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One of the most exciting library trends of the last decade is the development of young adult spaces. But what does this really mean? Aren't these innovations just for new, large, and shiny libraries? How can these innovations improve your library and better serve your YA patrons?

This beginning course (no advance preparation required) helps you identify what young adults like about your library already, shows you how "peeking into teen bedrooms" and "Hotshelving" techniques help attract teen browsing and increase borrowing, as well as demonstrate how to best use teen participation to raise the profile of even the most modest teen space.


  • What's wrong with "bean bag" chairs? (hint: it's not that they leak)
  • How to weed YA collections without "weeding"
  • The differences between Teen Focus Groups and Teen Advisory Groups and how to involve YAs in creating teen space
  • How to dramatically increase YA circulation with near certainty

Participants in this class come away with lots of simple ideas to improve and impact young adult service as well as increase youth participation on the way to making the most of your existing space. Successful YA spaces are not just for the big new libraries! Have fun with space and increase YA circulation all at the same time!

Workshop Description: Through individual exercises and group activities, this one-day, hands-on course supplies detailed lists, techniques, and strategies certain to attract young adult attention to the collection. Students scrutinize real teen bedrooms, receive appropriate merchandising tips, examine interesting slides of successful YA spaces, and learn how to fully utilize youth participation to maximize the impact of their young adult space. The course further supports students with recent background articles, technique checklists, and sample teen space user survey and focus group agenda forms, among other useful handouts.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Three Levels of YA Space Intensity
    • Options from redecoration to redesign
    • Teenage "bedroom aesthetics"
    • Using "bedroom aesthetics" for library spaces
  • "Hotshelving" Techniques from the Marketplace
    • Library conventions that work against us
    • Merchandising techniques appropriate for libraries
  • Seating and Shelving Options
    • Seating elements that work
    • Shelving units that wow!
  • Making Youth Participation a Part of Space
    • Teen advisory groups
    • Teen focus groups
    • Teen volunteering

Workshop Instructor: Anthony Bernier