YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, has a series of posts on their blog about planning big teen events at your library. If you are looking for ways to bring more teens into the library, a big event might be just the ticket!
The goal of a big event is to draw in teens who wouldn’t normally attend a library event. A big event is a special program you don’t host on a regular basis, that appeals a broader base of teens than your regular programming.
“Big” is of course a relative term. If the population of your town is under 1,000 people, you are going to define what qualifies as “a lot of teens” differently than if the population of your town is over 25,000 people.
You might be thinking, “I have a hard enough time attracting teens to my regular programming, how can you possibly expect me to draw in more teens?” The key is using teens in the planning process to draw in other teens. Do teens in your town complain that there’s nothing for them to do on Friday or Saturday night? This is the type of event that gives them a social event to attend with their friends, geared specifically toward them.
The first post discusses why you should try big programming at your library including:
- Changing the way teens see the library
- Bringing middle school and high school students together
- Changing the way your board views teen services
- Publicity for your library
- Demonstrating a commitment to drug-free/alcohol-free programming in your community
Ideas that have worked well at Westport Public Library include:
Bismarck Public recently hosted a successful mini-golf course program.
Would these ideas work well in your community? If you don’t know, ask some teens!
Have you tried hosting a big event for teens at your library? What worked? What didn’t? Share your stories and ideas in the comments!