Guest Blogging: Transforming Youth Services: Supporting Youth Through “Adulting”

I wrote a guest post for YALSA’s blog in November as part of a “Transforming Youth Services” series that I’ve been contributing to since last summer. If you would like to check out the blog itself, take a look here! 

Adulting programs are generally geared towards older teens (16 -18) and emerging/new adults (19 – early 20s) and support these young patrons in developing life and college ready skills. News articles and similar commentary about library adulting programs appeared somewhat flippant and even disrespectful or disparaging of young adult attendees. Yet through such programming, libraries are providing a unique service which appeals to two underserved age groups and impacts their lasting success, health, and wellbeing.

Often times neglected in K-12 education and the home, teaching these critical skills not only benefits young adult patrons, but also parents, employers, and communities. YALSAThe Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action highlights a recent concern that young adults are lacking an expanded set of skills that goes beyond traditional academic skills (2014, p. 3). Alongside growing demands for problem solving, critical thinking, and media and digital literacies, youth need financial literacy, civil and social literacy, and task-based literacy (PA Forward, n.d.; White & McCloskey, 2004). Just to name a few. 

via: North Bend Public Library 

A new but related find for me is partnerships developing between public and university libraries to sponsor adult life skills programming. The Emporia Public Library and the ESU William Allen White Library hosted a series of workshops that brought in presentations and meet and greets with community leaders, and engaging activities on finances, managing stress, and experiencing living away from home for the first time. As public and university libraries combine strengths and resources, they reach and embolden even more youth who come from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs.   

Older teens and new adults are using their local libraries especially online but are often unaware of other library services available to them (Pew Research Center, 2014). Creating relevant and helpful programming is one step towards getting the 18-20 year olds into public libraries and encouraging lifelong library supporters. There are so many other terrific examples, a few of which Ive included in the references and resources section below. I would encourage curious teen librarians and library staff to contact those who have run these programs and found success (or even missteps). While adulting” may not sound as valuable as SAT studying or traditional college prep, these are the vital skills that promote teen development into healthy, thriving, and thoughtful adults.

References and Resources

Braun, L., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., Kumasi, K., & Yoke, B. (2014). The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. Chicago, IL: Young Adults Library Services Association.

Emporia University Libraries & Archives. (2017). Basic adulting 101: Welcome to adulthood program series. Retrieved from

Lucas, T. (2017, March 22). Adulting 101. Programming Librarian. Retrieved from

PA Forward: Pennsylvania Libraries. (n.d.). What Are the Five Literacies? Mechanicsburg, PA: Pennsylvania Library Association. Retrieved from

Pew Research Center. (2014, September 10). Younger Americans and public libraries. Retrieved from

Redmond, K. (2017, July 14). Rockland millennials, grow up! Take Adulting 101.” Lohud. Retrieved from

Urban Dictionary. (2016 June 12). Adulting. Retrieved from

White, S., & McCloskey, M. (n.d.). Framework: Literacy tasks. National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL).Retrieved from

“Girl” Books and “Boy” Books: Reading Without Labeling

A few nights ago I read an article where the author ended with a recommendation list for “girl-friendly” science fiction books. I understand seeking out books that may get boys/girls more interested in reading particularly reluctant readers. There is research that … Continue reading

What to do with the, “What I didn’t learn in library school…” conversation.

Sometimes it’s just meant as a helpful conversation starter. “I didn’t learn this in library school, but now I know….”. Sometimes it’s a statement of fact. “I didn’t learn this in library school.”. Yet often it seems as a criticism … Continue reading

“I’m Not Sure Why I”m Here: A Panicked Story, Part 2″

I want to thank you all for your outpouring of love and support. I had no idea what to expect when I pressed “publish” on Part 1. Right now I feel both very exposed and empowered. A contradictory feeling but a good one. Thank you to those who shared stories of personal struggles via social media, blog comments, and e-mails. I know that couldn’t have been easy. I admire your strength and perseverance.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to dig a bit deeper and answer some questions from my draft-reading librarian friend (you’re the best!) and a few of my own questions in this last post. Hopefully, my writing flows along somewhat smoothly. Here we go.

The New Member’s Round Table (NMRT) panel at ALA Annual hasn’t been my only panic attack during a presentation, but it has been my worst. My other panic attack happened during the last semester of my Master’s in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program at Florida State University (FSU). As part of my coursework, I had an assignment to develop and carry out a training session about some aspect of library work. I decided to create a basic research workshop about databases, online tools, and helpful websites for our library staff. There were (maybe?) seven people at the workshop, but I still felt the intensity of pressure and anxiety. The morning of the workshop, I went to the gym very early because I thought working out would help. As I got ready for work, I went through my index cards of notes obsessively. While backing up the driveway to get to the library, I reversed into my mom’s car. Freaked out. My dad calmed me down as well as he could. I got to work, set everything up in the meeting room, and began my workshop. After the first 15 minutes, I relaxed a bit. I knew these people, had worked with them for a while, and they appeared to be engaged. Before the panel, that was my only other panic attack during a presentation. My panic level was seriously uncomfortable but manageable-ish.

Continue reading

Guest Blogging: “Transforming Teen Services: Getting Teens Passionate About Civics (It can happen!)”

My monthly YALSA blog post is up! This time about it’s about something that is particularly relevant to what’s going on in the world around us. Check it out on the YALSA blog or read it below! Don’t worry. I’m … Continue reading

Guest Blogging: “Transforming Teen Services: The Empathetic Librarian”

On Monday, March 24, my post for the YALSA blog appeared.  It’s my first blog post in a monthly series of posts on Transforming Teen Services. You can read the post on the YALSA blog here. Or you can read … Continue reading

The Impact of Our Work on Ourselves

While interviewing rural librarians and young adults for my dissertation over last summer, I had the most surprising conversation with one high school librarian. We’ll call her Mary to maintain confidentiality. Our interview turned to the topic of how our work with patrons … Continue reading

Guest Blogging for YALSA

So long ago (January 13), I wrote a guest post for the YALSA blog about my experience at ALISE 2016 Annual Conference and its theme of Radical Change, inspired by Dr. Eliza Dresang and her work with youth services. You … Continue reading

Top 5 YA and Libraries Research in 2015 (But Mostly from Pew Research Center)

Recently, I did a guest blog post for YALSAblog – the official blog of Young Adult Library Services Association. Here what I said in the post, and here’s a link to the original post. Happy New Year! In the world of … Continue reading

Presenting Empathy at Annual

I had a wonderful time presenting my Conversation Starter, “You Have My Empathy: What Does Empathy Look Like in the Library?” during Annual. I’m slowly becoming more confident at presenting. I spilt up my session into half overview in presentation … Continue reading