As you’ve dug into the report, you may have felt like it’s too big of a leap for you and your library to tackle all at once. Highlighted below are five small ways you can begin to #act4teens that can snowball into big impact.

  1. Begin to share appealing aspects of the report with other library or school staff. This is a great way to do a temperature check to see how people feel about different aspects of the report. It’s also a way to get people thinking about existing services and how they can be improved. You can do this by:
    • Sending weekly emails about teen or school library services and creating a section for report information. Ask staff for comments and feedback.
    • Sharing parts of the report at regular staff meetings.
    • Hosting brown bag discussions about school library or teen services that are framed around the report.
    • Creating engaging polls to see what parts of the report staff are most comfortable with and to solicit their ideas and feedback.

  2. If you’re interested in trying out new program ideas and models, try co-learning with your teens. Have conversations with them about things they’d like to try out and learn together. An alternative would be to let teens teach you about something of interest to them and lead a program while you facilitate.
  3. Dive into learning…about connected learning! Here are some good places to start:
    • http://clalliance.org/
    • http://connectedlearning.tv/
    • http://educatorinnovator.org/
    • As you learn more, reflect on the learning principles and how you can apply them to your programs and services. Tweak existing programs to tap into teen interests and leadership capabilities. Ensure that programs and services are full of opportunities for collaboration. Connect what teens learn at your library to school and postsecondary planning and connect to the schools.
  4. Look for new partners or volunteer mentors that can serve as experts in an area of particular interest to your teens. Create a list of existing and potential partners. Challenge yourself to connect with an old or new partner monthly to see what might evolve.
  5. Level up your leadership. Take a free leadership or management course. Consider serving on a local community board. Join a local toastmasters group. Talk to potential funders, elected officials, or the library board about teen services at your library. Volunteer to lead a library committee. Begin reading leadership and management books and blogs. Do something to stretch beyond of your existing leadership comfort zone.

Adrienne L. Strock is the Teen Library Manager at the Nashville Public Library’s Main Library and Chair of the Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce.

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