In my Young Adult Services and Programs class, we recently spoke about teen spaces in libraries. I got to thinking about how controversial it can be. Should we give them their own room, or at least give them some cooler furniture? Should food or beverages be allowed? What does the budget allow? How can we make it so the teen space is clearly designated for them?
In a perfect world, every library would have a space just for teens. It would be comfy, with colorful walls and funky lighting, posters and artwork, and of course, lots of materials that would interest them. This space would be separated from the rest of the library, and everyone would see the importance of and need for this use of space. But we don't live in a perfect world, and in many libraries the only "space" teens have are on the shelves of the young adult section.
In the library where I work, there's no teen room, just a section right next to the quiet reading room (not ideal). There are a few tables and chairs, and a few books on self-help reader's advisory. My hometown's library is a little better, with some more comfortable seating and a space blocked off by the shelves of the teen section. It's slightly cozier. But it's still not a real great "hang out" space, which I think is important. We want teens to spend time in the library. If they have no place to do this, then why would they stay?
What are all your thoughts on this? Do you have an awesome teen room in your local library? (One person in my class described one where the teens themselves helped design it—complete with a glass garage-type door that can be closed and opened whenever they want to play music inside. How incredibly awesome, not to mention functional.) Does your library even have a space for teens, or do you think there isn't a need for one?