Outcome statement: Teens make connections at the library

Enough research has been done on adolescent development that we now understand that these years of transition from child to adult are critical.  The Search Institute has identified a number of building blocks – Developmental Assets – that help young children from the ages of 12 to 18  grown up healthy, caring, and responsible. (www.search-institute.org/content/40-developental-assets-adolescents-ages-as-18)

The 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents fall into eight areas – support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identify.  Running through all of these is the importance and power of connections.  Among the assets that speak directly to the importance of connections are these:

  • Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
  • Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
  • Young people are given useful roles in the community.
  • Young person places high value on helping other people.
  • Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.

The public library provides opportunities for teens to develop each of these assets through a relationship with a young adult librarian and opportunities to participate in teen advisory boards and volunteer activities.  Many libraries rely on teen volunteers to help manage their summer programs for younger children.  Summer lunch is a new initiative  for libraries in low income communities, and teens have found this to be a particularly satisfying volunteer opportunity.  They often use their summer volunteer hours to satisfy school requirements for community service.