In the last month, I’ve visited libraries in CA, MA, and WA in my workshop travels. Everywhere I go, I make a point of checking out the teen area. What does it mean when your teen area is located remotely–in the back corner, say–and there are no signs to indicate where is it?

At one library that is a unique public and academic building on the campus of a university, I looked on three floors for the YA area. Finally, I went to one of several information desks and asked (much like a regular patron, I hate to admit helplessness).

“Where is the young adult area?” I inquired.

“Oh, the teen area?” clarified the staff member behind the desk.
“Yes!” I said.
“Hm. I’m not sure…” responded the man. At my look of incredulity, the staff person explained that he was a university librarian.
“Maybe it says on the website?” he suggested, and opened the library’s homepage.

The fancy spin-around monitor revealed a link for teens on the webpage (note: if you don’t have a link to information about teen services on your webpage, this is another message that they don’t matter–your webspace is an extension of your facilities) but nothing about the space. I thanked him and went to the children’s room. Of course, the staff there knew where the teen area is. Once I found it, it was a nice space, if small (compared to the footprint of the whole library, and compared proportionally to the children’s room) and unstaffed. A sign indicated patrons should to go to the reference desk for assistance, which is fine, but again… another message that teens are not important enough to warrant a full time staff member – or even one dedicated to their space in the afterschool hours.

Do you have a YA space? How easy is it for teens to locate? Is there a web presence for teens?

Please share links to photos or websites in the comments field!

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

One Thought on “Facilities, revisited

  1. Kelly [Member] on February 26, 2007 at 8:15 am said:

    There is a dedicated teen space at my library. We don’t let anyone over 18 or anyone under 12 to ‘hang out’ there either. Sometimes teens don’t catch that there is a space for them b/c it’s on the second floor.

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