Surviving Teen Programming

I have to agree with Velásquez’s advice on programming; the aim of the game is to create fun and consistent programs that keep bringing teens back into the library. This is crucial for teens who aren’t avid readers. If we as librarians want to be youth advocates, programming is a way to draw in teens who aren’t already going to the library for books. Unfortunately, not everyone in the library can always cater to our most important goal. Teens can tell you what programs they prefer, but sometimes budgets won’t allow for them. If my community profile is indicative of libraries in general, teen programming is often given significantly less attention than children’s and adult programming (and I’m inclined to believe this, having visited multiple libraries on Long Island and seeing the Young Adult rooms).

In order for programming to succeed, librarians have to work with the PR department. A balance of power must be made, and teen librarians need to learn how to be accomodating while not losing sight of the most important goal: being a support system and advocate for young adults. As Velásquez (2015) states, “What is important is that there is a growing and thriving teen programming effort, not a uniform and standardized calendar” (p. 106). Organization is key here. As a future teen librarian, I want to push for the programs that I truly believe will attract teens and encourage them to keep returning to the library. It is equally important to be organized and well prepared for my programs. If I push for a particular program, then I better make sure that PR and the rest of the YA department sees that I am more than prepared for the program with planning, supplies, and marketing the program as much as PR wants me to.

Teen librarians want to make the library as welcoming a place as possible for their patrons. As much as we may enjoy doing the fun part of the job, developing programs our teen patrons will love, we also must remember to keep our heads level and do the parts of the job that feel like work; such as organizing programs, obtaining approval from PR, and keeping track of dates. Organizational skills can be as important as good communication and enthusiasm for working with teeens.

Velàsquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.


2 thoughts on “Surviving Teen Programming

  1. “not everyone in the library can always cater to our most important goal” What is that goal exactly? What do you think should be the goal of the teen department? Or the library in general?
    Something to ponder about tomorrow!


    1. The most important goal is something that every librarian needs to define for his/herself, I think. But in the context of the article, I believe that the most important goal is to make sure that our programs cater to teens and continue to bring them back to the library.


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