Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap

Article excerpt

Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap. By Angela Craig and Chantell L. McDowell. Chicago: Neal-Schuman, 2013. 220 p. Paper $60 (ISBN: 978-1-5557-0760-6).

Serving At-Risk Teens presents one of the first guidebooks for librarians who want to provide outreach to at-risk teens. Craig and McDowell do an excellent job of defining what "at-risk" means. They show readers that the A+ student whose family has a history of alcohol addiction is just as "at-risk" as the teenage mother with a newborn baby. They provide a history of how the term has been used, mostly with negative connotations, and how it can "have a detrimental effect upon how they [teens] perceive themselves and how the world perceives and reacts to them" (vii). The authors provide tips on how to look past stereotypical labels and see young patrons who can benefit from library services, just like any other teens. The authors successfully organize the book into chapters on related themes. Chapters 1 through 3 focus on advocating for outreach, understanding the special needs of at-risk teens, and recognizing the common factors that can place all teens at-risk. Chapters 4 through 6 focus on how to provide outreach, specifically focusing on the benefits of partnerships with community organizations (such as juvenile detention centers, alternative high schools, foster homes, counseling centers, etc.) that serve at-risk teens. The final three chapters focus on actual programming ideas, including real-life examples of successful programs held at libraries and/or with a partner facility, and tips on how to successfully evaluate such programs (and help further advocate for their importance). …

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