#TeensFirst the Focus of YALSA’s Early Winter Webinars

What do YALSA’s December and January webinars have in common? They each focus on how a #teensfirst approach to teen services is important . Both the December webinar on user-centered teen spaces, and the January session on supporting teen social justice and equity conversations, look at how to provide library services by paying attention to teen specific interests and needs.

On December 15 YALSA hosts, What Do You Want to Do Here? Designing Teen Library Spaces that Work, San Antonio, TX, teen librarian Jennifer Velázquez and Lee VanOrsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan will discuss how their new spaces support the activities that teens and students want to participate in in library environments. Each has taken an innovative approach to creating user-centered spaces. You can learn more about the spaces Jennifer and Lee have developed in American Libraries and Jennifer’s space in the fall 2016 issue of YALS. (Login required)

The December Snack Break, produced by teens at the Hartford (CT) Public Library, provides examples of what teens like to do in library spaces.

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Connect, Create, Collaborate: The Next Big Thing in Teen Spaces

This weekend YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium takes place in St. Louis. The theme is The Next Big Thing. Last month YALSA’s The Hub blog had a set of great posts on the theme covering everything from e-reading, to science fiction, to why the next big thing isn’t important. This month in the YALSAblog series on Connect, Create, Collaborate we’ll also talk about The Next Big Thing. This week, what’s the next big thing in teen spaces?

There is a lot of conversation these days about libraries and spaces. Hackerspaces. Makerspaces, Learning Commons. And so on. These are all great conversations to have as they get library staff serving teens thinking about what they do to serve the age group successfully. I keep wondering, are we really planning and thinking about the future of library space beyond the activities that go on in that space? Hacking, making, and learning are all really important. It’s great if we can integrate those activities and re-organize space for that now. But, what happens in the not so distant future when: Continue reading

Teen Space on a Dime

Last November, armed only with a copy of Teen Spaces by Kimberly Bolan and a budget of $1,000, I set out to create a teen space in my library. The budget actually seemed huge to me at first, but after looking up the price lists for a number of nice contract furniture companies, I realized it was almost enough to buy a chair. Woo. Hoo.

Undaunted, I expanded my search to include residential and school furniture, until I found something with an acceptable balance of quality, versatility, and price. During the process, I learned a number of things I wanted to pass on to anyone else in the position of choosing furniture for a teen space without the benefit of a consultant or even the advice of a furniture company.

  1. If you don’t have access to floor plans for your building, you can make ones using free online tools. I started out with a tape measure and graph paper, but I ended up using floorplanner.com. The best part was that after I created an outline and entered the dimensions of the shelves I was working with, I could drag and drop them anywhere and get a 3-D simulation. I think my coworkers were more impressed with the 3-D simulation than anything else I’ve done this year. Continue reading

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