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There is a group of kids that come into the library fairly frequently. First they are there to use the internet, then when their time is over they disappear out of the view of the circ desk and make messes, be loud, and other disruptive things. They also talk back to any of us who address them. It’s been very frustrating for us all. While they are there all I can think about is catching them doing something so that I can kick them out.

However, when I look at this in retrospect, it makes me more convinced that we are providing a disservice to these kids and that our library needs some sort of teens’ services program. I’m not sure how it would look. I know it could possibly involve board game tournaments or movie nights, but I don’t know how it could look on the everyday scale. In our town there is nothing for teens to do, but walk around, bored looking for something to amuse them. The library is somewhere they can go to when there is nowhere else to go.

I imagine ideally there would be a teen space where they could gather and socialize (in a reasonable manner) or perform some sort of task where socializing would accompany it. (Such as the aforementioned board games). But how do you create that atmosphere in an existing space that wasn’t designed for it?

This post is primarily questions, but I believe it has a lot to do with the idea of third places and creating a community focused civic space. When there is nothing else to do, how can we create a space in the library that fits the needs of teens.

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