Engaging Older Teens and Young Adults: A Success Story

8 Nov

Penny Johnson, Teen Specialist at Baraboo Public Library in Wisconsin, recently posted this inspiring message on the ya-yaac mailing list about her first ever meeting with a Teen and Young Adult Advisory Board of young people ages 17-25. I’m re-posting it here, with Penny’s permission. Thanks, Penny!

I wanted to share with all of you the results of my first advisory board meeting for 17-25 year olds. There were seven in attendance, and they were very excited about the prospect of having library events specifically for their age group.

I can barely find time to organize, publicize, and run regular teen programs. I had no idea how I was going to squeeze programs for older teens/twenty somethings into my schedule. But I feel we came up with a few solutions.

–We are now beginning my regular TAB [Teen Advisory Board] meeting a half hour earlier (6-7 PM), which gives us time to have TAB Plus (or TAB Sr. or YAAB, or whatever we are going to call it) on the same evening (7-8 PM)

–The older teens have organized a manga/anime group which meets twice a month, and a general book discussion group which meets once a month. They are doing all of the publicity and program prep, so it doesn’t take any of my time.

–They found a solution for something that has plagued me for years now. Our monthly teen game night is extremely popular. We regularly have 30-35 teens in attendance, and I am the only adult in the room. Yeah, it’s a big challenge for me. The older teens have become increasingly annoyed with the middle schoolers [ages 10-14], but because my hands are full I can do little to change the situation. So here is the new plan. The older teens and twenty somethings will help me run the game night. They will monitor each console, bake and serve the pizzas, keep the garbage under control, etc. In exchange, we will start the event a half hour earlier, end it an hour earlier, then give my OTYA assistants an hour of game time without the younger teens around.

I am discovering I can indeed find time to provide programming for older teens and twenty somethings. And they are so appreciative!

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One Response to “Engaging Older Teens and Young Adults: A Success Story”

  1. Aimee November 8, 2010 at 09:18 #

    What a fantastic success all around! Well done to Penny on all counts, particularly for her success with the older YA advisory board.

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