Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tween Programming - Yes, It IS Necessary

Tweens don't necessarily have their own place in the library – most libraries either have tween books mixed in with the juvenile books or occasionally include some lower level books in the young adult section. Is this fair? No. Unfortunately, space is an issue… so is recataloguing… so who knows when this change will be made.

There is however, something that can be done without too much trouble and that is creating programs that are tween-specific. This age group is very inquisitive. Tweens are trying to find out who they are and their likes/dislikes. This is the best time to think about programming that feeds their thirst for knowledge. (See post Meeting informational needs of tweens with different maturity levels and interests)

Tweens are basically untying the apron strings at this point and venturing past the constant hand-holding by parents – they are trying out stuff on their own – so why not give them what they want? I think that offering programming that allows tweens to use their budding creative genius is the way to go. These programs can be less involved for the parents, but can still offer more guidance by the adult(s) present if needed. Arts & Crafts are perfect for this age group.

Also, if the activity is tied to a good cause, the tweens may choose to become more involved in local volunteer groups afterwards. For example, what about decorating paper bags from the grocery store that can later be used to deliver food to food kitchens or the homeless. An earlier post of mine talked about how tweens are eager to help the community and do have concerns – so why not take advantage of that in tween programming. (See post Plugged-In Tweens)

Tweens should be able to feel comfortable during programs offered at the library. During Game On at my library, I noticed that the older kids took over during one evening… I was able to make sure that everyone got a turn, but I am sure that the tweens present felt like they weren't welcome by the older teens. The funny thing is that as the program has continued, the older teens stopped coming and now it is mostly tweens. (The program is from ages 12-18)

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