Date of this Version
Today’s urban youth and/or teens are at risk due to many socio-emotional factors standing in the way of their development. Libraries for many years have provided significant organizational support unto offering ways to counterattack the possibility of negative-related outcomes. Library officials realize, however, that such institution needs rebranding to remain relatable to young adults while offering them alternatives against paths that lead to “juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.”1 The public continues to depend upon the library as a safe-haven for its youth. However, offering the physical library simply as place is not enough. Teens need education to help assist them in becoming well-informed adults. At the heart of its concept, “the connected learning model” suggests that education must speak to more than just the requirements needed to increase a teen’s college entry test score. Rather, information leaders must find ways to tap into the spirit of what drives a teen --- and often displayed as triune, connected learning takes into account a young person’s “peer culture, interests, and academic subjects.”2 Through the lens of Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, this paper will shed light on why teens need libraries to: 1) bridge the growing digital and knowledge divide, 2) leverage teens’ motivation to learn, 3) provide workforce development training, and 4) serve as the connector between teens and other community agencies --- as suggested by the Young Adult Library Services Association during a year-long national forum (The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: Call to Action) conducted in 2013.