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October 28, 2011 > Picture It @ Your Library

Picture It @ Your Library

By Kathleen Hannon

The Young Adult Library Services Association, or YALSA, encourages all libraries to focus on teens with the slogan "Picture It @ Your Library". Some people might be wondering how this slogan may relate to libraries, teens and reading.

Picture It @ Your Library refers to the many changing faces of library services to teens, and the general public. In other words, the public library is not just a place to borrow books anymore. Today's public library tries to offer teens services that reflect their needs and interests, both academic and recreational.

Teens have always been able to use the library for school-related activities. In the past the students would come in for books to complete reports. While teens still use print materials, many times librarians recommend sources from one of the libraries online databases. For example, if a teen is doing a report on diseases, the librarian may recommend Medline Plus, which can also be accessed remotely through our website, In addition to helping with academic studies, the library helps teens in completing community service hours often required by area high schools for graduation.

By offering volunteer opportunities, such as Teen Advisory Group, Homework Help volunteers, or computer training, the library helps teens develop responsibility, make new friends of all ages, and feel empowered by becoming a useful member of the community. In addition, today the library is offering more programs that can enhance the high-school/college experience, such as the free SAT preparation programs offered this fall by the Alameda County Library in cooperation with Kaplan, Inc.

Teens have used the library recreationally in the past by checking out books, and reading magazines. Today's teens use public access computers for both research and recreation, such as playing video games, and catching up with their Facebook friends. The libraries also reach out to teen's through their various programs that address a variety of artistic interests. Recent library programs have included henna art and jewelry-making.

And, while the library still has many of the latest young adult best-sellers on the shelf, teens can also access books online by downloading to a computer or e-reader.

Some of the Alameda County branch libraries put "Picture It @ Your Library" into action this week. The Dublin Library will be holding a photo scavenger hunt for teens age 13-19. At the San Lorenzo library teens can provide a short film featuring their favorite book. And at the Newark Library, the Teen Advisory Group has done a photo display of various library customers and programs. Please see the Library Events section on the Alameda County Library website for further details.

Picture It @ Your Library. Today's library offers teens several different pictures from which to choose.

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