Teen Services Coordinator, Jennifer Velasquez, took a different approach when the San Antonio Public Library Teen Library @ Central wanted to redesigning the library. By talking about what teens wanted to do in the library, versus furniture and colors, staff was able to truly understand what teens need and want in their library. Velasquez mentions that it is not only important to understand what needs want and need in a library, but why the use the library.
Based on focus groups with teen participants, teens expressed that they wanted quiet spaces, active spaces, and social places. Today’s libraries are now incorporating much of these aspects, and are important to remember when designing a new teen library or space. Velasquez’ model for the perfect teen library includes three spaces: participation, contemplation, and engagement. A participation space allows for “group work and activities.” A contemplation space allows for independent work, which would include, homework, studying, reading, etc. Lastly, an engagement space allows for comfortable seating for socializing, displays, technology–a fun, and safe place for teens to socialize. Although space can be limited in some libraries, and not all these spaces can be coordinated, many of these spaces can be made into programs.
I know that there are many articles, workshops, and blog entries circulating on teen spaces.Most of these revolve around the physical trappings of the area:what furniture did we buy, how did we find the space, what paint colors did we use, etc. Most prominently, they state how they got the money for this project. Who gave it, and how did we talk them into it? Having a teen space is seen as a vital part of serving teens. But where does that leave libraries that, for whatever reason, can’t get the funding?Or what if, no matter how supportive your administration is, they can’t enlarge your teen space any more than it is?
I am of the opinion that even if funding can’t be acquired, we can do simple, cost-effective things to make the teens feel at home in whatever space we have. Here’s a few things my library has done in the past few months. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I had the chance to participate in a small tech summit, at which a variety of types of librarians discussed different ways technology is being used in libraries, library schools, and actually, in life.’ As the Swiss Army Librarian noted in his post, at the event we didn’t just talk about technology. The group also talked about a variety of library topics, including customer service and how librarians are using the phrase customer service as a way to justify practices that aren’t actually very customer friendly at all.’ Continue reading
I’ve been waiting a few days to write about the Teen Third Space because I’ve been allowing it to sink in.
I work in one of the oldest branches of my system. The teen space has one long table dominated by laptop users. Luckily we have a significant chunk of shelving, but the books aren’t new and shiny. In fact, everything is old, uncomfortable, and stained. The only thing that makes the teen area a teen area is the fact that it says “Teen” on the wall. Cuz there aren’t any teens sitting there. They’ll go anywhere else in the library to hang out, but do not want to be in the teen space at all. As the incoming teen librarian at this branch it is *the* major thing I need to fix.
So the President’s Program got me at just the right time. Titled “The Teen Third Space,” the session covered physical space, seating selection, and the electronic third space. Continue reading