Leadership and Teen Services

Many libraries promote teen services, especially Teen Advisory Council positions, as leadership opportunities—great for college applications! Participating teens provide input on program planning, teen spaces, collection development, and more. In some cases, they make decisions about programming and marketing, and are responsible for much of the implementation. These are great leadership experiences for teens. However, we rarely talk about the leadership skill the librarians need to successfully organize and facilitate this work with teens.

Mark Richardson, in his article Stepping Up: Applying Situational Leadership Concepts to Public Library Work With Teens, describes how librarians can use Situational Leadership to implement effective teen leadership opportunities. Situational Leadership includes four styles of leadership: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. Effective leaders utilize all four styles, and know when to use which style depending on the task or situation.

As you read the following description of each style, think about when you might use that style with teens and why. What you might do to implement each style? What do you hope teens gain from experiencing each style as you implement it?

  • “Directing, is used whenever one trains a new person or teaches a new skill.”
  • “Coaching… is still directive, but more time is given to explaining our goals and why we have them. Input is requested and integrated into plans when possible.”
  • “Supporting… [is] trying to get the teens to make decisions on their own without as much help.”
  • When “delegating, people are empowered to act independently with less input from the leader.”

Read Stepping Up: Applying Situational Leadership Concepts to Public Library Work With Teens for more information about Situational Leadership and examples of how Mark has and plans to apply Situational Leadership to teen services at Cedar Mill Community Library.

Career Programming

careerprogrammingfortodaysteens

More and more libraries are implementing programs that support teens transitioning from high school to college, careers, and independent living. You have probably heard about or even implemented adulting 101 programs, college test prep classes, and volunteer programs designed more like jobs for which teens have to apply and interview. Have you considered focusing on nontraditional and vocational (trade school) alternatives?

Four year colleges and universities are too expensive for many teens and increasingly competitive to get into. Fewer people are going into trades that require mid-level skills while opportunities in these fields are growing. Many of these careers pay better than those only require a high school diploma, and some of them pay really well.

You can learn more about these trends and relevant library program ideas in Career Programming for Today’s Teens: Exploring Nontraditional and Vocational Alternatives by Amy Wyckoff and Marie Harris. To get you started, I recommend the following online resources:

What is Beaverton City Library doing for teens? By Ian Duncanson

BeavertonCityLibrary

Beaverton City Library is currently looking into the possibility of putting together a spring Teen Job Fair in conjunction with Worksource Oregon and a representative from the Oregon State University Extension Service. We last offered job fairs for teens around 2009 and 2010 and have been eager to bring them back for a number of years. I’m aiming to structure the fair like our big annual Family Resource Fair with potential employers tabling rather than community organizations.

We had a fantastic response when we did this program in the past. We have had requests for this off and on. We have had good luck with other college and job prep events for teens and are hoping for the same with this event.

[Here are some tips for other libraries who want to try a Teen Job Fair]

  1. A community partner (or partners) is essential, especially when it comes to contacting potential employers who might want to table at your event.
  2. Start planning EARLY, 5-6 months in advance and before you do any advertising or announcements.
  3. Create a streamlined application form that potential employers will fill out to apply for a table. This will help make the even seem more official and cement commitments to participate more than simple email or oral community will. I am happy to share a draft of the form we’re using if you would like to adapt it.
  4. Create a small brochure/map of the room for attendees showing them where all of the tables are.

[In the past, attendance has been] pretty good, but we could always do better! As I mentioned before, we have had good luck with college prep and practice tests. All of the summer and spring break programs have our best attendance. During the school year I focus on my Teen Library Council and events with them, two writing contests (we generally get 150-250 entries for these), and our big annual Teen Art Show which draws between 500 and 700.

Getting the word out is always a challenge, as is keeping up with fast-moving trends and devising new programs that will draw a crown. I’m fortunate to be at a library that is so supportive of services for teens!

Written by Ian Duncanson

 

Beaverton City Library’s 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Washington
  • Population: 141,671
  • Registered borrowers: 63,722
  • Total library visits: 821,233
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 63
  • Total paid staff: 68.35

Learn more about Beaverton City Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

 

What is Klamath County Library doing for teens? By Stephanie Goodwin

In recent years, the Klamath County Library has struggled with getting teens involved.  It’s not unusual for us to get 20 or more teens in the library after school, but they are not interested in taking part in any activity we plan even when it’s something they suggest we do.  About 2 years ago I read about the Breakout EDU escape the room kit and thought this would be a fun addition to our library so ordered one.  It didn’t take long for my staff to begin writing their own mysteries and doing special after hours dinner for our teens.  The teens have to pre-register and we limit our participation to 10-15 teens.  They are encouraged to dress up either as a specific character, in a certain time period, or just in their fanciest.  For those who don’t come dressed up we have a box of random items they can use.  Our mysteries have been everything from vampires, to Dr. Diabolical infecting the world, and everything in between.

