Teens in the Library
“Why don’t we just turn the library into an arcade!?”
I tend to get this response from the more, umm, veteran professionals when I bring up gaming programs in the library. Truth is, I’ve gotten similar cynicism for other non-traditional teen programs as well (and I know I am not alone). I’m not completely sure what the issue is but it seems an odd reaction. Why hate programs that bring people into the library?
Or is the issue that these programs bring teens in the library?
Teens are not always seen as an asset in the library community and, sometimes, they are viewed as an outright nuisance among our co-workers. At my previous job, also as a YA Librarian, I had several co-workers flat out state “they do not work with teens.” In fact, a great crux in my job is battling for our teens’ rights to be wherever they please in a library.
I hear many of my cohorts express the same difficulties.
But why teens? Why teen programs? Why the feeling that teens have no place in the library?
When I asked my coworkers why they had issues with teens, I heard a lot of the same answers. When I asked them what their greatest frustrations were with patrons in general, I heard pretty much the same answers as before.
The following is a list of general complaints I have heard. As you read them, ask how many of these are exclusively teen issues and how many actually apply to the general patron population:
They are loud
They are rude
They use bad language
They only come here to use computers
They only come here to rent videos
They look at inappropriate sites
They steal books
They only read magazines
They sleep in the library
They disrupt other patrons
Feel free to add your own list, but ask yourself… are any of these really just teen issues?