We’re up to our eyeballs in fun in Teen Central. Rather than simply telling you which activities we are doing, I’d like to tell you why we are doing them. You can find the activities on the event calendar. The staff at Teen Central care deeply about youth literacy and development. But if we are so serious about reading, why do we offer so many fun crafting and gaming events? Evidence suggests that many activities beyond reading improve literacy. These events bring more teens into the library, which ultimately increases circulation and reading among young adults. The trend toward the use of public libraries as learning spaces beyond just books is taking the world by storm for a reason. I want to provide you with some resources that might help explain the importance of teen programming and dedicated teen spaces in public libraries.
For many years libraries failed to attract teens. As their information and entertainment options increased, Teens visited the library less often and checked out fewer books than any other age group. By offering fun events and comfortable social spaces, libraries have reversed that trend, leading to years of growth in the circulation of Young Adult books.
In 2007 the library checked out 9,475 Young Adult books. Last year we checked out 35,902. Since Teen Central opened, we have more than tripled book checkouts to Young Adults! Teen Central is a comfortable social space that we fill with fun, engaging, and creative activities.
Focus on improving literacy does not stop when children reach adolescence. The library is a valuable community resource for those who will soon be adults in our community. Let’s give them every chance we can to succeed.
Resources for Parents and Teachers: