walter Knoll Nelson 605 Swivel Tray Armchair – like those student desks in high schools across America, only comfy!

And this would be MY dream addition to a YA space:
Double Decker Study Carrels! It meets the developmental need for physical activity! Then again, I always wanted bunk beds growing up, and never got them – maybe that’s why I think these are so cool.

What is YOUR favorite YA seating option?

~posted by Beth Gallaway

Library Facilities and Teens

At PLA in Boston. My first session of the day: The Denver Public Library presented a program on how they reinventing their libraries with a target service model – different library brands to meet the needs of various demographics (users who want a central library, an online library, a contemporary library, a learning & language library, etc).

My final session of the day: In “From Good to Great,” Cate McNeely said “Everything we do send messages to our customers, even desks: intimidating, welcoming, hostile, inviting.”

I put these two ideas together and came up with this question: what kind of message does it send to your community–and your profession–when you don’t design a library specifically for teens, but you do have TWO types of libraries specifically focused on serving children? Children’s libraries are designed for latchkey kids, and Family Libraries for, well, families.

The FAQ in the handout from the AM session said Denver did use teens in their focus groups, and decided that teens were included in the “Contemporary” category – they were likely to choose the Contemporary brand because it was about multiple copies available now, computers, and media. We of all people should know that words matter, and so do the absence of words.

Having a library marketed to ALL other segments of your population – except teens – sends a clear message about teens in this community: that they are not valued enough to be considered or served in a physical space.

I was a little pacificed to see that teens are targeted online at http://teens.denverlibrary.org/. Are there any Denver YA librarians out there who want to shed a little insight?

On a hopeful note, one of the speakers said that in each quadrant of the community, there is at least one of each type of library, and in each quadrant, there seems to be an “orphan branch” that isn’t flourishing. I’d be advocating for those branches to become the teen centers.

~posted by Beth Gallaway