Community College


Earlier this year, I wrote about nontraditional and vocational post-high school options. The Spring 2019 edition of the office journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association is the community college issues.

While are several good articles worth reading I want to discuss “Next Steps: Preparing Teens for Growth and Success at Community College” by Camila Jenkin, (pages 19-4). This article provides a few idea about how teen librarians and high school librarians might support older high school students transition to community college specifically. However, a lot of the suggestions are relevant to any type of college or university experience and some are also relevant to teens who go to trade school or enter the workforce after high school.

  • Talk with teen about who and how to ask for help, providing real life examples.
  • Invite current college students to be on a panel to discuss their college experience; be sure to include more than one first-generation student.
  • Talk with teen about how they find information, including the Internet and Library of Congress classification system.
  • Foster growth mindset thinking. “Many teens have been socialized to believe that they bring nothing of value.” Help them realize the valuable experiences and skills that they bring any college class… or trade school or job.
  • Encourage teens to join a club, study group, or similar soon after they start college—it can be more difficult for community college students to develop a social/support network at college and feel part of college life.
  • Learn about the options your local community college provides to students for getting text books—they are very expensive—and share that information with teens. They need to know their options before they start school, including Fair Use copyright, so they know what to do the first week off college when they don’t have their books yet.

Career Programming


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 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


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.


Running a Teen Crafting Club at the Library

By Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library-Hollywood


Teen from Tualatin's "Make it @ the Library" club.

Teen from Tualatin’s “Make it @ the Library” club.

Whilst in the throes of hosting Lego Club mayhem where 4-8 year-olds were building madly, I got pulled out of the program to answer a question from a young teen. She wanted to know where the library clubs were for her. She saw we had the Lego Club for kids, she felt too young and intimidated to join either the Teen Council or Teen Book Council, and Anime Club just wasn’t her thing. She wanted something at the library where she could come make or do things like crafts or maker-type things on a regular basis too. It was a good question.

In the spirit of Connected Learning and responding to the interests of your teens, and knowing the importance of HOMAGO (hanging out, messing around, and geeking out), I felt that it was time to seriously considering adding something like this for those teens and tweens that wanted a regular program where they had laid back time with others while doing something with their hands. So I asked the great OYAN brain to see what they were doing, and what sage advice they had to share.

Aimee Meuchel at Tualatin Public Library has a monthly “Make It @ the Library.” Successes in the group have been to “put out a bunch of duct tape and let them go crazy.” She has also gotten different cookies/candies with frosting and had them make monsters. Upcoming she will have them do fusible beads, and jewelry making with beads, embroidery floss, and other items. It is drop-in that runs for 2 hours. She says, “Don’t plan too much.  Give them materials and let them create.” Her one thing that didn’t turn out so well was snowglobes.

Lisa Elliott and Jaime Thoreson at the Tigard Public Library do a teen “Random” club every summer at the library. This summer they are doing a Fandom Club where crafts will be integrated. They meet every week for a two-hour stretch for 5-6 weeks. Things that they have done in the past include mustache crafts, mini-polymer food charms, goth socks, doodle bots, washi tape, “neon” signs, wire rings and pendants, buttons, and book making.

Teen showing her duct tape bag from Tualatin's "Make it @ the Library" club.

Teen showing her duct tape bag from Tualatin’s “Make it @ the Library” club.

Lisa says that

“The consistency is great to bring in a group of regular kids. Too much structure scared away teens who were not interested in the craft.”

Other advice was,

“Teens especially dig crafts that they will use- things they will wear, give as gifts, etc. We always try to give them something that will feel substantial, not cheap or junky. It can be tricky planning for the full spectrum of teen motor skills, from the still-developing 6th grader to the very meticulous 12th grader. It’s best if you can use a space where they can socialize freely. They will likely come up with something completely different and much more awesome than you had planned.”

