Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Came First, The Teens or the Teen Programs?

I just submitted my fall calendar for teens.   
For now through December.   

Doing this calendar was like, passing a kidney stone or something, I swear.  Most of my programs are centered around what my teens want to do, so trying to schedule far out, when most of my teens weren't around this summer, was extremely frustrating.   

I watched the youth librarians pull theirs together, with seeming ease, and I have to admit to feeling a little down.  The newsletter deadline was blinking Disney doe eyes at me every day, and  I was stumped.  Being that stumped made me wonder if I was really up to snuff with my programming.  Why was I having such a hard time? 

Thinking about it made me wonder: 
What comes first?  The Teens?  Or the teen programs? 
Does the calendar and schedule encourage teens to visit the library, or does the teen population dictate the programming.  And in either case, which one is better? 

Well, what I've decided is that it's a little bit of both.  And in true teen fashion, my teens came in today (first day of school), and proved me right. 

In our Me:U meeting, (Me:U being the teen service/advisory club), after talking about our  upcoming service events, I started to run down the list of events that I submitted in the calendar.  For the most part they were on board. 

Then I said, "Is there anything that I may have missed, that you all wanted to do?"  
To which they took me up on immediately.  

When they were done tossing off ideas like it was no big deal, I wanted to go back and un-send my calendar list.   They are hilarious in that they ramble on about everything under the sun and then BAM!, out comes something wonderful.   

Thinking about them, and the way that they think, reminded me that I am on the right path in allowing their ideas to propel my planning and programming. Listening, and being intuitive with my initial plans, while leaving space for the lighting in a bottle which is the teen mind,  is the  key to the riddle.   They want to be led towards ideas, but they also want to be given the opportunity share the ones they already have.  

So what are some things hopefully coming up this fall? 
Family Feud (Their idea) 
Bowling in the Library (My idea) 
Breakdancing Workshop (Their idea) 
Breast Cancer Walk & Awareness event (Our combined idea) 
Secret Santa for the Homeless (Their idea - and to my point, this was thrown out in casual conversation as if it wasn't GENIUS!!!!) 

My hope is that the mixture of our ideas will not only attract new teens to our library, but also encourage those we already have, to stay, thrive, and become leaders.

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