Marketing Teen Services to Non Teen Services Staff, A Teen Services Plan Example
In the previous note Talking with Non Teen Services Staff About Teen Services, part 1, we discussed the importance of having a Teen Services outline to train incoming staff and use as a background for communicating with all staff. We also discussed how communication is a marketing tool. The final basic element we discussed was a Teen Services outline; a road map for you and staff that discusses why you do what you do. A general teen services outline example follows . . .
For the purposes of teen programming and services, the library defines teens as anyone entering grade 6 through the completion of grade 12 in accordance with the local school district.
Understanding Teen Patrons
The teenage years are a time of great change. Teens are trying on a variety of roles and determining their identity, they are peer oriented, becoming more independent, and developing a stronger sense of right and wrong. Hormones cause a variety of changes. In addition, research indicates that teenagers use a different part of their brains; they literally think differently than adults do. For information on the teenage brain and how it influences behavior, please visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teenage-brain-a-work-in-progress-fact-sheet/index.shtml
Goals and Objectives of Teen Services
- To create developmentally appropriate and appealing collections, services, and opportunities for teens in our community
- To meet the developmental, emotional, social, educational, entertainment and information needs of teens in our community
- To introduce teens to the library and develop lifelong library users and supporters
- To provide unique experiences for teens that are developmentally appropriate and provide social opportunities for teens to interact with their peer group. These positive experiences help teens develop positive attitudes about the library.
Programming and Contests
Throughout the year we offer a variety of programs and contests. All programs and contests vary to meet the diverse needs and interests of teens grades 6-12. There is a special emphasis on the Teen Summer Reading Club each summer and Teen Read Week which is the third week in October. (http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/teenreading.htm)
General Notes about Programming
- Hands on, interactive programs, such as crafts, games and contests, are more popular than static programs such as speakers.
- Parents are allowed to stay with their teens during programs. However, younger siblings and adults without teenage children are not permitted to attend to help maintain the safety and enjoyment of teens participating in the program and to maximize the use of limited space.
- Contests are a type of self-directed program that allows teens to work at their own pace while allowing them the opportunity to explore library resources, develop research skills, and cultivate their talents.
Registering for Programs and Turning in Contests
- Some programs may require registration. This is indicated on the fliers and all registration takes place at the Reference Desk. Please get complete information, including name, grade, telephone number and how they found out about the program, when registering teen patrons.
- Patrons are called the weekend before a program to verify they are still planning to attend.
- If registration is full, up to 10 patrons will be placed on a waiting list. These patrons will be notified the day of the program if space becomes available to them.
- All contests are turned in at the Reference desk. They will not be accepted after closing time on the date indicated on the contest.
During the school year we offer a Teen CoffeeHouse on Tuesdays after school from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. This has proven to be a popular program in the past. We have an average of 60 teens participate on a weekly basis. Teens are invited to hang out, play games or work on their homework and snacks are offered.
Outreach to the Schools
We endeavor to reach our target audience during the school year through the public school system. This allows the greatest opportunity to reach a large group of teens with the least amount of cost. Some of the ways we utilize the school include:
- The faxing of announcements to all schools in the county for upcoming programs, etc.
- School visits
- Working with teachers to produce bibliographies, etc. on specific units or topics of interest to teens or for curriculum support.
- Teacher services
A Note about Booktalking
A booktalk is a 30 second to 2 minute introduction to a book. A dramatic presentation is used to introduce teens to a book and give them just enough information to make them want to check out the book and find out what happened.
- A minimum of 3 weeks notice is necessary to schedule a booktalk visit
- All teachers must talk to the Teen Services Librarian to schedule booktalks
By Neil Gaiman
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring. In Coraline’s new house there are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own. Only it’s different . . .
By Lois Lowry
Welcome to the community. It is perfect. Everything is under complete control. There is no war, no fear, no pain. And there are no choices. Are you willing to sacrifice freedom for perfection?
