5. You have to plan teen programs six months in advance and wonder how you can use the “teen participation” model of program planning
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6. All teen programming is centralized. You and the teens at your branch don’t get a choice of what programs are available to teens.
If you have to plan six months in advance or the teens at your branch or only get a choice of centralized programming options, do your best to involve teens in program planning and implementation that is spontaneous (Valasquez, p. 50) and costs little to nothing.
You can schedule “placeholder,” programming and alter it to meet the programming planned by teens as the programming date gets closer. Once successful programming has occurred, document attendance, events, feedback, etc. and prove that the program was “successful” and beneficial to teens. Success is less about attendance numbers, or even the program content. Implementation and interaction are more important, and valuable for defining success for a program.
Librarians must not worry about being program creators, but rather they should focus on facilitating programming developed and implemented by teens themselves. They will benefit from the experience of creating more than they would from attending a perfectly-planned program developed by the library. “The process of planning is more important than the program itself” (Velasquez, p. 40). Therefore, programming can happen on informal levels that allow teens freedom to create and succeed without the constraints of the branch dictates.
The success of your programming is dependent on the involvement of your patron teens. As Valasquez states in Real-World Teen Services, “Whenever possible, teens should lead the development and implementation of library programming for themselves and their peers. …with library staff serving as facilitators who foster the teen-developed programming” (Valasquez, p. 39).
Velásquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.