This post is an article from the Winter 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Violeta Garza of the Multnomah County Library.
OYAN does not simply support teen services in Oregon, but at times, it reunites members with their Ghosts of Library Past. I finished library school while working at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in 2008, and thanks to an OYAN scholarship, I was able to attend this year’s YALSA Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA. So basically I met author Jesse Andrews (highlight #3) while learning about teen trends (highlight #2) and also learning from my super talented former library colleagues (highlight #1).
San Antonio Public Library Teen Services Coordinator Jennifer Velasquez — my boss of yore — blew my mind when she reminded me that children’s services in libraries run 12 years, adult services for decades, but teen services is really only 6 years.No wonder our numbers for teen programs are small! It’s our smallest window. Hang in there, and talk about your success stories within those numbers.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Digital Librarian Corey Wittig spoke of building equity and reaching those teens who are not yet in the library. He did a teen series project where teens built a “Humans of New York”-style blog about Pittsburgh trolley workers. Upon completion after 5 days, teens got a $100 gift certificate. This ensured that teens not only walked away feeling good about the experience, but they also made the connection between learning and making money. Also, teens get badges when learning to use their Makerspace-type equipment in the Labs, such as the music recording booth, the green screen and iPad, and the like. CLP staff get to know the teens first, and then comes the learning and the badge.