3It all started at a local Teen Empowerment Coalition meeting… Well if you ran something other thanGaming, maybe you would have more teens. I know my daughter would notattend Gaming or anime and manga stuff.Attendance at teen programs isgoing down, and nobody attendedmy annual teen meeting, where teensgive input.MeCommittee Member
4Ummm, all my funding was cut, and I have no time to prepare for programs so I have to keep doing the same thing. Plus, other programs are not cheap to run.Money? All you need is money? I’ve got that for you!MeCommittee Chair
5Adapted for use at the Public Library www.search-institute.org The BackboneSearch Institute Assets for Healthy Growth of AdolescentsAdapted for use at the Public LibraryCommunity values youth—Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.Youth as resources—Young people are given useful roles in the community.Service to others—Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.Adult role models—Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.Youth programs—Young person spends three ormore hours per week in sports, clubs, ororganizations at school and/or in the community.Reading for Pleasure—Young person reads forpleasure three or more hours per week.Planning and decision making—Young personknows how to plan ahead and make choices.Interpersonal Competence—Young person hasempathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.Self-esteem—Young person reports having a highself-esteem.Responsibility—Young person accepts and takespersonal responsibility.Caring—Young person places high value on helping other people.
6Recruitment and Survey March 2012 Approached teens attending events at the libraryIncluded volunteer time to be earned in advertisingMentioned that this would be about taking charge of teen programsProvided food at first meetingUsed survey results to determine popular event ideas and teens voted
7Weeding, Training, Bonding, Meeting Weeded out teens that ONLY wanted volunteer hoursPartnered with SAFE to provide Leadership TrainingExplained Assets to teens (Great Book—Training Peer Helpers by Barbara Varenhorst)Provided training on Interacting with Autistic Teens at Youth ProgramsStarted committee meetings outside of advisor meetings
85 teen heads = 10 adult heads. CommitteesTeens tried to meet on their own—not advised to.Meetings without guidance produced limited results, if any. The teens LOVED meeting though.Laini came up with most of ideas for Hunger Games, and Teen-Run Book Club.Teen input made these events more exciting!5 teen heads = 10 adult heads.ImprovNovember 2012Teen-Run Book ClubJuly 2012Hunger GamesJune and July 2012Frost it! Teens vs. CupcakezOctober 2012
9Change in Expectations-Committees Trained teens in How to Have Meetings and Brainstorm and How to Talk to New PeopleOne committee meeting per month per staff memberTeens brainstorm ideas, staff take ideas, select what will work, and get teen approvalTeens help with program details and have program assignments
10Book—Answering Teens’ Tough Questions by MK Eagle Consider Teen IssuesBook—Answering Teens’ Tough Questions by MK Eagle
11Teen Advisor Pizza, Play, Plan Event A fun event run for the Teen Advisors by Miss Laini and Miss Kim.Plunger and GolfBall WalkQ-Tip WarPreparation for the Wheelbarrow Race
12More Insight, More Success, Growth Improvaganza IIStarting in December, we began to have committee meetings during Advisor meetings again.Some teens were not on committees so we had them do collection development.In January, the Teen Advisors agreed that there needed to be a certain level of commitment in order to be a Teen Advisor.Teen Advisor Agreement created.Teen committee planned for and ran this event independently with just a little help from me.
13Result: Huge increase in attendance and lots of new faces at events. March 2011-February 2012334 teens attended programsMarch 2012 First Teen Advisor MeetingMarch 2012-February teens attendedprogramsAttendance nearly doubled
14EvaluationWhy? To provide backing for change, and to learn if change needs to happen. Why? To determine if more than a few teens are being served or if diverse teens are coming to events. How? Surveys, asking informally, attendance records, input from Teen Advisors Book—Evaluating Teen Services and Programs by Sarah Flowers
15Plans for Future Programs National Popcorn Day with Favorite Youtube VideosExtraterrestrial AbductionDay (heavy on Doctor Who)Life Size Chutes and LaddersThe Hobbit: An EpicAdventureMad Hatter Write-inAnnual Talent ShowGive specifics about qualities of teens on committee, laptop, how minutes drove the meetings, good communication.
