ethompson at cclsd.org ethompson at cclsd.org
Tue Sep 1 15:35:07 PDT 2009

As we plan for a new expansion of our library, we continue to look for ways to keep
our 'tweens and teens using the library.  We currently have a YA collection of print
& audio materials with tables & chairs.  The collections circulate and YAs do use
the area, but not as much as they use other areas of the library - such as the
technology center and general stacks.  While the entire library has wireless
capabilities, we plan to locate internet stations in the new area along with more
appealing casual and study seating arrangements.  As is often the case, plans
formulated some time ago are now being reconsidered
Staff observations in their
travels to other libraries prompt me to ask these questions to those of you who have
successfully created YA havens in your libraries:

What age group frequents the YA area?

What does your YA space entail? (computer/Internet stations, laptop plug-ins,
charging stations, materials collection, games, group study areas, casual seating,

For what purposes do YAs use the YA space?
	Computer use, homework, reading, socializing

Is the area staffed?        By a YA librarian?

Do YAs (or subgroups) congregate elsewhere in the library instead?

What have you found effective in making the YA area appealing and engaging to young

I have been to several libraries with lovely YA areas, but very few actual YA users.
 I believe this could be attributed to many things (besides time of day) - filtered
internet; not cool to expect middle schoolers and high schoolers to hang in same
space; lack of staff (or presence of!); location of YA area; and who knows what

Anyway, having been a YA advocate throughout my career, I am always pushing for
quality service for this demographic.  Programming and outreach attempts have been
met with tepid enthusiasm, yet the teens ARE here, using the library. Am I out of
touch?  I've been pushing for a revamp and expansion of this area, but I don't want
to "build it" and find out "they WON'T come!"

Please share your experiences! Any words of wisdom, sage advice, voices of
experience, or relevant fodder greatly appreciated!

Ellen Thompson, Assistant Director
Coos Bay Public Library
525 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
(541) 269-1101 x228

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