Posted tagged ‘teens’

Teenage Riot!

March 25, 2009

A lot of people have commented lately on the anti-teenager trend that seems to becoming a part of society.  This is absolutely horrible, and I’m glad I’ve largely avoided it, until now.  Well, I suppose it’s something that’s been in the background for a while and its just now reached the point where it’s really pissed me off.

We have quite a few staff members who clearly get nervous around teenagers, to the point where some teens are considered suspicious for being in the library.  Yesterday, I finally had enough when I was asked to check up on someone because the were in the bathroom too long (a few minutes),  which I refused to do.  It’s bad enough when our patrons make teens coming to the library feel unwelcome, it’s inexcusable when we do it.

I’ve talked to a few people about this and the closest I’ve been able to get to a reason for some of this distrust is that it’s “a generational thing”.  Which I can’t really argue against because that’s an excuse that’s inherently irrational. 

Ok, enough venting for now…


March 24, 2009

Yesterday was yet another one of our Rock Band nights, but something felt different this time.I think we’ve finally crossed the tipping point.  Turnout was great!  And we were on an off day thanks to being kicked out of the auditorium to make room for our book sale.  A few regulars were absent, but we retained all the new faces from the last one, and picked up more through word of mouth (our advertising really isn’t doing anything).  I particularly liked that we had one group come simply because they were following some of the others to see what was going on, and they stayed for all three hours!  

I think more fun was had by all this time too.  There was tons of socializing, a surprising amount of headbanging (unfortunately literally in one instance), and just a great vibe in the air.  Everyone asked about next time, three people volunteered to bring extra equipment (including an x-box), and one even offered to make a donation.  By the time it was over I felt completely and totally elated (and subsequently had trouble falling asleep, but still managed to wake up at 6 am like usual).

Epic Fail

March 11, 2009

Today was our latest after school DDR event, and I’m pretty much ready to declare it a failure now.  We only had 5 participants today, and while there were some reasons that could have prompted an especially low turnout (first warm afternoon this year on a school day, fewer posters due to a printer failure) the fact remains that we’ve never had much luck with this program.

First of all, we’ve been unable to attract an audience during that time.  Our 5-8 session have done great, but we just can’t get teens to come right after school.  But also DDR has not been the draw that we hoped for.  Even those that came wanting to play quickly got bored and we’ve had to switch over to Rock Band every time.

I know other libraries have done very well with DDR, but I suspect we’ll never be one of them.

Holding Us Back

February 27, 2009

Just when you start to think that the world’s image of libraries is begining to catch up to the reality, something like this (via Halfawake) has to happen.  Yes the state auditor of Nebraska is investigating a library for daring to purchase a Wii and for trying it out on work time.  Furthermore, the state was spurred on by a local news report that all but condemed the library for being a library.  Oh, and we’re only talking about $400 or so to begin with.

So, a story about my new favorite patron for those doubters that are still out there.  We have a high school student who came to my library a few weeks back to meet a student he was helping to tutor.  While there he toured our remodeled local history department, gushed over our new equipment, and learned of our monthly Rock Band nights.  He also found out that I had challenged some of the players in the past and instantly threw down the gauntlet with me.  

So he showed up, brought some friends, lost (but only because he selected one of my best songs), and promised to come back with more friends next month.  He’s also going to advertise our game nights on the high school’s radio station, and he even gave an impromptu speech to his scout troop about how the library’s not just about books anymore.

You can’t ask for better word of mouth than that.  Our Wii was one of the best investments we’ve made, and the up front cost for it was nothing when you consider how many programs we’ve been able to run using it (hiring a children’s performer can cost a few hundred for a single show).

So Nebraska, get with the program (not to mention the 21st century) and don’t ostracisize a library for doing something that will continue to let it be a vital part of its community.

So Much for Professionalism

February 12, 2009

So the poster from two days ago is now being sent out to both of the local high schools, and I am forever more doomed to be known as that guy with the cat ears.  What did I get myself in to? 🙂

I Think This Speaks for Itself

February 11, 2009


Gaming Expands

January 15, 2009

Yesterday marked the start of our bi-weekly gaming innitiative.  We’re continuing with our monthly rock band nights, but now we’re trying to add in an after school program as well.  We had no idea what to expect yesterday, partly because of the different time, and partly because it was also the first time we tried hosting a DDR event.

The results were a bit mixed.  We were sort of hoping to attract a younger audience than the one we gained from the evening programs.  Instead we pretty much got some of our Rock Band regulars, that were curious about DDR, but determined pretty quickly that they liked Rock Band a lot better so we switched over.

On the other hand, we gained some publicity for launching the second monthly game day and got a reporter and photographer from the local paper to come out for it.  A number of the teens were interviewed on top of me and my co-conspirator so I can’t wait to see the article.

Speaking of which, I came across this one today for a Wii event elsewhere that I thought was particularly good, although horrendously titled.  Give it a read

In the News

December 29, 2008

The Berkshire Eagle had a nice little article on us today, with a focus on ways to attract teens to libraries.  I particularly like that they used a photo that includes one of our Rock Band regulars.  Give it a look.

Computer Hogs

December 17, 2008

Yesterday I went to a roundtable for the users of our computer management software and was very disappointed to hear a growing anti-youth trend.  Quite a few libraries have instituted polices to curb teens from monopolizing computers.  But what really disturbs me is that their reasons for doing so are because of a feeling that adult activities are more valuable.  And in particular what I heard from a few people were that gaming was the key activity that inspired these feelings.

So, a few things.  One, in my library at least adults use the computers for gaming as much if not more so than the teens.  And while the teens are usually playing various flash games, the adults are hanging out in online casinos, and while we don’t prohibit that it’s hardly the sort of activity we really wish to promote. 

Two, why do teen activities lack value.  I’m pretty sure what we’re talking about here are social networks, games, and other sources of entertainment.  I think we’re now at the point where checking your facebook wall is no different from checking you e-mail, so that’s passed.  I’ve spent plenty of time here talking about the value of gaming, so just search the archives for that one.  And as for entertainment that’s one of our key roles so why treat our computers different from the rest of our collections.

All we’re doing here is ostracizing our teens, who we’re supposed to be attracting to the library.  And this happens all the time, I’ve heard some murmurs in my own library from staff members that during our video game nights there are too many teens wandering around.  That’s a good thing isn’t it?  We want them to use the library, and we get that by making them feel welcome, not treating them like second class citizens.

Rock Band Round 2

October 23, 2008

Last night was our second Rock Band night, and it was another success.  There was a smaller crowd than last time, but to be honest the turnout from the first night was a little unmanagable with only the one console.  But the response we’re getting from our attendees is amazing.  

We’re starting to establish some real relationships with these teens, after only 2 nights.  A number of these teens have already struck up conversations with me between the two events when they were passing through the library.  And keep in mind I’m someone who spends most of the time hiding in a back room, the fact that there are any regulars who recognize me is something astounding.  In two and a half years I think there have only been 3 adults who have gotten to know me at all, and I’m pretty sure only 2 of those know my name.

Now that there are teens coming up to tell me they can’t wait for the next library event I know we must be doing something right.