16Please me if you would like: Program Outlines List of Program Resources To stay in touch and share ideas!!! I have business cards here. Laini Bostian
18How to Have a Successful Meeting Agenda—a list of what you will discuss at the meeting. If you do not have one ahead of time, make one when all participants arrive. Ideally, this is made in advance and all of the people who will attend the meeting have read it.Choose a leader to run the meetingTake minutes, notes.Pass around a piece of paper for everyone to sign in on—include name, , and phone number.Make sure everyone gets a chance to talk, especially when brainstorming. You work in groups to gather more ideas.Think about how much you are talking—don’t do all the talking, but make sure you are presenting your ideas.Try to get people who are not talking to share their ideas by asking them open ended questions.Summarize what you have discussed so far when the meeting is halfway through—have the person taking minutes read them back.When summarizing, make sure the members of the group feel their opinions or ideas are accurately represented.About 10 minutes before the meeting ends, come to conclusions about what was discussed—you can conclude that you need to discuss or work on certain things more.Assign tasks related to the discussion to different members of the group.Have one person be in charge of contacting group members to make sure they accomplished their tasks.
19How to do Traditional Brainstorming How to brainstorm in a medium-sized groupHave a central person to coordinate the proceedings, introduce the purpose of the brainstorming session and to outline the rules. This person should also ensure the rules are followed and should actively encourage the participants. This person is the facilitator (facilitate = to make easier). Ideally you will then have a brief warm-up on a totally unrelated and fun topic. This will get your creative juices going and help establish a less restrictive mood. Try: Name one thing to do at the beach. The zanier the better! Then, establish the purpose and topic of the actual session. With the purpose and topic established, everyone in the group shouts out their ideas and they are all written down so that they can be analyzed later. The most common method of recording the ideas is on flipcharts (large pads of paper) but it's fine to use a blackboard, overhead projector transparencies, a computer or individual pads of paper. A secretary or dedicated writer can be useful and for larger groups you may need two or three to ensure all ideas are captured.You should all follow the standard brainstorming rules:Postpone and withhold your judgment of ideasEncourage wild and exaggerated ideasQuantity counts at this stage, not qualityBuild on the ideas put forward by othersEvery person and every idea has equal worthIt is essential that you encourage wild ideas from other people and do not criticize them. Not only does it reduce inhibitions in others but it also reduces your inhibitions because you can only put forward your own alternative ideas in a receptive environment.You should record your ideas, however "irrelevant" or "silly" they seem to be. Your initial idea may not work but it may spark off a valid idea in someone elseEncourage those not contributing to speak up.Your role as a participant is twofold:To suggest ideas which will work as solutionsTo suggest ideas which will stimulate solutions in others
20Then start asking for radical ideas, ideas which will work in a strange way and any ideas which just spring to mind for no apparent reason. Write them all down on the flipcharts. As each piece of paper is filled, remove it from the pad and fasten it to the wall so that everyone can see it. Remind people to use other people's ideas as a springboard for their own. Get them to read the current ideas and expand on them radically. Change, warp and exaggerate them and see what further ideas come up. What is the strangest way of solving the problem? Occasionally remind people that you want the ordinary ideas too. They should shout out all of their ideas, not only the interesting ones. Keep telling them how well they are doing when they come up with new ideas, especially when the idea is very weird. Lightly tell the group off if they criticize or sound shocked at the ideas. Encourage and reward all suggestions, radical or not. Try to speed up the ideas so that there is less time for criticism or evaluation. Inevitably there will be awkward silent periods. Try not to highlight this as bad. People need time and space to think. Light conversation to the other participants will help them speak out again and will stop them feeling like they are breaking the silence. Move back to the ideas listed on the flipcharts, pick an interesting one and put that to the group asking them to expand, modify or remodel it. Keep going until the ideas dry up. Stop when you are finished. People may have exhausted their ideas for the moment in an hour, and need a break, or this may be all that is needed. The session can continue on another day if need be.2: How to overcome group-related problems with brainstormingPeople won't lose their inhibitionsIf people aren't losing their inhibitions then it means that the environment is too threatening to them. They believe that their ideas will be analyzed immediately or that they will be judged personally on the quality of the ideas. Solutions:Explain the rules againRemind people that their ideas are also to be used as a stimulus for othersStop people from criticizing. Remember, criticism doesn't just come verbally; it can also come from facial expressions and other body languageHave an amusing warm-up exercise before starting properlyIntroduce people before the sessionIf some people are dominating the session, encourage others to join inGet people to work in smaller groups then join in together later
