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 http://tweensinlibraries.wikispaces.com/.