Transforming Youth Services: Supporting Youth Through “Adulting”

About seven months ago, I noticed a new trend among public libraries of offering adulting programs. When I first saw a posting via social media about this program, my brain screamed, Where were these programs when I was 17?! I didnt know ANYTHING about adultness.If youre unfamiliar with the concept of adulting, it means to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (Urban Dictionary, 2017, ¶ 1). These included duties and responsibilities that seem bewildering to an older teen: finding an apartment (and roommates), signing up for utilities, managing bill payments, etc. Some youth may receive this type of instruction and guidance at home, within their communities, or by participating in youth-supportive groups but this isnt always the case.

Adulting programs are generally geared towards older teens (16 -18) and emerging/new adults (19 – early 20s) and support these young patrons in developing life and college ready skills. News articles and similar commentary about library adulting programs appeared somewhat flippant and even disrespectful or disparaging of young adult attendees. Yet through such programming, libraries are providing a unique service which appeals to two underserved age groups and impacts their lasting success, health, and wellbeing.

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A Day in the Life of a Public Library Youth Services Librarian

cc licensed photo by David Spender via Flickr

cc licensed photo by David Spender via Flickr

Youth Librarians are wearers of many hats. For a lot of us, I think that is part of the appeal. It certainly is for me. I hate being bored. I recently had a long crazy day. This is not unusual, you’ve probably had one recently, too. But what struck me at the end of this day was the variety of things I did – the hats I wore, if you will. It reminded me of various blogs’  and initiatives I’ve seen around the Internet detailing our days in order to show a wider audience what it is that youth librarians do.

I’m saying Youth Librarian as opposed to Teen Librarian because I was promoted earlier this year to Youth Services Coordinator, supervising the whole youth department- services to children and teens- at my library. It has increased the levels of’  metaphorical, and occasionally literal hat wearing in my work life. I have also found, as you’ll see later in this post, it has provided some different opportunities to get teens involved.

I’m going to tell you about my day, and perhaps it will inspire you, YALSA bloggers, to share your own long crazy day. Continue reading