I'm wondering if you would feel the same way if adults were "hanging
around "the library rooms with no intentions to read, research or borrow
any books"? Is it that they are teenagers that are an issue? It seems like
they aren't really "loitering" but are going to where they are supposed to
be, the YA section, to be in what should be a safe unbiased and
non-discriminatory environment. Are they following library rules and not
causing a disruption? Your email didn't mention any behavior issues, so
they're very much entitled to be in the library and use the space, as much
as everyone else. If they are not violating library policies, they deserve
the same respect as adults and families. If they do violate a library
policy then they should be treated in the manner outlined by library
policy. Just because they are teenagers doesn't mean they deserve less
respect. If you want to engage them, maybe try talking to them in a manner
that is welcoming?
Here are some possible scripts that might be helpful:
"Hi everyone! I noticed you all like to hang out here. Is there anything
we can do to get you to participate in the library services?"
"It's awesome that you all love the library so much. Can we offer you a
"You all seem to come to the library a lot, would you be interested in YA
programming?" (even if it's passive- especially if it's passive)
"You all are here so much, that's awesome. Would you be interested in
forming a Teen Advisory Group/Teen Volunteer Group that can help maintain
our YA space?"
*If* there are issues:
"Hey everyone, we love that you're using the library as a safe place, but
the volume is a bit much, could you please turn it down so that everyone
can enjoy the building? Thanks!"
"Hi everyone, I'm thrilled that you're using the library, but I'm concerned
because you are breaking THIS SPECIFIC LIBRARY RULE. In order to make the
library a safe space for everyone, we need you all to follow the rules. If
it continues, we will have to ask you to leave for the day, but you would
be welcome to come back tomorrow to try again."
In regards to the bike riding "outside of library hours" is it posted that
this isn't allowed? If not, and the library does not want anyone (again,
ANYone, not just teenagers) doing this, then you should post it in
accordance with town ordinances. I wonder what the harm is though? Are they
blocking access? Are they intimidating people so they don't feel safe going
to the book drop? If the answer is no, not really, or I don't think so,
evaluating motives might be worth your time. If they are a disruption, then
clearly posting the guidelines and having the local authorities (PW, PD,
whatever) enforce them gently for absolutely everyone, not just teens, is
the way to go.
If you have direct concerns about how to engage them, there are a lot of us
here in MELIBS-Land that would love to help you develop strategies!
On Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 6:56 PM Soldiers Library <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hello !
> I am wondering what your (especially small, one staff libraries) policy
> is with regard to young teenagers "hanging around "the library rooms with
> no intentions to read, research or borrow any books - not even to use the
> computers !! If not a policy, then perhaps what you might ask or how you
> might direct them?
> In my case, they head downstairs, where admittedly the ya books are
> housed. However,, since I can't be in both places at once, I feel very
> uneasy with them alone there. They have been "caught" riding their bikes
> down the handicapped ramp, concrete stairs, etc. outside library hours.
> Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
> Best wishes,
Danielle Fortin, she/her
Teen Services Librarian
McArthur Public Library