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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Where Everybody Knows Your Name…. Thinking about Want Teens Need

I’ve been a fan of Connected Learning for a while- I really like their streaming learning environment, and their topics.  The one for March 21 was on HOMAGO spaces (Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out) which is an awesome concept (read our previous post called Don’t Underestimate the Value of Hanging Out), and takes what I do at my teen after hours and teen nights one step further by adding in a learning aspect, one that I’m going to try out this fall. I’m already doing the HO and MA parts, it’s the GO part that might take a little time (although to hear my Yu-Gi-Oh teens or one of my readers talk about their favorite book, we geek like crazy). If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

connectedlearningtv on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

What got me thinking, however,  was when they said “youth spaces should be like “Cheers” where everybody knows their name.” Now, I grew up on Cheers, and remember watching it with my dad and Shelly Long was the girl that Ted Danson wanted and Woody Harrelson was not Haymitch but the weird dorky assistant.  Teens may not know Cheers, but they want to be known, even if they don’t say it out loud.
We hear in the news about what so many teens are going through: drugs, suicide attempts, depression, bullying (really, it’s abuse), and you never know when saying Hi and asking about their day might at least make a spark in their lives. Going the little bit to put faces with names and know little aspects of their lives aside from what they’re reading doesn’t take that much effort, but it can make a world of difference for a teen.
It goes back to customer service, plain and simple. I avoid places where I’m not treated properly: nasty tables or bad table service at a restaurant or fast food place, I’m not going back. Sticky floors, shelves stocked willy-nilly, horrible cashier- not going back. Treated like an outcast, not even looked at- not going back. It’s the same with libraries. We need to remember that even though we are teen specialists, we need to be aware of *how* we are treating them, and that they need that extra attention just as much as the sobbing 5 year old who tripped and got a boo-boo. They just may not be saying it.

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