Kentucky Library Association Conferences

This blog is a central place for conference attendees to check in on happenings around the conference. We hope this will help everyone share the excitement of the event.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tale of Teen Tuesdays

Louisville Free Public Library's Bon Air branch, has been doing interesting activities with their teenagers, as I found out at their program, Tale of Teen Tuesdays. A sudden change of demographics from, as I understood it, a predominantly white, older neighborhood, to one where African American families had moved in, forced a white female staff, to learn new tricks.

Geneva Huttenlocher, Marilyn Leathers, Beth Dantler and Angel Justice shared how they involved the community--and the city--in varied programs, from cooking to basketball to making Christmas ornaments, taking the kids to movies and museums. In the process, they learned some surprising things about the kids, but I suspect, although they did not articulate it in so many words, much of it boiled down to the simple fact that they were giving the kids a chance to feel at home in a non-threatening community situation, where the kids had a chance to be themselves, without the pressure that they have in so many other areas of their lives, from school to sports, and, yes, even in relation to their peers and in many cases also at home, to perform to certain expected standards. There are rules, of course, and behavior expectations, but not the explicit or implicit expectation that they, in a sense, have to pass a test to stay in the group and participate, and teenagers need that kind of belonging, too: where they can be themselves and relax.


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