New on the Shelf: Teens in the Library
Findings from the Evaluation of Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development
Several trends have come together to intensify interest in how public libraries might best support the interests and needs of youth in their communities. This study reports on findings from the Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development (PLPYD) Initiative, a 4-year, 9-site initiative funded by the Wallace Foundation to develop innovative models for public libraries to provide high-quality educational enrichment and career development programs serving underserved low-income children and youth. The evaluation reveals that public libraries can be a resource for youth in low-income communities. In addition to providing access to technology and a “safe” place to be during out-of-school hours, evaluation results indicate libraries can provide high-quality youth employment programs that include training in both specific job skills and more general personal and social skills. These programs also can have positive impacts on the library system and the community. However, to work intensively with youth requires time, financial resources, dedicated staff, consistent leadership, and alignment of youth program with library’s core mission and goals. Thus, public libraries need to assess and build their capacity for youth programs and services in a systematic way.
The interim report covers the first half of the implementation period of the PLPYD Initiative. The report describes the initiative's progress from October 1999 through March 2001 in three areas - program implementation, youth participation, and community partnerships.
The web conference "Teens in the Library" was recorded on May 5, 2005, and includes audio and PowerPoint presentations by Julie Spielberger, lead author of the study, Sheila Murphy of the Wallace Foundation, Deborah Taylor of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Danista Hunte of the Baltimore Community Foundation. The conference concludes with a question and answer session open to all 150 partcipants.