We have had a great response to this program from our teens.  Often they request we do it every Friday night instead of the monthly/bimonthly schedule we are currently following.  Some of our teens are very creative and come dressed up and others just come for the pizza.  In the end, they are learning how to work in a team (often unsuccessfully), use the library, and tune their critical thinking skills.

A few things we have learned from doing these programs is

  1. A smaller group is better
  2. Have 1 library staff member who is a lifeline to help teens solve the puzzles. Typically teens can ask 3 questions.
  3. Teens do not always catch on as fast as we think they should. The first few we did were way too hard.  We have had to make the puzzles easier.

Written by Stephanie Goodwin

 

Klamath County Library’s 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Klamath
  • Population: 67,410
  • Registered borrowers: 38,617
  • Total library visits: 315,231
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 52
  • Total paid staff: 33.36

Learn more about Klamath County Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

 

What is Creswell Library doing for teens? By Nick Caum

CreswellLibrary

Two Fridays a month teens gather in our little library to play Dungeons and Dragons. We call our program Teen Tabletop. While this may seem like a complete waste of time to many, the program is actually wonderful at developing four key skills identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Those skills are collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, also referred to as the 4CS. Perhaps the biggest gain for me is the face to face interaction that the game requires.

Teens have responded by spending a ton of time in the library. Seriously, they are here using our books and chatting about their D&D grams. We’ve also had a lot of new teens join the library community using the D&D program as their gateway which is reflected across the board in teen programming attendance. The program has also facilitated the development of lasting relationships between library staff running the program and the teens participating. The popularity of the program has increased dramatically, when we first started we had six teens attending, we now consistently have 20+ teens at each event.

5 tips and lessons learned:

  1. Know what you are doing. Don’t try to fake it, play the game first or find someone in your community who will help facilitate the program. There may even be a teen or two who can help out!
  2. Make the teens stick to the rule book. At least while they learn to play, then let them do whatever they want.
  3. Play with the teens. This is a wonderful way to develop lasting relationships.
  4. Pencils. Get those things on Subscribe and Save because they are going to disappear like ice on a hot day. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it just happens.
  5. Let them be silly. This is a great chance for teens to be silly and creative and themselves. This is the chance they have to do all the things that race through their minds through the school week that they know they shouldn’t do.

Written by Nick Caum

 

Creswell Library’s (Lane Library District) 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Lane
  • Population: 8,434
  • Registered borrowers: 2,781
  • Total library visits: 84,601
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 45
  • Total paid staff: 3.70

Learn more about Creswell Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

What is Milton-Freewater Public Library doing for teens? By Rhina Barahona

Milton-FreewaterLibrary

Milton-Freewater Public Library has just started a new monthly teen craft night. The craft night consists of doing activities such as painting, jewelry making and many other fun projects. The teens are able to let loose and use their creativity to make something of their own while having a good time with other teens and making new friends.

The teens responded very positively. They were excited that finally there was something for teens to do and they really liked the projects that I had suggested. The parents were very excited as well to see their teens wanting to come to the library for this event.

Before starting a teen program you should:

  • Build relationships with the older kids that come to the library.
  • As for their opinions about what they would like to see done.
  • Ask them questions to make them feel like they are contributing to the program.
  • When you start the program advertise it throughout the library and online. Remind older kids that are checking out books about the new program and let them know what it’s about.

Written by Rhina Barahona

 

Milton-Freewater Public Library’s 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Umatilla
  • Population: 9,872
  • Registered borrowers: 4,033
  • Total library visits: 30,000
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 48
  • Total paid staff: 3.96

Learn more about Milton-Freewater Public Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

OYAN Review: OASL Conference

This post is an article from the Summer 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Kristy Kemper Hodge at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

October 2017 was my first foray into OASL. It. Was. Incredible. There were amazing and inspiring authors, as well as passionate and inspiring librarians, sharing their expertise, secrets, and awesomeness.

Jason Reynolds Author Talk

We published a post about this earlier!

Stranger Things: Middle School Programming
Presented by Lori Lieberman, Library Media Specialist, West Sylvan Middle School and Da Vinci Arts Middle School (Portland)

I always appreciate a conference session that is both inspiring and actionable; where I can take away concrete ideas to implement as soon as I return to my library. Lori Lieberman’s Stranger Things presentation was just that! She presented all sorts of low-cost and awesome displays, programs, and games that she’s successfully used with her middle school students. Here’s a list (and some photos) of those ideas!

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