What the students say about booktalks:
- “If it wasn’t for you, I would have lost the opportunity to read a lot of great books”
- “You inspire us to read”
- “I liked hearing about the books you brought”
- “Thanks for bringing us books . . . It really helped us explore our horizons”
- “You get me involved in books”
- “Thank you for coming to our school and making the library seem fun to the people that don’t usually go”
Teen Readers Advisory
Teens today live in a very visual age and utilize technology more than previous generations. It is an increasing struggle to attract teens to the print medium of the book. All Reference staff provides basic RA services to teens. You can utilize the RA pamphlets provided in the teen area as well as various resources online. When helping teens select books please remember:
- Try to provide the teen readers with a couple of choices. Teens who choose books on their own are more likely to read the entire book and enjoy the reading experience.
- Use terminology such as, “other teens have enjoyed”, “is popular” to appeal to teen’s interest.
Helping Teens Find and Select Books
- Check on the library blog for reading lists on a variety of topics, including Inspirational fiction, Historical fiction, books for guys and books for girls as well as books recommended by grade level.
- Read the inside front cover or back cover for a brief synopsis of the book. Be sure to pay attention to the topics of the book and the age of the characters. Books with younger teen characters or middle school settings will deal with situations and subject matters common among this age group. Similarly, books dealing with older teen characters and high school settings will deal with situations and subject matters common among this age group.
- Take a few moments to look up books you are interested in the library’s catalog. When you find the title you are looking for select “details” and you can find subject headings, a brief summary and sometimes excerpts are provided.
- Investigate titles by reading book reviews online. Book reviews can be found at Amazon .com or Barnes and Noble.com. Reviews provided are by professional journals, such as the School Library Journal, and other readers, often teens. VOYA.com is a journal that deals exclusively with book titles of interest to teens.
Teen Web Page
Teens today are very connected. The teen web page seeks to be a virtual library for teens in our community. We utilize the following technology to help meet the interests of our teen patrons:
- The Teen webpage – basic program information
- The Teen Blog – book reviews, basic program information, photos, links, etc.
- The Teen Scene Facebook page – announcements of upcoming programs or books, daily communication
The teen collection currently focuses on fiction, graphic novels and audio books. There is a small, focused collection of teen nonfiction that covers spirituality, friendship and peer relations, crafts, etc. Basic school (academic support) information is interfiled with the adult nonfiction so that teens can find a wide variety of academic resources in one location.
Teens interests and abilities are as varied as any other age group, and our collection reflects that. The library’s policy maintains an adherence to intellectual freedom standards and supports the right of the parent to guide their teen’s reading selections, as stated in the library’s policy. If there are any concerns about materials in the teen area, please follow the library’s materials challenge policy.
Merchandising (Shelving) in the Teen Area
Teens are visual and we strive to maximize our face out displays to promote materials and increase circulation. Please see the following training sheet to see what the teen area should look like.
|A merchandising example from Marion Public Library
Miscellaneous Information about Teen Services
- Parents are responsible for helping their teens select appropriate books. The Library does not endorse specific titles, nor does it act in loco parentis.
- If you notice that a lot of teens are requesting a book title or asking for specific types of information to complete an assignment, please pass this information along to the Teen Services librarian. This information is useful to us in collection development, the future development of programs and the development of research aids such as pathfinders and booklists.
- If a teacher, school or organization calls enquiring for services we do not currently offer, these requests will be evaluated on a case by case scenario depending on time and resources. Please refer these calls to the Teen Services librarian.
Your Role is an Important One!
Every day you will have the opportunity to interact with teens; you help shape their experiences in and opinion of the library. Please take a moment weekly to review the Teen Scene newsletter so you know what we’re doing and how you can help us. We are happy at any time to answer any questions or address any concerns.
Filed under: Communication, Marketing, Staff Development, Teen Services, Training
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network
A Podcast Experiment: SPEED ROUND w/ Marla Frazee, Dan Santat, Doug Salati, and Amina Luqman-Dawson.
Review of the Day: There Was a Party for Langston, King of Letters by Jason Reynolds, ill. Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey
Spider-Man Fake Red | Review
Not the Mermaid or Monster You Knew, a guest post by author Robin Alvarez
The Classroom Bookshelf is Moving