Serving Older Teens

Serving Older Teens

Serving Older Teens

Serving Older Teens

Synopsis

Experts explain why library service to older teens is so important, and how librarians can enhance collections and services to accommodate and win over this important group.

Excerpt

Imagine a children's librarian suggesting that a toddler read a book in the Junie B. Jones series. It is unlikely this would happen, especially since most toddlers cannot read. How about directing an average eleven-year-old child to attend a library program geared for preschool children? Again, the thought is preposterous, since the majority of eleven-year-old children have very different interests and cognitive abilities than youn- ger children. Now suppose the focus were on teenagers rather than children. Children's librarians ensure that their clientele are served in libraries based on their ages and developmental stages. Librarians serving young adults, however, are not as in- clined to offer specialized programs and services for teens in different developmental stages—even though the needs of teens of various ages fluctuate tremendously. The fact is, most librar- ies do little to differentiate between services to twelve- and thir- teen-year-old middle schoolers and eighteen-year-old high school students.

Throughout life, people are categorized differently, and often by age. Around age thirty, people start to refer to them- selves, and others, as in a certain decade. [Oh, he's probably in his thirties,] or [She's got to be in her fifties by now,] you might hear someone say. When referring to infants, adults are more likely to be more specific, especially since babies grow so much in the first year. Parents will tell you how much the baby has changed in the past three months, including everything from formula to facial expressions. Young children are also categor- ized by age, such as the [terrible twos] and the milestone of five . . .

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