During Summer Reading 2013 I ran into a slight issue. I had 10, 11, and 12 year olds who didn’t want to do the children’s reading program and wanted to jump up into the teen program.

When I started my teen programming in 2012, I took great care in making sure the program was for ages 13 and up. I wanted teens to have a sense of ownership. All the movies shown for programming were rated PG-13. The summer reading program was more difficult than the children’s program and the rewards were better. Doing a tween program was something I thought about, but the staffing at the time didn’t lend itself to collaboration. All that changed right before summer, 2013. We had a new person in charge in the children’s area and we worked very well together. Our Friends group approached US to do Tween programming!

We launched Tween programming in the fall with middling success. We did some activities with duck tape, movies, origami and cupcake decorating. We had to cut back recently because we became so short staffed and the tween programming was run jointly by the children’s librarian and me.

That didn’t deter us and we planned a summer reading program for Tweens in 2014. We were overwhelmed at the response. We had a lot of Tweens sign up and participate in the reading program but not many came to the activities.

So you are probably wondering why I am talking about Tweens on Teen Services Underground? Well, since the children’s librarian and I ran the program together, I was able to help usher some of these 12 year-olds into Teen programming. I had quite a few transition seamlessly into the summer reading program and a few more into TAG and Book Club.

I once had a teen tell me that she stopped coming into the library during middle school and she couldn’t remember why. Probably because she had outgrown children’s programming and didn’t have a program to go to. So if your Teen programming is slowing down, or you had a bunch of teens graduate (like me), try Tweens. Focus on them. Give them their own programming no one else does. It will help them realize they are as valued as children and teens.

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