Sunday, January 15, 2017

Teen area transformation part 1

Our teen area has gone through many, many transformations. Originally, it was upstairs in a small nook. The key advantages of this were the complete lack of supervision, depressing surroundings, and a view into the lobby so patrons entering could be laughed at and/or horrified by teens making out in the windows (I have no idea why, but apparently privacy is no longer a thing).

Next, we moved the teens to what was previously the reference room (reference being dead). This was the older part of the library and there was some worry that they would damage the historical part of the building. They didn't (other than discovering that they could climb in and out the windows and throwing various things into the big dish light but that could have happened anywhere). They were closed to the upstairs offices (director and adult services) and the upstairs computer lab. They drove everyone crazy. Conclusion: Teens in the upstairs (quiet) floor is a ridiculous, bad idea.

So, we moved the teens downstairs. We've shifted the shelves around several times, as recently as October 2016, but the general arrangement is a long, narrow corridor for quieter studying (and which adults still flock to despite my best efforts) and a wider area for browsing and hanging out. The area is directly next to the children's area and in full view of the youth services desk. Now that we've got the arrangement set, it's time to consider what's in the area itself.

This year, thanks to a portion of the budget and a small grant, we're moving towards having a space for programming and hands-on making and activities. I'll be posting more updates as we add to the area, but this is what we're starting with.

This is the long, narrow corridor. Right now it has two large tables, one public computer station (open to adults), and a small soft seating area. The shelves hold young adult fiction, starting with storage, classics, and then A and so on. I plan to have two computers (18 and under only) together and re-tape the warning square outside the door (the door opens outwards and kids persist in sitting in front of it)

This is the entrance to the quiet corridor. More YA fiction on the slanted shelf and lots of cool reading suggestion posters by Jess. 

I've moved the seating around quite a bit here. The computer lab is not movable - the outlets are in the floor - and it basically ruins the whole space. One will go over by the wall, as mentioned before, another will move to the children's area, and the last will go....somewhere else.

You can see how the teen area is bordered directly by the children's area. The shelves to the right are new juvenile fiction and nonfiction. The long shelf with a blue display board on the end has manga and anime on the left side and Spanish, Parenting, and holiday books on the right.

A closer view of the hideous computer lab and the sign nobody ever reads. Only one small table is in the area right now. Once the computers are gone we'll be adding tables and chairs which can be moved around into different formations. We'll also have some ipads available in addition to the two 18 and under computers (and, of course, the kids can use any of the public computers as long as they're quiet in the quiet area and they all have chromebooks from school)

Pictured standing from the counter. Teen nonfiction, graphic novels (as opposed to manga), audiobooks and magazines on the right.

Our counter - it's hard to tell but there are outlets all along the back. The shelf at the end has Boredom Busters - various things for the kids to do. Our two red tractor chairs have lasted YEARS. We bought more and they were absolute crap. We're now looking for bar stools to have seating at the counter.

If you walk straight to the right of the teen area, through the nonfiction shelves, you come to the long open space in the children's area. Teens do hang out here too, although I try to keep it mainly for elementary kids. There are two colored tables and chairs (one has moved back and forth from the teen area) and this is where a second computer will be added from the teen area. Caregivers really like this computer as they can keep an eye on their kids at the activity table (it's a science display right now) or playing with the toys.

To the right of the activity table is our juvenile audiobooks, toys, and maker kits. There's a reading area on the other side of the shelf, which you can see here. It has a smaller table (which I just moved over) and cushions. Also the kids' magazines and big books.

We'll be keeping the teen maker kits (which will only be available for teens!) in a cupboard by the youth services desk for them to check out. I haven't figured out how we'll advertise them or organize them yet - i.e. if I'm doing a program in the teen area I don't want someone to check out the marble run to use. I'm super excited about our new changes and I'm planning a drop-in middle school book club to start next fall!

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