21Open the session proper by asking for as many ideas and suggestions as possible. Write every one of them down. Tell people to write them down on their own pads of paper if they think they will forget before it can be written down "officially". The same ideas are repeated again and againWhen you keep getting the same answers then you need to change the starting point and stick to it. Often someone has given a superb answer and no one can stop thinking about that idea. Alternatively your participants could be exhausted. Solutions:Acknowledge a previous answer as being very good and that you are looking for something else tooEmphasize a different aspect of the problem to work onHave a break and start off from a different angleSplit the problem into parts and brainstorm each part at a timeGet everyone to stand up and move placesBring in new people from other groups The session doesn't flow naturally and everyone feels uncomfortableThis can be caused by a number of things such as an unhappy group, a domineering participant, a lack of planning and direction, a cynical and judgmental manager, a disbelief in brainstorming or bad experiences in the past. Whatever the reasons, you need to think about it and do something positive. Solutions:Have an interesting or amusing warm-up exerciseHighlight the rules and include some training as part of the sessionRearrange the room if its layout feels confrontational in any wayEncourage people to put forward silly answers as a stimulus onlyDemonstrate how silly ideas can be transformed into sensible onesRead out some jokesDiscuss the process and try to find out the cause of the problemFind out if people believe that they can succeed in being creativePlan your sessions in advance and tell people what to expect in advanceDo not invite dominating participants if they are judgmental (do not exclude them purely on the basis of being dominating or you will lose some good ideas - just try to quiet them down by saying that the others seem to be a bit shy, if they have any ideas can they write them down and hand them in later)
22People constantly struggle to think in new ways People sometimes just get stuck on only using current solutions and need to be kick-started on to new thought patterns. Solutions:Encourage more radical starting points and don't let people deviate back to current solutions. It's too easy to make a connection between a new stimulus and a current solution without forcing new connectionsTake a short break and tell everyone the starting point ready for when they come backThere are too many awkward periods of silence and discomfortIt can be quite embarrassing for the participants when it all goes quiet in the room. In fact it's expected that there will be silent periods as people think about the ideas and stimuli. Solutions:Tell everyone that periods of silence are OK and that it is perfectly normal.Breaking the silence should not be done by you just because no one says anything for a moment or two. If you are the facilitator then you can feel under pressure to say something first. Wait that extra bit longer, or quietly ask some questions or ask for ideas in a patient way.Smile openly to participants and make small nodding gestures for non-verbal encouragement.Tell people how great it is that they have all survived their first period of silence without accident.The sessions are dominated by one or two peopleSome sessions can regularly be dominated by one or more people who shout out their ideas and block the ideas of others. You must make the distinction between people who are stimulating thought and those that are blocking it. Some people are loud but helpful, and some are not helpful. Try to use the people constructively if possible. Solutions:Encourage participation from other members of the group. Invite ideas from other peopleEncourage people to work on their own using notepads and then gather the ideas afterwards. Write the ideas up on the flipcharts and then let them work on their own againDo not invite dominating participants if they are judgmentalQuiet them down by saying that the others seem to be a bit shy, if they have any ideas can they write them down and hand them in laterHave a quiet word with the people afterwardsMove round people in turn asking for ideas. Make it a game where each person builds on the idea of the person before
23Some people don't contribute Often you will get some people who don't contribute in a session even if you know that they are intelligent and that they have many good ideas within them. You will need to give them space to contribute because they obviously don't believe they are able to contribute.Ask them how the session could be improvedAsk them if there was anything preventing them from giving suggestions. If they are shy about making criticisms of other people it is best to suggest answers yourself and observe their reactionsAsk them to run a session if they feel up to itGet them to write all of their answers on a notepad and hand it in afterwards. Acknowledge that it is often hard to find time to say all of their ideas, and that you value them at any time - which, of course, you do.The facilitator needs to give constant encouragement to the participantsIf the facilitator is always having to restart the process or is constantly having to force participants to put ideas forward then you will need to make the process less facilitator-oriented. The facilitator must stop being "the leader" and must hand over control to the participants. Alternatively, the participants may be unsure of what they are trying to do and may need more training and an explanation of the rules.Encourage participants to restart the process themselves. Ask them to tell you when they want a new stimulusTry a change in seating arrangement making it less focused on the facilitatorTry to make any authoritative figures show outward dedication to the process and make sure that they do not make any judgments at all. Speak to them beforehandGive everyone access to their own source of stimuliMake sure that you are not accidentally criticizing the ideas as they are suggested
24Program Planning Form Page 1—You can fill out on blank sheet of paper so you have more room Program Title: Date of Program:Number of Participants: _____(should be around 20) Number of Teens Running Event:_____Description from start to finish:Event begins at _______and ends at _______Event Leaders will be there from________to ________What are you doing as people enter the room? Playing telephone? Some very simple game so it is not awkward. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Activity #1 (include title, description, and time it will take to complete) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Activity #2 (include title, description, and time it will take to complete) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Activity #3 (include title, description, and time it will take to complete) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Activity #4 (include title, description, and time it will take to complete) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
