Brian Kenney, editor of SLJ, urges public libraries to provide more activities, tools and tech for young people. Most librarians get it..but:
It’s the public library directors who need to listen. Staff members need better tools and skills, while their youth need more space, materials, and computers. As Gómez says, “We cannot view out-of-school-time programming and services as an adjunct to core library services.”
For that to be true, a lot of public library directors will need to take a hard look at their library’s resources and how they’re spent. Maybe it’s time to stop moaning about that seldom-visited reference desk (now quiet because adults are using the Internet) and hire more staff that can serve your major clients: children and teens. Maybe it’s time to take your materials and programming funds and actually align them to your usage statistics.
Do you have a teen department? A teen librarian? How about a gaming librarian? It’s time to look closely at staffing models (yes, especially at the reference desk) and at the silos in some PLs and think about inviting spaces and welcoming faces. Just sayin’.