ALA Annual 2016

Programming for Tweens? Ideas from #alaac16

At what age does a child qualify as a tween? Lisa Kropp (@lisagkropp) posed this question at the start of “InbeTWEEN: Services and Programs for Tweens in Public Libraries.” Answers were all over the place, it’s definitely hard to pin down. But one thing was clear: whether tweens are ages 8-12 or 7-13 at your library, there is a need to serve this patron group.
Lisa shared some good things to know about tweens:

  • Compared to teens who have goals and some knowledge of their talents, tweens are still searching.
  • They are under intense pressure from teachers, parents, and even librarians to be successful.
  • They care about the opinions of their friend more than anything but still respect adults.
  • Most of them have smartphones and social media accounts which helps them follow trends, which they’re very interested in.
  • Watch this phenomenal video about tweens, Being Twelve, The Year Everything Changes, to hear it straight from them.

Spaces for tweens:

  • Go to furniture stores and look at their setups for kids to see what’s cool.
  • It can be a corner, or small space; cozy can be good!
  • Above all, tweens need a safe space to have fun and relax, and make reading fun again, so let those needs guide your design.

Great programming ideas:

  • Tweens love to do things that push boundaries, such as Laser Tag or Mini-golf in the library
  • Passive programs are great for this age: at Lisa’s library they have a magnetic chalkboard where they post mad libs, book covers that are turned into magnetic puzzles, and more. It changes monthly.
  • Blackout poetry: Using ARCs, sharpie out words on pages to create poems.
  • Use up felt scraps by making sock/monster puppets.
  • Tweets are nostalgic and like working with things like play doh!
  • Try to post their work on bulletin boards or on strung yarn with clothes pins; validating tweens is important.

Find more great resources at Lisa’s wiki

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