25Program Planning Form Page 2 Use separate sheet for more.Food and Decorations (keep decorations minimal unless you are going to come in and make some on a Monday or Weds. night when Miss Laini or Miss Kim are at the Youth Services Desk. Budget is usually $60:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Decorations: ________________________________________________________________________________Name of Teen(s) Responsible and What He or She is MakingComing to Make it on Day of the Week: ____________________ Date:______________Time:_________What flyer will say:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
26Teen Advisor Agreement Qualifications for being a Teen Advisor at the Culpeper County Library:Attend monthly two-hour Teen Advisor Meetings or Training Sessions on first Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m. September-May. Non-mandatory meetings may be held during summer months. After two unexcused absences, a Teen Advisor will lose his or her position, and must reapply.Attend at least nine teen events per year, in addition to the monthly Advisor Meeting or Training Session. You must attend at least one teen event every other month. You cannot skip three months, and then attend for six months. After two months of not attending events (without excused absence), a Teen Advisor will lose his or her position, and must reapply.Arrive on time, and call at least 24 hours in advance to cancel if you are signed up for a meeting, event, or volunteering. If illness or some other last minute problem should arise, we understand that you cannot give us that much notice.Anticipate clean up time if you are running an event or volunteering at an event (such as Gaming).Demonstrate appropriate social behavior with other teen volunteers, staff, and event participants.Participate fully in all events and meetings, please turn all electronic devices off. Phones may be kept on vibrate for communication with parents or other caregivers, but not for texting friends.Complete tasks that you agree to take on.Check (or have a parent check ) at least two times a week for announcements, meeting minutes, meeting agendas, and reminders. Note: If you have no home Internet access, other arrangements may be made.Exhibit sensitivity to the feelings of others and show respect and kindness in interpersonal relations. Try to make other teens feel included by inviting them into your conversations; it is easy to form cliques, even at Teen Advisor functions, and some quiet people may be left standing alone during free time.Consider helping others, including peers, through community service to be a top priority.Note: Absences for illness or family emergency are excused. Please be reasonable in your definitions of “illness” and “emergency,” but know that the definitions are for parents and teens to create together. For example, very emotionally distraught could qualify as “illness.”
27What the Library Provides for Teen Advisors: A chance to be involved in activities that help support the growth or practice of various skills or enhance perceptions that lead to healthy and rich lives (as determined by the Assets for Healthy Growth and Development available atPerception that adults in the community value teens.Having a useful role in the community, and feeling useful.Interactions with positive adult role models.Providing the opportunity to be a part of a “club”.Being able to make choices and plan for the future.Accepting and taking personal responsibility.Feeling a sense of accomplishment from helping others, and performing a service by doing so.Gaining increased self esteem from positive reinforcement, successes, and mastering new skills.Like other types of youth groups, the Teen Advisor Program provides teens with a safe space in which to meet new people, socialize, learn, and practice using new skills.Volunteer hours are given for attendance at all Teen Advisor meetings and training sessions.Annual TAG Pizza Party, Plan, and Play eventBeing a member of a Teen Advisory Group looks great on a job or college application, and library staff are happy to write references._______________________________________________ ________________________________________________Applicant Signature Caregiver Signature__________________________________________Date
28TEEN ADVISOR SURVEY May 2013 What have you learned while participating in the Teen Advisor program?How to be more socially activeHow to run an eventI have learned more confidence, how to be a leader, and responsibility!Planning an event is not easy at all.Socializing and dedicationLearn how to interact with other teensHow to be more independent and friendlyThis program has helped learn to socialize with peopleThis program can really help the teens as wellHow to learn from new person(s) for which they give me new knowledgeSpeak my opinions instead of remaining silentBe on timeHow to interact with humankind betterBe more outgoingHow to run eventsThe responsibility and intense planning that goes into every decision and eventI learned how to interact with different peopleI have learned more social kills, working with groups, and how to plan and run eventsI’ve learned how to be a better person. When I started the Teen Advisor Program, I was socially awkward, but now I am a very charismatic personWhat do you get to practice as a Teen Advisor? For example: Leading groups, being friendly, being on time, etc.Not being shyBeing a teen advisor is a lot like having a job. You must be on time, friendly, and leadership.Responsibility/respectGetting to deal with different types of peopleHow to interact with other teensHow to be more independentHow to be friendlyI get to learn how to be friendly, what it’s like to work in programs like this.
