Teen (over 12) and tween (ages 10-12) programs are actually a challenge to libraries because often kids in this age range are becoming more involved with school and their peers, and they tend to slowly move away from the library. The Ground Floor at MCPL which is the “Teen Space, “does an awesome job making sure that teens have their own environment where they can hang out, play video games, work on homework, and be creative with their friends. I was able to spend a bit of time in there helping out with programs for both teens and tweens. One tween program that happened pretty recently was the Hoosier Book Trailer Awards, and kids in fifth and sixth grade created their own “trailers” on a book they read. They got to collaborate with their friends on them, and they spent an evening at the library watching them together.
It was really cool to see kids be so creative and innovative with technology and we had a lot of submissions, but only about 25 people showed up to watch their book trailers and have snacks at the library, which brought up a conversation on how do we draw people to the library when they are sometimes more interested in other activities. A couple of librarians mentioned that we should work together more with the schools and have the schools also advocate for our events. Of course, this is sometimes hard to do, especially because schools have a lot on their plate. But, it reminded me about the importance of building relationships in the community as a children’s librarian, and that includes communicating with the schools and the teachers in them to see what kids need and want. I hope that as a librarian I can build lasting, strong relationships with other organizations like schools.