A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

It’s hard to believe that half of December has passed and we’re nearly into 2016! With the countdown to Winter Break comes a familiar scene to those in academic, school, and public libraries — groups of teens stopping by to study for finals or work on projects and papers. As they set up camp in our study rooms or computer areas, plug their gadgets into every available outlet, hook up all of their devices to our wifi, and take over the group study tables, their eyes are a mix of focus and stress. What can we do help alleviate some stress and add some fun to their day? Have the Finals Fairy come for a visit!

This past week several academic libraries were visited by the Finals Fairy who left hidden treasures for students to find. Through posts on Instagram, students were encouraged to participate and received clues as to where gifts of candy, Red Bull, coloring books, and coupons for free coffee were stashed in the library. Gifts were not hidden all at once, but were spread out throughout the days of finals week. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens discusses how the majority of today’s teens are online, use social networks, and are accustomed to 24/7 access to friends, family, and peers. Hiding goodies in the library and posting about it at all hours of the day (and night) is a way for libraries to engage with teens both in a fun way and on their time schedule. A game such as the Finals Fairy can be used to highlight specific resources and collections that are useful to student projects in addition to non-school related items such as the entertainment DVDs. Although the selected Instagram images are from academic libraries, the Finals Fairy could visit any library where teens and patrons are feeling the end of the year crunch.

Not only is it finals week for students, but we are also in the midst of the holiday season and libraries are decked out in book-themed decorations. This year many libraries are constructing snowmen, fireplaces, and trees out of books complete with lights, scarves, and faces. Has your library made one of these displays? We want to hear from you! How do you determine which books to use? Are the books from reference, donations, weeded items, or current items from the collection marked in the catalog as unavailable or on display? Have you ever had a patron who wanted a book from the middle of the display? Could be a fun winter project to get your teens involved with!


About Meaghan Darling

Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library in Sparta, New Jersey.

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