29TEEN ADVISOR SURVEY May 2013 How to become more of a outgoing personEventsHelping people, how to voice my opinions, be professionalLeading groupsCourtesy, talking to large groups, setting an example, seeing things from a different perspectiveBeing on timeAll of the above plus a lot more teaching people new things, and even my cooking skills.I practice all of these things.Do you feel you have more confidence as a result of being involved in the Teen Advisor program?10 YesDEFINITELY!Yes, it’s helped me not to be shy. It’s helped me to open up.MaybeYes! I feel more comfortable with people and taking charge of things in social settingsMaybe. I haven’t noticed a dramatic change, but it’s a lot easier for me now to talk to people and not be shy.What is the best part of being a Teen Advisor?Getting to help make the teen eventsThe eventsMeeting new people and making really great friends! You also feel valued by adults for your service.Getting to meet new peopleHaving fun and helping peopleHaving people to depend on youPlanning the eventsI’m with an amazing group of people. I also feel comfortable in this programI don’t know—it’s all fun and greatHelping people, learning new skills, participate and plan eventsBeing able to give people a place where they feel comfortable to be themselves!Meeting new peopleIt’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy coming to and helping out with events.Helping people.
30TEEN ADVISOR SURVEY May 2013 Is there a bad part of being a Teen Advisor? (Something we might need to change…)9 NoNo, I feel the current system for being a teen advisor is very effective.People speaking out too many times, and not enough members for some committeesNo—though sometimes I fear we need people who are more comfortable talking in front of large groups.It takes a lot of time.Not really. It’s a commitment, and sometimes it’s hard to be at events and meetings, but that’s it.No, being a teen advisor isn’t the easiest thing (it takes a lot of time) but it is well worth it.Do you feel like you are making a difference in other teens’ lives by providing them with great teen programs?11 yesYes, I love making new people feel comfortable and wanted.Yes, I do feel like this is helping other teens.SometimesYes. I am able to coax people out of their shells, help build confidence, and make them feel comfortable!Honestly, I’m just having fun and helping others have fun too.Does it help you to get volunteer hours for attending Advisor Meetings?13 yesNo, I used to need them, but now I have no use for them. Maybe it looks good on a college application.2 Yes, it helps a lot!Absolutely. Taking the time to organize and set up events helps me to be able to contribute to the community.Do you know anyone that you think would be a good Teen Advisor? We have room for a couple more now.I got some good suggestions here. I am working with a great group of teens. What better place to look for suggestions for new Advisors!
31TEEN ADVISOR SURVEY May 2013 Notes: I am excited! Only 16 of my 21 Advisors were present to complete this survey. But, I can see that Search Institute Assets are being met, and that the program is meeting my expectations. Teen indicate that they feel more confident, they feel more capable, they realize running events is hard and they do it anyway, they are practicing friendship and empathy skills, they feel valued for helping in the community, they are taking more responsibility, and now I see that I have created a place where they feel safe, valued, and that many of them were shy and have opened up. I am so proud of these kids, and together as a group we continue to develop goals and expectations. Last night they came up with a way to better advertise our Teen Summer Reading Program, which promotes reading for pleasure. We have representatives from three secondary schools, and they are going to ask their principals if they can have this wonderful advertisement for Summer Reading in the morning announcements.