Kristy Kemper-Hodge at the Corvallis Public Library has had great success with perler beads (fuse beads) and patterns she’s pulled from Pinterest and printed for the kids. Felties made with felt and embroidery thread have also been a hit. She finds that putting out the same materials each time is a little boring, so she works on trying to offer a variety of projects. She started offering a monthly 1.5 hour crafting program for teens and had a small, regular group who’d come. In effort to draw a bigger crowd she combined the crafting program with gaming (video games and tabletop/board games) and now does it twice a month. Upcoming projects are blackout poetry, turning perler creations into jewelry and keychains, and stenciling.

I haven’t gotten a crafting club going yet, but I have started putting out materials during our monthly Anime Club. We have made Sootballs, valentine’s, buttons, and paper crafts. I have noticed that teens are just a bit more relaxed when there is the option to have something to do with their hands.


From Puppets to YouTube in 2 Hours: Stop Motion Movies for Teens

By Barratt Miller, Crook County Library


Want to do some sort of tech-y, maker-y program for your teens but have limited time, money, and fancy supplies? Never fear! You, too, can get a room full of teens to make 30-second stop motion movies in a single 2-hour program using supplies you probably already have on hand.

What is a stop motion movie, you ask? The formal definition is “a filming technique used in animation, in which the camera is stopped after filming each frame or every few frames so as to allow objects within the scene, such as clay figures or paper cutouts, to be adjusted for the following frame.” For our purposes, it’s movie-making using photographs instead of video footage.

I don’t have room to include the full lesson plan or song clips in this article. If you want to use any of my resources, shoot me an e-mail at and I’ll send the files your way! [Files are available on the OYAN Blog:]

Step 1: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation…and Set Some Limitations

I modified the lesson plan from a workshop I attended in grad school. Luckily for you, all of the resources have been put online at:

Since it’s easy to get carried away with time-intensive activities like arguing over the plot or choosing the perfect soundtrack, I set some limitations to keep the teens on track:

Each person chose ONE character for the film. We used the puppets from our children’s storytime collection and borrowed action figures from other staff members.

Films had to be 30-seconds or less. To keep the plot simple, I gave the teens a worksheet that asked: where do you character start, where do they end, and how do they get there?

 I preselected the music. Prior to the program, I used Jamendo ( to find Creative Commons-licensed music and used Audacity ( to edit the songs into 30-second clips.

No dialogue or video clips allowed. While these elements could have been used in the program, having too many options makes it easy to get distracted. Keeping it simple kept everyone on schedule.

Prep your tech. I made sure all of our computers were pre-loaded with the audio files and Windows MovieMaker so that the teens could start editing their films as soon as they were done taking photos. It also helps to make a practice video so you can help the teens with the editing process. If you want to post the videos online, you’ll also need to sign up for a free YouTube account.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

Luckily, the supply list for this program is pretty straightforward. You’ll need:

Characters. Toys! We used puppets from the children’s storytime collection and action figures on loan from other staff members. You could also pick up toys from the thrift store, order tiny dinosaurs from Oriental Trading, or ask teens to bring their own.

Craft Supplies. Index cards, pencils, plot worksheets, construction paper, scissors, string. We used some of the supplies for activities and some were available to create speech bubbles and scenery. String (especially fishing line) allows the teens to manipulate their characters for effects like flying.

Technology. Cameras or some sort of picture-taking device. Computers loaded with Windows MovieMaker. Audio files for the soundtrack, preferably loaded onto a flash drive. A YouTube account if you want to post your videos online. We had a camera, an iPod, and an iPad available but all of the teens used their own cameras or smartphones. (If you ask teens to bring their own tech, make sure they also bring connecting cables so you can upload the photos onto the computer!)

Step 3: Stick to the Plan

6:30-6:45 PM: Introductions. What is stop motion? Watch Penguin’Stuff video.

6:45-7:00 PM: What is a character? Choose a character. Write the character’s name and one interesting fact about them on an index card. With your group, choose a setting for your film.

