Brooklyn Public Library – Digital Space for Teens

While Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch has a nice physical teen space in its Youth Wing (connected, but separated from the children’s space), their digital presence for teen interaction is lacking. They have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but not specifically for teens. They do have Facebook pages for Youth and Family Services – clearly directed at younger kids – and another that looks like an outdated FB page for 17–24 year-olds interested in taking the GED and looking for employment assistance. The last posting on this page is from September, 2012, and a link to their BPL webpage is expired.

Their website has a Teens & Kids section TeenZone and Homework Help links and resources page.  The Teen Zone is a decent webpage, listing program info, contests for writing and video projects, book recommendations, blog listings, and other opportunities for teens. Their Teen Summer Reading program still says 2015, though there is a link to the Summer Reading 2016 program, so that graphic was just never updated. The Williamsburgh branch of BPL works with the Superhero Annex (826NYC) to provide one-on-one tutoring services.

BPL has some library programs for teens in their Youth Wing and Info Commons Lab. None of this information is available on a mobile webpage (you can access the full website on a smartphone, but it’s not optimized for a cellphone screen), nor is there an app available for teens with this information. According to the Pew Research Center, 91% of teens who have access to smartphones – (which is 73% of teens) use their phones to access web pages, 71% of teens use Facebook, and half of teens use Instagram. (Lenhart, p. 5) There is no visible social media interaction going on specifically with teens, and very little use of social media, in general, to reach teens.

Time to get on board!

Digital Natives aren’t going away – a few short decades from now, all generations will be digital natives.

In order to stay relevant and be helpful to “connected” teens, BPL will need to shift their digital presence to address the new, multiple literacy practices these young adults are using (YALSA National Forum, p. 6), and relate them through connected learning. Using these new YA digital spaces to connect and grow the broader web presence, will help welcome YA into the larger digital space, while it leads BPL to the upcoming generations of digital natives.


Braun, L., Hartman, M. Hughes-Hassell, S., and Kumasi, K., with Yoke, B. (2014). The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. Retrieved from

Lenhart, Amanda (April 9,2015). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Retrieved from




  1. Great description and solid analysis! Doing a bit of the “guess game” here, what do you think is the reason for this lack of social media interaction? Perhaps lack of staff or teen interest? Do you think that there would be any way of using the general spaces and include the teen information there? Some of these ideas might emerge during the twitter chat and especially in relation to the reading/watching materials for tomorrow’s post. I can see you have posted it already and will read it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure why they don’t have a better presence Prof! I’ll need to try to understand that better on my next visit. Compared to the PBS doc, it seems like the contrast is one extreme to the other. It shouldn’t feel like exploitation, but it should certainly reach them in ways that they’re accessing digital information.

    Thanks for the feedback – good issues for Twitter discussion!


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