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 didn’t know ANYTHING about adultness.” If you’re 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 isn’t 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.