32by Laini Bostian, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee Programming for Young Adults at Public Libaries: Teen Advisors are the Keyby Laini Bostian, University of Wisconsin--MilwaukeeIntroductionDrawing teenagers, especially high school students, into a public library is a challenging task. According to Nowark (2011), basing her opinion on a study by Meyers, “…teens see the library as an undesirable place to be—maybe even a place that could lower their social status” (p.8). Further, teens are busy, and their schedules change every few months according to Houston (2011). But, there are several ways to make the library more appealing to this audience, and one of these ways is to provide great teen programs. Jones (2009) notes that “the key to keeping teens in our libraries is to continually involve them in library activities and programs” (p. 3). Honnold states, “good teen programs often attract the young adults of the community to the library to see what other services are available” (2003, p. Xvii). Honnold goes on to say that interactions between teens and librarians can change teens’ perceptions that librarians are people who sit behind a desk and shush them; librarians who run programs will “seem more interesting” (p. 11), like people who are innovative and like to have a good time. Several questions may arise once library staff members accept that it is time to start having teen programs at their library, such as where do we begin, how do we recruit teens, and what sort of programs do teens like? The answer to the first question is “give up a little control,” and let teens “in on the decision-making process” (Suellentrop, 2006, p. 39). The answers to the other two questions will become more apparent once one does as Suellentrop suggests.Putting Teens in Charge—TAG’s or TAB’sAlthough one can glean information from surveys and suggestion boxes placed in designated areas for teens, the best way to get fresh ideas for programming is to let “…them [teens] take a more active role in leading events or doing something completely different than what has been done before” (Nowak, 2011, p. 8). Further, “teen advisory boards should be influential in the types of programs that you offer and contribute leadership, promotion, and insight” (p. 10). Jones adds that involving teens in planning and decision making will make a library seem more “teen-friendly,”’and that, according to Meyers, “…libraries are much more likely to be perceived as appropriate places for teens if teens are visibly involved in the functioning of the library’” (2007, p. 10). “Without teen feedback while planning anything for youth in libraries—from programs to teen spaces to collections—often we professionals miss the mark” (Tuccillo, 2005, para. 3) , so before one takes any further action to start teen programming, one should work on creating a TAG (Teen Advisory Group) or TAB (Teen Advisory Board).
33Laying Down the Foundations—Planning Ahead Prior to recruitment for a TAG or TAB, the library staff member in charge of young adult programming must decide on the target age group for teen advisors, and decide what role they will play in the library. Even if the primary focus of the TAG or TAB is to plan and run events, it is good to have a reserve of other activities that the advisors can be a part of. Some activities that advisors participate in at different libraries include: Designing a teen space for the library, selecting books for the library’s collection, planning programs for teens, interacting with guest speakers, completing special tasks for the library or other agencies the library collaborates with, writing book reviews, and promoting library services and materials for teens via videos, newsletters or word of mouth (Tuccillo, Diane P., 2005); (Honnold, RoseMary, 2005); (Tuccillo, 2005); (Ludwig, 2011). Other considerations are structure of the group with regards to meetings, where most of the action will take place. Ludwig (2011) suggests that one might want to create a “smaller governing group” (p. 114) within one’s TAB or TAG. This need not be limited to typical governing roles, but rather can grow to fit the participants who come later. Ludwig had a “middle school representative” and “publicity manager” (p. 114) in her governing group. As Ludwig suggests, having governing roles can simply be a way to give more devoted members of the group a way to have the first say in matters. Another interesting option Ludwig brings up is having separate groups for younger and older teens. Though this has some potential benefits, such as removing the pressure some younger teens may feel around their older peers (Ludwig, 2010), one might want to resort to this if there is difficulty having a cohesive group.Recruiting Teen AdvisorsOnce goals are established, one has to get the word out to the target audience, and convince them that they want to attend the first meeting. Some libraries have procedures that dictate teens complete applications in order to participate, while others just desperately want teens to show up at that first meeting (Tuccillo, 2005a). Whichever you choose to do, there are some basic tactics, identified by experienced teen advisory leaders, that work. Houston suggests “get the message out of the library” (2011, p. 9) by posting flyers in places that teens frequent, such as a local gaming store. Further, she believes in personally inviting teens who frequent the library, and reminding them about the meeting three times because their schedules are so busy. As Honnold (2003) suggests, “After-school programs need to be scheduled around sports and band practices, homework, and dinner” (p. 19). Nowak states that creating a strong library presence online by joining social networks teens use, and linking to resources on the library’s website from these teen populated sites, can help increase traffic on the library’s website and in the physical building where one can advertise. Ludwig reminds us to be sure and inform teens that they can earn volunteer hours as teen advisors (2011, p. 114). Tuccillo (2005a) provides a simple mantra regarding teen attendance, “if you feed them, they will come” (p. 33).
