Teen participants in Boston Public Library’s “Drag vs. AI” program test their makeup and props against facial recognition software. (Photo: Kathy Pham/American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts)

Dragging AI

September 1, 2020

In November 2019, Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Teen Central hosted a digital privacy instruction workshop for teens that centered on facial recognition technology. Titled “Drag vs. AI,” the workshop partnered BPL with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU-MA) and Joy “Poet of Code” Buolamwini, artificial intelligence (AI) scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology … Continue reading Dragging AI


The Silent Book Club at Newport (R.I.) Public Library offers teens a space for quiet reading after school. Photo: Newport (R.I.) Public Library

The Sound of Silence

May 1, 2020

“Our Silent Book Club has been a surprising success—surprising because if someone had told me a year ago that relaxing on comfortable beanbags and reading whatever books we want to read qualifies as an actual program, I would have yeeted that person straight out of the library,” says Wolfskehl, using the popular slang term for … Continue reading The Sound of Silence


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Give Teens the Lead

May 1, 2020

As Luke Kirkland, teen department head at the Waltham (Mass.) Public Library, describes teen-driven services, they are initiated by youth: “Adults are invited to support teens in executing their ideas. Teens retain power of decision making and agency throughout execution.” It’s important that our libraries progress from a teen-centered to a teen-driven model. The latter … Continue reading Give Teens the Lead


Graphic: On My Mind with Kayla Kuni

What Does Green Mean?

March 2, 2020

Sustainability initiatives often focus primarily on environmentalism, that is, the importance of reducing the footprint we leave on our physical spaces and habitats in order to preserve them over time. Social and financial measures are just as important to the longevity of our work, and by incorporating these principles into our programming, we can help … Continue reading What Does Green Mean?


Alexandra Remy (with Melissa Bennett and Luke Kirkland in the background)

Being the Change

January 27, 2020

“I knew I wanted to do something about civics, but I didn’t know where to begin. I bribed [teens] with Pizza and Politics,” Remy, branch supervisor at Springfield City Library, told attendees at “Young Changemakers in 21st Century Libraries,” a January 25 program at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Remy soon learned … Continue reading Being the Change


Jarrod Irwin, consumer health coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region, speaks at the YALSA Symposium, November 3 in Memphis, Tennessee.

YALSA Symposium: Wellness and Community

November 4, 2019

“That can often mean supporting other types of literacy,” such as digital literacy or numeracy, Irwin said at “From A(ddiction) to Z(its): Health Information and Programs for Teens,” a session he presented at the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Symposium in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 3. “You don’t want to provide health advice because … Continue reading YALSA Symposium: Wellness and Community


Photo: © Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

Get the Word Out

May 1, 2019

Know your audience Who do you want to know about summer learning? Parents and caregivers? Teachers? The teens themselves? Other organizations serving youth in the community? While the answer is undoubtedly all four, think about your library and community. How does word get around about your events? Maybe it’s from parents reading your quarterly newsletter … Continue reading Get the Word Out


Career Workshops for Teens

November 1, 2018

Why meet with professionals? Often the best information about a specific career comes from people working in that field. Career counselors recommend that teens inter­view professionals informally in areas that interest them. Such interviews can: Provide an insider’s view of the profession or a specific company or organization. Reveal information on what education, certifications, or … Continue reading Career Workshops for Teens


Adulting 101

Adulting 101

May 1, 2018

“We had tens of thousands of Facebook hits, of calls, of emails. It was crazy,” says Lucas, who is assistant director of library services at North Bend (Oreg.) Public Library (NBPL). “Other libraries were saying: ‘Oh, tell me more, tell me more!’ At one point, I could barely keep up.” The frenzy reached its zenith … Continue reading Adulting 101


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Undoing Harm

November 1, 2017

Teens sometimes talk loudly, run around the building, or harass peers and those younger or older than themselves. They may get into fights or act carelessly with library materials. One way schools and libraries are working to help teens effectively manage these behaviors—and lessen behavior problems overall—is through restorative justice. In a May webinar on … Continue reading Undoing Harm


Real-World Teen Services excerpt

A Place of Their Own

September 1, 2016

On an instinctive level, teen services librarians know that it is important to provide teens with dedicated space in the library. As their advocates, teen services librarians must be able to: articulate why a dedicated teen space is important make a case for teen space to managers, coworkers, and community members express how space is … Continue reading A Place of Their Own


Shelver Kara Van Muyen (left) and librarian Karissa Alcox at the Kitchener (Ont.) Public Library escape room. Participants had 15 minutes to complete all puzzles. Photo: gr8 Escape

Libraries on Lockdown

September 1, 2016

“Anytime I experience something cool in my real life, I think, ‘How could I bring this to the library?’” says Karissa Alcox, escape room aficionado and youth librarian at Fort Erie (Ont.) Public Library. “It takes place indoors, and you don’t need much aside from some locks and props—a library can afford to do it.” … Continue reading Libraries on Lockdown