Friday, December 23, 2011

Teens in the Library - Tips for Success

Libraries have changed drastically in the last twenty years, heck, they've changed a lot in the five years that I've been working as a public librarian.  Public Libraries are no longer the bastions of silence and snobbery that they used to be - we are much more flexible and welcoming institutions.  And that means for everyone, especially teens.  We want youth in the library!  Really, we do.  But there are a couple of things that teens need to keep in mind while utilizing our resources and facilities.

Follow these few steps and your Librarian can become an important ally:

  1. Respect: Just as you want respect from adults and your peers, we (and the other library users) are deserving of your respect.  Remember that the manner in which you present yourself is reflected in how people treat you - if you are loud and rude people will treat you accordingly, while if you are polite and conscientious people will be much more solicitous toward you.
  2. Listen: If a library employee (or patron) asks you to turn down the volume of your headphones, or lower your voice please do so.  *Want points with your librarian? Make sure to silence your cell phone when you enter the building.  More points to those who take their calls to the lobby instead of talking at the computer or in the stacks.*
  3. Look: Look around and check out signage in the library - there may very well be a program or event happening that YOU want to know about.  We've got TONS of free programs for teens, everything from movies and games to SAT Prep and author signings.
  4. Pay Attention: Libraries are *public* buildings, meaning that ANYONE can come inside and use our resources.  Libraries exist to serve people from all walks of life and, while this is a good thing, it means that you cannot depend on the library to be inherently *safe*.  Don't leave your cell phone or wallet/purse laying on a desk.  Don't leave a laptop unattended.  It takes seconds for things to disappear.  That being said, if you see a crime REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY to the librarians as the Information Desk.
Without a people to serve, libraries really have no reason to existence.  We LIKE helping people and providing access to INFORMATION - it's kinda what we do.  Please remember when visiting your local library to say thanks to your librarians, we work hard and we work for the public (which is never as easy as it looks).  Follow these few tips and your library experience will both informative AND enjoyable!