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You can create a teen space with the resources you have out of a single book shelf, wall, row, or entire room! All libraries, big and tiniest of tiny, need a teen space of some kind.

Let’s face it. There are too many options for and demands on a teenager’s time. Transportation is another issue. So why give them a space? Because libraries are inclusive, supportive, a safe haven, a learning center, a resource center and more.
You’ve seen it, libraries change and save lives.

The first step to reaching a new library user is showing them they belong. A simple handmade Teen Area sign can make all the difference!

Ideas for refreshing your space

  • Weed! Remove older/outdated material.
  • Rearrange furniture!
  • Ask donors for a couch cover… or a couch!
  • Add a sign to mark the area as a teen space. Make sure it is vibrant and visible.
  • Consider adding some color to the space. A colorful wall (you can always repaint), posters, fun colored furniture.
  • Add Signage to Welcome phone users to charge their phones.
  • Use chalkboard paint to create a doodle space using an endcap, old picture frame, piece of plywood, or a wall!
  • FEEDBACK: Leave out pieces of paper asking teens what they want in their space.
  • Leave out book order catalogs for teens to circle what they want.
  • Leave out SOMETHING for them to kill time with all week: makerspace kits, coloring sheets, pop culture word searches, scavenger hunts on different topics, feedback sheets (see above), book catalogs to circle (see above) for those hanging out in the space. Or those waiting for their younger siblings attending programs. All of these activities count as programs except the feedback sheets and book purchasing recommendations!
  • Go to the schools during lunch or to a classroom to ask what they want in their space. Ask for volunteers even if they can do the tasks without visiting!

Ready-to-use Printables

YALSA Teen Space Guidelines

  • Solicit teen feedback and input in the design and creation of the teen space.
    • Talk to library users, visit school lunches and set up a booth, social media, direct email to teachers with survey…
  • Provide a library environment that encourages emotional, social and intellectual development of teens.
    • Purchasing, weeding, reading recommendation lists on topics
    • PRINT THESE READY-MADE LISTS ON COLORFUL PAPER
      • LGBTQ+
      • Road Trips
      • Pregnancy
      • Mental Health
      • Graduation
      • College Prep
    • Provide a library space for teens that reflects the community in which they live.
    • Provide and promote materials that support the educational and leisure needs of teens.
    • Ensure the teen space has appropriate acceptable use and age policies to make teens feel welcome and safe.
      • Gently escort adults etc. from the teen area during teen times.
    • Provide furniture and technology that is practical yet adaptive.
      • Buy or ask for a donated comfortable couch/chair.
      • Advocate for a computer and/or other technology or activities.
    • Ensure content, access and use is flexible and adaptive.
      • ADA Law, Web Accessibility, multiple formats
    • Ensure the virtual space reflects 21st century learning standards.
      • How does your website look? Are your teen resources and programs lumped in with children’s programming?
    • Provide digital resources for teens that meet their unique and specific needs.

 

Coming Soon: Teen Talk: Teen Spaces Part 2 (go to the teens for ideas)
Submitted by Anne Hamland