Gaining Support for Teen Services

teensSarah Flowers, past-president of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, recently published a series of posts on the YALSA blog entitled “What Your Manager Wishes You Knew” about gaining support for teen services at your library. Although most North Dakota libraries won’t have a dedicated teen librarian, you may still need to garner support from your library board for teen programming. Many of these tips are transferable to gaining support from your library board for other library services as well.

While this may not be as much of an issue if you are not working exclusively with teens, this post makes the point that you need to be conscious of the difference in the way you address teens and board members.

Make sure you consider what the library board will want to know and what they will think is important; particularly, how will your program benefit the library?

Collecting data can help you demonstrate the value of the services you are providing or hoping to provide. You are already collecting data for the annual report – use this data to help support your program. If you are curious about how your library compares to others in North Dakota, contact your Field Services representative!

Be sure to report back to the board on the progress of your programming. Share your success stories and make an impact by including photos,  quotations from participants, or graphs of your data.

The primary concerns of your library board are likely to be similar to libraries around the country: the budget, and demonstrating value to the community. How do teen services fit in to the big picture view of your library?

Many North Dakota libraries are staffed by only one person, but “everyone” extends beyond just staff to the teens themselves, along with board members, parents, elected officials, and community members in general. Make sure as many people as possible know what you are doing and why it’s important to the community.

What services and programming does your library offer to teens? Share your stories in the comments!

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