Making Teen Trax!

Those South Carolina librarians just rock:

Yesterday, we hosted our first teen services institute, TeenTrax. It was a blast! Patrick Jones, *the* teen services guru in my book, started the day with a great reality check.

What do you call young adults in the library? By their names! It’s all about relationships, and you can’t have a relationship with someone if you don’t know their name.

How true!

Michele Gorman, the truly awesome Teen Services Manager at Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s ImaginOn, gave us some of the basics on doing Reference for teens, and followed up with practical approaches to creating programs that meet the developmental needs of teens. The thing that really blew me away is that she’s had her Teen Advisory Council assist in the hiring of three recent employees. The teens create questions and interview the candidates. That’s what I call radical trust. Best part….the results have been terrific!

Teen services is one of the hot topics right now, but I don’t believe it’s a fad or a ignorable trend. I think it’s a central part of the library landscape for years to come. I admit, I’ve never really had an interest in doing teen services in my relatively brief career, but being around people so passionate, it’s hard not to get catch the fever. I hope TeenTrax helped create the fever in a lot of people yesterday.

The information about this institute extends then to FVINSC’s Twitter page:

Michele has her teen advisory council participate in interviewing potential YA librarians. 01:15 PM October 04, 2007 from web

Your teens can help you figure out how to develop your space, your programs, your collections. 01:13 PM October 04, 2007 from web

if you ask your TAG to help with collection development, but don’t buy what they recommend, they’ll know, and it makes a statement. 01:12 PM October 04, 2007 from web

meaningful participation–a teen advisory group isn’t a TAG if they don’t advise you 01:11 PM October 04, 2007 from web

The one in bold just blows me away. The same could be said for asking for feedback from other groups and from staff — and then not doing anything with the data. That’s a slippery slope to losing good people, losing users and becoming a rather opaque organization.