Monday, October 5, 2009

027.626 Teens & Libraries: How Do YOU get 'em In?

Over the last few years, I have been involved in lots of discussions about, plans for, and activities on getting teens to "use" our libraries. Most of the librarians in my circle understand that the 1980's version of the library is dead...and hopefully gone!

After all, the kids we work with these days weren't even around to know what we are talking about. Think about how many changes have come into your own life in the 20-25 years.

During the 1990's, the changes were coming faster and in bigger bites. I think we gave librarians and libraries passes who were still lagging behind because change is often difficult and is not cheap to accomplish.

But come on folks, the first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close. If you haven't changed, you MUST do it now. You must look at what libraries are doing to meet the needs of the teens.

Musty and dusty can no longer be the words associated with libraries...especially for teens! Let's try virtual, let's try visual, let's try music and sounds, let's try games, let's try F-U-N!

One of the librarians in my circle who really has grabbed hold of the change needed in working with teens is also so involved in using the 21st century tools that she has provided examples of life in her library these days.

Take a look. What you see is going on in lots of libraries in my circle...maybe not quite like this, but with the same excitement and enthusiasm. If your library doesn't "look" like this, maybe you should pick out an idea or two?

Yes, the videos are a little raw and rough. They were made with a little Flip camera and were made on the fly...with nothing but fun in mind. But the message is clear!

These kids LOVE to come to their library.

Students gather in groups to share the computers or wait patiently for their "turn" to use the Internet for what interests them.
Wii games have their own special little corner in this library. You can see friendly competition over baseball, boxing, and bowling!

But wait...these same kids read plenty of books and spend time looking for just the right one...and just the right reading spot.

And not all the fun and excitement happens on the computer. Traditional board games and card games are available to the teens at appropriate times!

Look at what the kids are doing in this last bit of video. Do you call that "virtual" skateboarding? I have never seen these miniature skateboard parks. Can't wait to see one up close.

Of course, all of this fun and excitement could not happen without the support of the school and the administration. The administration has supported the changes. Teachers help out with duty stations and participate in the fun with the kids. Volunteers have even been enlisted to help with painting and decoration.

O, and the negative side to all of this? Is there one?
SO many kids want to come to the library that the librarian has had to create a schedule for the different grade levels for before school. There were concerns about safety and fire code. It also assures that everyone will have a chance to participate and play.

Don't you wish you had that problem?

Thanks to CL for the loan of her videos and pictures.

1 comment:

Grendel said...

Miz Laucher is one special librarian!