It seems like a little thing, but little things can still make a big difference.

Today, at my library’s weekly Game On!, an open video gaming event, we figured out how to divide the snacks so no one feels shortchanged.

Game On! started with a PlayStation 2 and a small, dedicated group of teens. It has since morphed into a multi-console gaming extravaganza. Every Thursday, we have an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3, and a Wii, running respectively on two tvs and a projector. Not to mention the Rock Band drum kit, batteries for Wii-motes, a notebook full of cheat codes, Game Cube controllers that one of our regulars is kind enough to bring from home, and 20-30 teens attending each week.

Sharing our chips, cookies, and soda has gotten a lot harder.

Last week, a group of teens approached me after the program with complaints:

  • Some people take all the cookies before the rest of us get a chance.
  • The girls eat the food but they never play the games.
  • The soda’s always gone by the time I finish my game.
  • Some people take all the chips.
  • Someone spilled soda and didn’t clean it up.
  • Those guys just came in for the snacks and then they left.

I asked the teens for suggestions for sharing our snacks better. We started implementing them this week, and almost everyone was happy to hear about the new rules. And the ones who weren’t happy… I’m not naming names, but it’s possible they were the chip-hoarders.

Snack Rules at Game On!

  1. Snacks at the table only. No snacks near the games!
  2. One juice box per person. Juice boxes instead of soda for single-serving ease.
  3. Cookie monitor gives out cookies. The librarian is currently the cookie monitor, but she hopes to pass this responsibility on to a teen soon.
  4. Take one bowl of chips only. Before this we had a “pour chips on a napkin” free for all.

There are still a few snags to work out, but this new arrangement has already made the teens much less frustrated. It’s also worth pointing out that most of the ideas came from the teens themselves.

Have you tweaked a program in response to teen feedback? How did it go?

About Megan Honig

Megan Honig is the Teen Collection Specialist at the New York Public Library. When not blogging for YALSA, Megan can be found writing fiction herself, challenging negative attitudes toward street lit, and shocking teens by beating them at Dance Dance Revolution. Megan is also a member of YALSA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee.

One Thought on “Fair Division

  1. Hey, I like your rules!
    This is just a possible money-saving suggestion. I don’t know what you’re using for bowls, but coffee filters would probably hold the chips pretty well if you’re going through lots of disposable bowls. That’s what I use for popcorn.


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