34Training Teen Advisors Once one has established their TAG or TAB group, he or she may want to consider providing training sessions, similar to some that Bostian (2013) mentions. Since we are assuming here that an essential part of being an advisor will involve developing and running programs, one might want to provide trainings such as “…How to Run Meetings and Brainstorm, and How to Interact with New People” (Bostian, 2013, p. 35). As Bostian says, participation in the training on how to run meetings and brainstorm provided one of her committees with the skills they required to make “Improvaganza 1” a “…completely teen-planned and teen-run event” (2013, p. 35).Honnold (2003), Tuccillo (2005a), and Jones (2007) all mention the importance of utilizing library programming to help fulfill Search Institute Assets for Healthy Growth and Development of Adolescents (2013). Providing “marketable skills” (Tuccillo, 2005a, p.3) is one of the ways to do this; being able to run meetings and brainstorming sessions and interacting well with new people are marketable skills. Further, having those skills also helps to fulfill Assets, according to Tucillo (2005 a).Varenhorst provides a full guide for training teens to be “peer helpers” (2010) in her book, Training Peer Helpers: Coaching Youth to Communicate, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions. Though some of the activities go beyond the scope of the advisory groups discussed here, there are some that will help teens to refine skills related to their advisor duties. Since so many young adult advocates mentioned here stress the importance of the Assets, it may be a good practice to explain to the advisors how these fit into the library’s mission and the mission of the teen advisors. There are lesson plans in Varenhorst’s book for teaching teens about the Assets, in addition to plans for teaching teens to communicate well with peers, including the art of talking to new people.A word on teen issues.When working closely with the teen population, one may find teenagers unexpectedly confiding in him or her about issues such as sexuality, self-harm and so forth (Eagle, 2010). They may exhibit signs of mental illness that are important to recognize (Eagle). As leaders, teen advisors might be placed in similar situations to staff members in charge of programs.In his book, Answering Teens’ Tough Questions, Eagle explains how adults who work closely with teens on a regular basis can proceed when teens confide in them, and how proactive measures can be taken to help teens find their way in a world full of issues that confront them. Eagle suggests that one should “never promise teens that you’ll keep a secret before you know what that secret is” (2012, p. 77). On the same page, he encourages adults to maintain confidentiality unless they believe that the teen is in danger or is putting someone else in danger.
35Though this book is geared for adults in the field, there are several parts that could be shared with teen advisors, who may end up facing situations where other advisors or teens at events begin to confide in them about serious issues or exhibit behaviors that are difficult to respond to, such as crying or yelling angrily. Though an adult is present at teen events, the advisors may be the first confronted with these situations, and have to respond prior to notifying an adult. Further, the social network formed at library events probably extends into the world outside of the library. Library staff can share the portion of Eagle’s book that talks about making the library a safe space for teens, as well as when to involve a trusted adult. Advisors can help decide if training sessions on recognizing depression or risky behavior would be beneficial to the teen population.Getting to the Fun Part—Planning Programs for TeensWhen first getting started with teen programming, one can consult the many books and articles that offer event ideas. These ideas can be brought to the teen advisors for consideration. For instance, the book, Start to Finish YA Programs, by Jones, provides outlines for 25 different events. The events in this particular book are geared towards fulfilling specific Search Institute Assets for Healthy Growth and Development. Even if one’s TAG or TAB decide that these events are not appropriate for their library, they will gain an understanding of what the steps are for putting a program together, and of how Assets fit in. Once a basic structure is established, the sky is the limit. To go back to what Nowak (2011) said, what makes teen planned events special is that they can be “completely different than what has been done before.”In a recent article in VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), Tomsu discusses some of the outrageous programming her TAB group came up with. The great thing is that Tomsu took the suggestions seriously, and made what seemed outrageous, even to the teens, happen. Some of the events Tomsu has run at her library include: Random Club—coloring, playing games, and socializing, Bacon Club—all things bacon, including eating it and making thematic magnets, a Teen Storytime, and creating a huge chalk mural on the outside of the library. The Pool Noodle Kendo Club, where teens are taught kendo moves and spar with pool noodles, is perhaps the most original and successful. What is impressive about this program is that normally, one would be afraid of encouraging any kind of physical contact at teen programs, but Tomsu has made a program with a lot of sparring work. This type of thing would be great for a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) event, such as one that Bostian hosted at her library in 2009.Bostian’s LARP event, Space Café, was invented by a group of teens when she proposed playing Mouse Guard, a role playing game, or having Halloween in July. The teens at the
