As some of you may have read, we completed a 3-year Strategic Plan this year which runs through 2020.

As part of that Strategic Plan process we identified a specific group of patrons that we felt were undeserved and we wanted to increase their usage of the library — teen patrons.

This group of patrons, ages 13-18, have our lowest usage numbers and one of our smallest collections. We also identify this particular age group as needing more engagement in the community. Brennan, Barnett, and Lesmeister wrote in 2007 that creating an environment where youth are engaged allows youth to adapt to overcome adversities, and to develop positive relationships with adults in the community leading to youth valuing the community.

With this in mind, we devised a set of goals during the process with steps to take to reach each goal. To increase teen use of the library we identified these goals and steps:

One goal is to improve communication of library services to a wider audience through increased collaboration, outreach, and marketing. To accomplish at least three new marketing campaigns and more communication with schools was needed.

Another goal is to increase use of the library by augmenting material use, library card holders, and program attendance. To do this, finding the needs of library public and developing incentives for program attendance was needed.

We have met all four steps by adding a campaign to increase teen use and by reaching out to the schools with a survey to find out what it is our teen patrons want from the library.

The survey asked six simple questions ranging from what teens want in the way of programming to when they want those programs offered. Over 195 teens responded within two weeks.

We took the results of the survey and Youth Services Librarian, Laura England-Biggs, and developed a Second Saturday Teen Book Club for readers age 13-18. The group will begin meeting Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 2-3 p.m.

The group will start off by allowing the teens to guide the development of the Book Club by identifying what they would like to get out of the program and what expectations they have of the library. We will be providing incentives for the teens to participate, such as gift cards and technology-based prizes.

To help fund this new campaign, we applied for a Youth Grant for Excellence from the Nebraska Library Commission and were recently awarded the $1,000 grant. We will use these funds for incentives, programming needs, and materials purchases. All $1,000 will go toward bringing more teens into our library to learn what the library can provide them in terms of literacy, programming, education, and entertainment.

If you have any questions about the Second Saturday Teen Book Club, please feel free to contact our Youth Services Librarian, Laura England-Biggs at laura.biggs@fremontne.gov or call 402-727-2694.

Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.

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