Teens are a notoriously difficult group to attract to the library. With jobs, sports, and other after-school activities, they don’t have a lot of time for attending library programs. You may have been frustrated in the past with low attendance at sessions geared toward teens. Despite the challenges, you still want your library to offer something for teen patrons. Consider passive programming.
In a post called “Reaching Teens Subversively through Passive Programming,” at ALA’s Programming Librarian blog, Kelly Jensen and Jackie Parker demonstrate how “passive programming engages teens in the library without requiring much from staff in terms of supervision.” As a bonus, these also tend to be low cost activities as well!
Since passive programming doesn’t require you to schedule a program at a certain time, it gives teen more flexibility for participating on their schedule. It also serves to draw in the more introverted teens, who may not be inclined to participate in traditional programming.
Amongst others, Jensen and Parker suggest the following programs:
Even though you may not be working with directly with the teens, “the input you get from teens via these programs helps you better tailor your collection, your services, and your knowledge of your own teen population.”
Have you tried passive programming in your library? What programs have been successful? Share your ideas in the comments!