36meeting were enjoying working as “ambassadors” representing teens at the library, and wanted to have an event where they could be aliens in costume having a meeting where they represented different planets. The event turned into a big project where an online Space Café website allowed teens to create characters in advance of the actual role playing event, to write about problems on their planets, and their planets history. They could also write to one another in character, encouraged by Bostian never to use their real names. Based on the planetary problems, and character skills made up by the teens, Bostian created a mechanic where the young adults who attended the actual LARP event were given resource cards, a couple of skills that their characters had, and planetary problem cards. The goal was to find a way, by meeting with other players and trading resources, to solve all of the planetary problems in the room. For example, Pop-u-lar Girl used her Cheerleading Camp resource to solve the problem of people on the Fabric Planet being too bored to continue to sew it together when it ripped. There was 100% success, and all of the kids received books as prizes. The sky really is the limit when it comes to teen programming.Gaming.Recently, playing games at the library has become a popular activity for teens. Scordato started bi-weekly or weekly gaming events throughout her library district in These events feature popular video games, like Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Guitar Hero 2. According to Scordato “19 of our 21 locations hosted Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero programs attended by about 400 teens” (2010, p. 22). Though the start up for the gaming programs cost $51,000, more than 5,800 teens came to the gaming programs in a seven month period in 2007.Later, popular board games and trading card games were added to the mix. As a tip for librarians hoping to start gaming programs in their libraries, Scordato suggests highlighting the social and developmental benefits, and inviting Friends of the Library members and others to help with the gaming programs so they can see for themselves.Evaluation.Flowers suggests, in her book, Evaluating Teen Services and Programs, that many library staff members are uncomfortable with numbers. But, she assures us that “Data can point you to the places you need to make changes” (2012, p. xii). Outcome measurement is one form of evaluation suggested; this involves creating goals and objectives before beginning, and then, looking at outcomes, which “are identified as quantifiable changes in the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors or status of the participant.” One can put data together by using formal evaluation forms or surveys distributed at the end of programs or holding focus groups to determine how attending programs is actually affecting participants. Using data to make changes is discussed; one can determine the worth of programming by assessing which teens are actually attending, whether it is the same group over and over or
37diverse groups, and comparing this with cost of programs diverse groups, and comparing this with cost of programs. Data can also be used to make a case for change according to Flowers. So, incorporating evaluation is an important part of any successful teen programming, including TAB or TAG programs and the events they put on.ConclusionHosting great teen programs is one of the best ways to keep teens involved in public libraries, and one of the best ways to have outstanding programs is to create a TAG or TAB to develop and run events for their peers. Teen Advisory is in itself a library program, one that can be of great benefit to the teens involved. Prior to starting an Advisory Group or Board, one should spend time planning, and considering what types of knowledge, skills and experience young people need to be successful at taking charge of library programming for their peers. Once teen leaders are given the appropriate training, and opportunities to practice applying new knowledge and skills, there are endless possibilities for program ideas that can be made a reality; Teen-run, teen-led, unique programming—as the experts suggest, this is the key to bringing young adults into your library.
38ReferencesBostian, L. (2010, December). Space Cafe: a united alien nations. Voice of Youth Advocates,33(5),Bostian, L. (2013). Partnerships and teen involvement keep programs in the library. Voice ofYouth Advocates, 36(1),Eagle, mk. (2012). Answering teens’ tough questions. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.Flowers, Sarah. (2012). Evaluating Teen Services and Programs. United States: AmericanLibrary Association.Honnold, RoseMary. (2003) teen programs that work. New York, New York: NealSchuman Publishers, Inc.Houston, Natalie. (2011). Building a foundation for teen services. Young Adult Library Services,9(2), 6-9.Jones, Ella W. (2009). Start to Finish YA Programs. New York, New York: Neal-SchumanPublishers, Inc,Jones, Patrick. (2007). Connecting young adults and libraries in the 21st century. Aplis, 20(2). 48-54Ludwig, Sarah. (2011). Starting from scratch: Building a teen library program. Santa Barbara,California: Libraries Unlimited.Meyers, E. (1999). The coolness factor: Ten libraries listen to youth. American Libraries, 30(10).42-45.Nowak, Kristine. (2011). Serving teens in the public library. Kentucky Libraries, 75(3)Scordato, Julie. (2010). Gaming advocacy: When the shine wears off, the results are still golden.School Library Journal, Jan, 22+.Tomsu, L. (2012, December). Tips for successful TABs. Voice of Youth Advocates, 35(5), 430+.Tuccillo, Diane. (2005a). Library Teen Advisory Groups. United States: Scarecrow Press, Inc..Tuccillo, Diane. (2005b). Successful teen advisory groups. Voice of Youth Advocates blog.Posted by Rosemary Honnold, Retrieved fromVarnehorst, Barbara B. (2010). Training peer helpers: Coaching youth to communicate, solveproblems, and make decisions. United States: Search Institute.