What are some ways you find out and work with your teens to build a library collection they want?

My supervisor organized a meeting with the library’s collection development team to meet face to face with a group of teen library users. We spent an hour talking about what they like (music got the nod but could use more underground-especially from this recommended site), what they want to see more of (adult books and with more controversial themes, foreign films, political comics, contemporary biographies, car and computer magazines, video game soundtracks, anime soundtracks) and what they didn’t even know existed (new fiction, new movies, Cliff Notes).

These teens created lists of titles after the meeting and were encouraged to talk with their friends and get their feedback on the collection. Surveys were created and made available online to get teen input as well (albeit-more passive, but some responded they were interested in being part of a teen driven focus group-and a few agreed but only if paid).

Youth participation is so fundamental to this process. Aside from just exchanging titles and general feedback, listening to their experiences (never finding new movies on the shelf because they are always on hold and not knowing things can be held, buying books instead of wanting to wait for the ordering and processing time, wanting more representation for various religions in materials and not finding them) means we’ve got some work to do. Today was a great start.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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