REAL PUBLIC LIBRARIAN

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Youth Space Comparison Oz & US

Thanks to contact with Katherine Gould via this blog, I have discovered another Youth Library very similar to verbYL but not quite the same, in the Palos Verdes Library District in California. Check out this fab facility ("The Annex") at Kathy's blog. Man if we had that sort of space...jealousy aside, the point of interest for me is the sharing of the facility with a non-profit youth services organisation - ie the library staff operate the Annex at certain times, and quite separately the youth services operate at different times. (verbYL operates library and youth services concurrently - I have yet to see another example of this anywhere). I note also that session times are set aside for specific age groups (see here for Annex hours) and this is something we have also been experimenting with. Our challenge is to meet our state government's definition of "youth" as 12-25 - a huge range. For some time we have instituted an 18+ only (in Australia 18 is the legal adult age) night on Thursday nights with little success - the main problem being having to turf out the under 18's after 7 pm (don't they grumble!) and just not very many over 18s turning up - for various reasons. Although the few that do come are very protective of their exclusive time. So at the Youth Worker's suggestion we're going with a different night (not previously open so no need to physically turf out the young ones cos they wouldn't normally be there) and rebranding as a uni student/young worker Internet cafe deal. See how that goes.

With the new school year just started in Australia, a whole batch of 12/13 year olds new to High School have become eligible for membership. So far mainly the younger siblings of current users are joining up, but I was worried that parents of families completely new to verbYL would be a bit ikey about letting them mix with the established, "older" crowd. So we've established a "newbies" session just for new members in grades 8 & 9 (roughly 12-14 year olds). "Old" members in this category are allowed to come to this session IF they bring new members!! So far we planned to let this run for a couple of months with a view that the younger ones would then be ready to be "unleashed" into the general crowd. Personally I think there may be merit in maintaining an younger age specific session indefinitely as we certainly have had some negative feedback from parents about mixing up the ages. It's yet to be promoted effectively but I have high hopes of its success.

Study Group kicked off the new year with a great attendance (16 students) and Reader's Lounge is slowly taking off, so optimism there too.

Next month I'm off to Adelaide for the "Learning Futures: Public Libraries for the New Generations" conference organized by the tireless library advocate Dr Alan Bundy. The program is excellent! including US speaker Patrick Jones who I hear is very inspirational. I will of course, as is my habit, be blogging from the Conference!

3 Comments:

  • Hi,
    I'm a public librarian from Singapore and have been lurking on your blog for quite some time. You have a wonderful and insightful blog.

    It's good to hear that you'll be blogging from conference at Adelaide next month. Hope to hear all about it on your blog.

    Well, though I'm not attending the conference, I'll nevertheless be attending 3 half-day sessions with Patrick Jones on the Teens Services when he visits Singapore some time in early April. Hope to learn all I can during those 3 sessions. And maybe I'll blog about it too. :)


    Rgds,
    Isaak Kwok
    Blogging Librarian
    http://www.blogginglibrarian.com/

    By Anonymous Isaak Kwok, at 4:41 PM  

  • Isaak

    Wonderful! We can compare notes!!

    By Blogger Deb, at 6:59 PM  

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