Programs for Kids & Teens

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Great Ideas for Programming for Kids & Teens

Teen Advisory Group Allows teens to be involved with and have a voice in their library. Encourages communication between teens and librarians, and allows teens to provide input as to what they'd like to see in the way of programming, events, or collection additions in the library that they frequently use.

Teen Advisory Group Tips Go to the teens with a passive program to introduce the public library in a non-threatening manner. I go to the high school once or twice a month and set up a table outside the cafeteria during the lunch hour. On the table I have information about programs, discarded books that the teens can take for their mandatory 20-minutes of reading in class, and sometimes a guessing game with a ballot box, and often some hard candies. It was scary to do at first, but the teens responded really well, and now they come to the table to ask what is going on. From there, we were able to form a relationship with the teens -- and held the Public Library Teen Advisory meetings during lunch, at the school until things were more established. We are a small town, with one high school so it works.

YouMedia Youmedia is a digital learning initiative for high school-aged teens, designed to motivate youth to create, innovate and active learners in digital and traditional media. YouMedia is considered a “new Media” source thanks to the basic idealogy of Mizuko Ito a cultural anthropologist at the University of California-Irvine who in 2006 studied how teens use “new media”. Three years after the experiment her team concluded that most kids shift between three stages of consumption and creating media such as composing music, editing photos or shooting a video. YouMedia was designed as a “hanging out” space, where anything is possible and creativity is everywhere. The YouMedia experiment first begin in Chicago.

The Chicago YouMedia- YouMedia in Chicago is an experimental project between the Chicago Public Library, Depaul University and the Digital Youth Network. Youmedia is a digital learning initiative for high school-aged teens. The Chicago Public Library was the first to launch this initiative with the support of the e John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.YouMedia is physically located at the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. The Chicago YouMedia space is a 21 Century teen learning space. It is considered a digital Media Lab. YouMedia teen participants have access to librarians and library staff who participate with the in technology. Teen participants have also access to mentors and instructors. The mentors and instructors have expertise in the tools, in tapping into creativity, or in just listening to the teens. The goals are to help teens find their voices, their talent by hanging out, exploring and discovering the use of technology. It is also serves to help youth become more social and unites them through digital media.

The Miami YouMedia - YouMedia made its way into the Miami-Dade County Public Library System during the Fall of 2011. YouMedia was first introduced in Chicago Public Libraries and because of its overwhelming success the Knight Foundation has agreed to provide Miami-Dade County Public Libraries with $805,755 in order to fund the installation of a YOUMedia program at North Dade Regional Library. YouMedia requires teens being able to use technology but also requires that they be given structure, guidance, and training. Library staff and technology specialist are vital to the success and growth of the YouMedia program. YouMedia allows teens to learn technology related skills that go beyond word processing and passive internet browsing. YouMedia is designed to provide access to technologies that teens would not be exposed to in the hopes of better promoting information literacy. To see some videos on Youmedia please click on the link to Chicago YouMedia [1]and to Miami YouMedia [2].

Success Stories

Boys' and Girls' Summer Book Groups: A Success Story and What We Learned

At my rural branch library (Greene County Branch of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Virginia) we've had a boy's summer book group for two summers and a corresponding girl's group for one summer. These were half book groups and half activity clubs...

Youth Services Success with Boys' Program

I am absolutely new to this (wikis, THIS wiki), but would like to start out by saying I'm a NON-LIBRARIAN ("clerk" and "library assistant" are job titles I've held), working 20+ years in public libraries, mainly in Youth Services. I've been a long-time library user (long before working in one) and am a parent of grown children (thus, the time to participate in this wiki, and take classes toward an LTA certificate).

Over the years, getting kids (especially grade school age boys) to read for pleasure (and to come to the library for programming) has been a challenge. This year, my library was awarded a grant for the purpose of bringing boys back to books.

The programming involved hands-on use of "building" materials, such as Lincoln Logs, erector sets, and a program (hired-out) involving designing your own video game. WOW! Was it ever successful (and yes, girls were included). We purchased some books to go with the programs (such as the "Wright Three" series as well as books about Frank Lloyd Wright, when we hosted an architect & people from the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust to talk and demonstrate building techniques using Froebel blocks, etc.). Parents (and kids) are still talking about our programs and hoping for more.

I'd be interested to hear other success stories involving boys and books and libraries. -- Alice Majka

Community Mural

We developed a beautiful mural with teens for a community project. We surveyed the public for suggestions, hired a muralist to create and guide the process, found teens through one of the charter schools, requested funds through our friends program and developed and created the mural over a period of about three or four months. We walked the teens through the project, starting with art books and ideas and then mural instruction. The teens got to be a part of a community project for the library, and the library and community got a new mural.

Blogs/Websites to Watch

  • EZ Library Program Database from the Mid-Hudson Library System.

The Imaginary Librarian a Blog filled with YA Programming Ideas, Pictures and Instuctables

S'More Stuff Swathmore Public Library Programs a blog that is valuable for the scope of programming at a small library with a smaller budget. A wonderful template to follow for programming for children with links to sign-up forms and calendars.

[3] a collaborative Pintrest Board discussing teen programming in libraries. YouMedia