7:00-7:15 PM: What is mood? Listen to music samples and choose your mood. What is plot? Fill out plot worksheet with your group.

7:15-7:45 PM: Spend up to 10 minutes doing a walkthrough to work out any bugs before you start taking pictures. Take your photos.

7:45-8:15 PM: Import your photos into Windows MovieMaker. Import your soundtrack. Edit the film, adjusting the length of the photo display time to match the music.  Save movie (Save movie arrow_310_1 For high definition display saves it as a YouTube compatible file, not a MovieMaker file) and post to YouTube.

8:15-8:30 PM: Watch movies. Clean up.


The short films are fairly basic but impressive nonetheless! Our teen’s produced three 30-second masterpieces:

Best of all, teens can use their newfound knowledge to make more complex stop motion films using their smartphones and free video-editing software.


Early Literacy in Action with Teen Parents

By Dawn Borgardt, Beaverton City Library

Alex Bushue is the Director of Continuing Education for Young Parents (CEYP) at the Merlo Station High School in Beaverton. She and I have been working to demonstrate the benefits of early literacy to teen parents for the last several years with varied success. This year, using Ready to Read grant funds and the Every Child Ready to Read 2 curriculum, Alex and I revolutionized our approach and delivered an amazing new program drawing on the principles of active learning.

Alex devised a 6-week course devoted to early literacy that combined traditional academic learning with hands-on experience.  The class consisted of 12 teen parents who read scientific articles about br2015 CEYP storytime 1ain development and the importance of early literacy.  Prior to this class, the teen parents assisted with local Kindergarten classes to get a feel for what Kindergarten readiness actually looks like.  Finally, I visited once a week for 5 weeks to share tips and apply them during in-class storytime with the teen parents and kids.

Literacy book choices

Literacy book choices

Some of the key elements of the course include:

  • Every week each child got a new awesome, age-appropriate book to add to their home library.
  • Parents each had the chance to learn a song and lead the group in that song during storytime.
  • Each parent created a unique picture book for their child, inspired by examples we looked at as a class. (Published using Pintsized Productions)
  • Parents meticulously filled out daily reading logs detailing how they read, played, talked, sang, and wrote with their children on a daily basis.

What was so effective about this partnership was that we not only talked about early literacy, we practiced it. THIS IS THE AWESOME PART.  The students devoured the scientific articles about literacy and brain development, and that motivated them to apply what they learned during our weekly storytimes.  The babies and toddlers quickly picked up on the fun routine, which included putting felt apples on a tree to begin and ended with parents blowing bubbles with their babies (which naturally encouraged conversation and making up fun games – we even wrote a bubble rhyme as a group).  Each week after the teens took their kids back to daycare, Alex and I debriefed with the teens, talking about what went well and what was difficult, and how the activities aligned with what they were learning about early literacy and child development.

At the end of the 6-week course, teen parents were checking out eBooks on their own phones to read in their leisure time. Several teens have started visiting the library for programs and storytimes as well.   “It was truly remarkable to see them so excited about brain development.  The teens, who are often reluctant learners, were begging for more articles, more storytime with their kids, more books, and more read-alouds by Dawn.  This class was a real game changer for many of these teens, and as a result, their babies” notes Alex.

As one teen wrote in her evaluation “Because of you I feel like my child and I have 2015 CEYP storytime 2bonded more through reading.”  Another student echoed that sentiment saying, “I wish we could keep on doing in class storytime!”  By the end of the course, every student reported reading to their child at least 15 minutes each day. They were motivated by what they learned and practiced in class and had incorporated it into their lives and the lives of their children.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Alex says that she plans to offer this course annually, and there is already buzz and excitement from students who didn’t get to take it this year – they want to know when it will be their turn for the library lady to come and do storytime and give them books for their babies.

Do you have a teen parenting program in your area?

Do you know the teacher/director/principal?

If you’d like more information about the CEYP/Beaverton City Library partnership, please contact

Dawn ( or

Alex (, we would love to share resources and strategies!