Great Resources for Developing Services to Teens!

by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas

Great Resources for Developing Services to Teens!

saradixonAt my small library, I felt that the teen population was getting largely overlooked. Unfortunately, the sad truth is it’s because no one had much time to devote to the group. I think this has often been the case in smaller libraries. We’re so focused on early literacy and budding readers, which we should be focused on because they are very important, that we tend to lose the kids after about 5th grade. Since coming on board in August, this has been one of my main goals: to get the young adults in the library! But I focused on adult services in library school, and I know some teens, but I don’t know that that makes me qualifies to do a teen program.

Luckily for me, there are wonderful resources available to help someone in my situation! We are starting our teen programming slowly and have lots of great things planned for summer reading. This month, I wanted to share some of the great resources I’ve found and used in my quest to start the teen services at my library, So here are my top 4 online resources for teens’ services.

Teen Librarian Toolbox: If you haven’t checked out this website, and teen librarianship interests you, you need to get on it right away! Written by several librarians in different areas of the country, with input and contributions from real teens and tweens, they have so many great ideas that they just share for the sake of sharing. I love that mentality. They have plenty of program ideas, booktalk ideas (which is scary to me, even though I recommend books all the time), advocacy and marketing ideas, and information on working with special needs teens. Bur there’s so much more! It’s like a one stop shop and perfect for someone that sort of “fell into” teen librarianship.

Young Adult Literacy Services Association: or YALSA is pretty much the mother  ship of resources on teen librarianship. YALSA is the official division of the American Library Association. I’m  still learning about all the initiatives like Teen Tech Week coming up in March (I got some great ideas for the DIY  theme from theTeen Librarian Toolbox!). Their website has professional tools, publications, and information on book awards and ALA events in the YA community. They even have some information for parents and teens.

Teen Programming in Libraries: A collaborative Board on Pinterest, this site allows librarians to share what they are doing at their libraries and get ideas for future activities. They even have a Facebook group to  discuss teen programming ideas. Pinterest in general has been a useful tool in collecting different, fun activities and programs – especially as we are planning for Summer Reading.

What I Wish I’d Known About Building Teen Services From Scratch: This one is more of an article than a website, and published on the Library with the Lead Pipe. One woman shares her experiences from raising circulation numbers to building relationships. I like that she also discusses how important it is to utilize your professional community. I have not heard of a more open, sharing profession. Your professional community exists to help you, and your profession loves to share information. It’s a total win.

OK! That’s my round-up. What other resources do you use for teen services?

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