This LibGuide is just something I put together to help others reach out to tweens and teens. It does not have to be a Library when using this information. You can use it in your own home or other community location. The possibilities are almost endless.
I would like to begin by explaining why I chose this topic. You see, as a young child, I was a latch-key kid in the 90's. I am the youngest of 7. My parents worked a lot. One of my brothers was in charge of me and my closest in age sister after school. The local city library shared a parking lot with my elementary school. After school, my brother would pick us up and take us to the library so he could hang out with his friends while my sister and I played in the children's area. As we got older (but I was still in elementary school). It slowly turned into just myself going to the library every day. We lived 2 blocks away from the library so my sister and brother would go outside to play with their friends, occasionally I would join, but more than likely you would find me at the library.
When I was in 4th grade my brother attended what was then called "Thursday Night Thing" were every Thursday teens would get together in the library meeting room and play games while having snacks and drinks. I was invited because everyone knew me. (the teens were my brothers friends and the Librarians were my friends) :)
Eventually, that same year the Librarians finally asked me to be a volunteer. The youngest one ever (and completely against policy) but I accepted anyway. I shelf read, I shelved books, I assisted children in the children's area and I helped plan and implement children's story times. Eventually I turned the TNT into TAB - Teen Advisory Board. There we grew as a group with positions like president, VP, and Treasury. We conducted surveys with classmates to see what the Library could impliment in bringing teens into the library. Then we brought these ideas to the Library Board. I was the only Teen Member on that board so I presented the ideas. We created fun activites for the teens to participate. We added a Teen Lounge for Teens to have a place to belong in the library. It was a fantastic experience that I feel all Teens should enjoy. They are wayward children. In between being a child and an adult. We expect so much from them when they really still need our guidance and love. They need a place to belong that is not on the streets. The Library can give them this and influence them to make great choices and do amazing things.
It did not bother me when my school friends would make fun of me for going to the library so much because I felt good doing what I did. I saw the Librarians as my family. They took care of me like most moms and dads do their own children. I have always felt that the Librarians saved my life. My siblings grew to make very poor choices from the influences of their friends. The library kept me away from that world and now I want to be that same influence to others.