My library has seen a surge of interest in volunteering lately, and we’re looking for ways to balance the number of people who’d like to volunteer with the energy and staff time it takes to manage a good volunteer program. We see lots of teens who have been assigned volunteer service as part of a probation agreement with the courts, and with the tight job market, some teens who can’t find work are searching for alternatives to gain experience that could land them a job in the future.

Read More →

There’s this closet at work that I’m starting to clean out because it needs it. It’s been kind of funny tracking down where things came from in the first place as one person invariably leads me to and there’s usually a humorous story attached to it at the end. We’re also busy at work spring cleaning in a sense in the way we think about using things-particularly technology equipment. We’re taking into consideration how teens use it and what our own processes are in order to make some changes.
Read More →

Every year, around this time, many of America’s high school students start turning their thoughts to one thing: prom.

Prom is a legendary night of gowns, tuxedos, photographs, limousines, coursages, spiked punch, romance, late-night hotel parties, and figuring out where in the world you are when you wake up the next morning. (If you don’t believe me, read Brian Sloan’s A Really Nice Prom Mess.)

At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I never went to prom, but I sure did hear lots of stories about it. Some may have been real, some may have been imagined, but it was all fascinating. Read More →

For Teen Tech Week this year I tried to do something more low key. Instead of having a big program I optioned to try and promote the different technology-related services the library offers by giving teens a list of questions to answer and tasks to complete. I tried to make them fun; the questions I used are below.

My goal was to promote library services, so I told my staff that they could hand out the questions to any patrons. I was given two $10 Borders gift certificates to give away as an incentive for the teens to complete 8 out of 10 tasks, and so far no teen has turned the sheet back in. Read More →

When I was in junior high there was a small local restaurant my friends and I liked to go to. It served good sandwiches and it was a place we all went with our families. The thing was, when we were at the restaurant with our families, we received great service. When we went as a group of friends, the service wasn’t so great. We knew without a doubt that the adult employees didn’t like us at all. Eventually we stopped going.

I’ve been thinking about this experience as I’ve recently been reminded how sometimes adults don’t treat teens very well. I think, in many instances, adults don’t do this on purpose, they don’t intentionally treat teens badly. Read More →

ttwbingoThe Johnson County Library (Overland Park, KS) is hosting Teen Tech Bingo this week. Teens are entered into a drawing for every five tech activities completed. Activities include make your own avatar and creating a video on We have mounted table-top tents on top of the public youth computers that point teens to the internet location where they can begin Teen Tech Bingo.

This is a self-directed activity, which helps because we can get very busy at the neighborhood branches. It’s easy for staff to recommend the activity, whereas putting together an afternoon program during the “schools out” session would require a lot more effort (i.e. schedule changes and program prep time).

Read More →