Library Services for Children and Youth

I read this article on the Library Journal site with interest. As a new librarian about to enter the workforce in five (hopefully short) weeks, it is always disturbing to read about positions being cut, particularly in public libraries since I am hoping to work in one soon. There seems to be a growing trend, at least in the States, to reduce positions in children’s and youth services. To me, this makes little sense. Young people are the future of the library. We’re always hearing about how important it is to get teens into the library, and how if we lose children as teenagers they may not come back as adults. But how can we get teens interested in the library without having a librarian dedicated to providing teen services? Too often, youth services falls by the wayside. Teens are obviously too old for story time but the adult programming is not necessarily going to interest them either (how many teens are going to sign up for a workshop on basic computer skills?). Without youth services librarians, teen programming will suffer and teens will lose the opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills and make new friends by participating in teen advisory groups. Children also need quality library services such as literacy programs and summer reading programs that will help them develop a love of reading. If we lose age-targeted librarian positions, do we end up with librarian generalists who serve all users, but none particularly well? Don’t we want to provide quality library services for all users?

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