Supporting Teen Services: Fostering Community, Programming, and Outreach

More and more public libraries recognize that for their library to remain relevant to teens they must consider the way teens desire to interact, create, and drive their own library experience. Teenagers enter the library with a unique set of needs, expectations, and capacities that make them a vital and distinctive user group. To serve this population effectively, it’s not enough to know how to answer their reference questions or acquire YA novels—you need to be able to work with teens, not just for them or alongside them.

Offering a fresh perspective on teen services, this course covers everything from programs, psychology, and physical spaces to collections and getting buy-in from young adult patrons. Whether you are an experienced teen librarian seeking to revitalize your practice, or are new to serving teens, you will find this course beneficial. Jennifer Velásquez, Teen Services Coordinator for the San Antonio Public Library, teaches you how to use teen personalities, psychology, and innovative communication strategies to enhance your services and help teens take ownership of their library.

Through your participation in this course, you will:

  • Explore strategies to enhance your programming into a fully integrated library service that fosters teen participation
  • Understand how to analyze your demographics and metrics to better understand the community you serve and their interests
  • Apply principles of successful teen library space arrangement and evaluation
  • Identify and apply best practices for teen program / activity development and evaluation that involves teens
  • Understand soft-skills and de-escalation techniques (to use with teens, adults, and co-workers)
  • Be able to clearly articulate why your library should invest in services for teens

Jennifer Velásquez is the author of Real-World Teen Services (ALA Editions) and numerous articles on serving teens in the library setting. As an educational diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, she has assisted libraries in the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Ukraine, France and Italy with the implementation of services for teens. In 2011, Library Journal recognized her as a “Mover & Shaker” in the area of innovation, and she is the recipient of The New York Times Librarian Award (2005). Jennifer serves as Coordinator of Teen Services for the San Antonio Public Library System (TX) and is a Lecturer at San Jose State University’s iSchool (CA).

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.