Parents of teenagers often have their hands full. Navigating social relationships, marking physical and hormonal changes, perhaps acclimating to secondary/high school, and generally growing into an adult being – all can require parental guidance even as the teen strives for independence.
When a move abroad is added to the mix, both teens and parents can use all the help they can get.
Enter support from a surprising source: public libraries.
Enticing young adults to use library services has led many to assess teen needs and deliver far more than the printed page. In the United States, YALSA is the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). YALSA promotes not only reading but all manner of services that contribute to healthy teen development and build strong communities.
One of the biggest challenges families and teens face is managing their immersion in media content, for both academic and social purposes. This skill is needed in nearly every aspect of modern life, and teens who can master – and balance their interaction with – the overwhelming amount of digital content we all encounter will be better equipped for life and work in the future.
Wherever you are around the world, your local library may offer:
- Curated collections of young adult books and graphic novels
- Makerspace and dedicated, acoustically isolated teen areas
- Homework help, both in person and online
- Events and programs scheduled after school and during school vacations
- Digital collections of traditional reading materials (books and magazines) as well as movies, instructional tools like Lynda, and e-books and audiobooks through OverDrive
- Group sessions that teach tech tips, Internet research, and online safety
- DVDs and video games
- Safe places for LGBTQ+ specific programming
- Teen Tech Week (or Month) that fosters invention and learning
For a few great examples of the above offerings, see Toronto’s Youth Hub programs; Los Angeles County’s Teen Tech Month and Online Homework Help – which provides live online help in English or Spanish, as well as access to Khan Academy, test prep resources, and “Instant Librarian” chat; Wellington, New Zealand’s Homework Help and Teen Blog; and New York Public Library’s Free Afterschool Programs and resources For Teens.
Check out your local library and take advantage of all it has to offer your family. It could be the best support service you never knew existed.
[NOTE: Wherever you are in the world reading this, your in-person library resources may be off-limits due to coronavirus response. Please continue to take advantage of vast digital lending collections and online resources for both academics and pure enjoyment.]
Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Product Manager, Content Group