Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Children & Teens

by Gina Perille

Children and teens, although quite different from each other, together make up a very important group of users and potential users of the Boston Public Library. The principle that captures this states:

The BPL fosters the love of reading and skills in critical and creative thinking among children and teens – from early literacy through mature readership – by offering a slate of services that provide academic support and intellectual growth.

Listed below are a series of potential outcomes the library would like to accomplish in the coming months and years related to this principle. We’d like to know what you think are the most important of these outcomes. Pick three from this list and include them in a comment so we can take your thoughts into account. In addition, as you read through these outcomes, if you think there’s something missing in the discussion of children and teens, please suggest an additional outcome for us to add. More principles and outcomes will be posted next week.

  • BPL is committed to all teen/children’s spaces being safe, thoughtful, innovative, and creative; foster interaction, technology, study space, collections, programs and comfortable furniture: fun things that kids/teens want
  • Online study primers created for kids on all public computers
  • BPL focuses on life skill and information literacy for kids
  • Provide scholastic support
  • Real focus on early literacy programs (i.e. Reading Readiness, etc.), including age appropriate multi-lingual collections and collaborates with schools on this issue.
  • Literacy is for all ages, intergenerational approach
  • Offer volunteer opportunities or internship programs to get youth interested earlier
  • The BPL respects and protects the privacy of younger users
  • Youth Services system-wide coordinator – or both teen and children coordinator step up offerings for teens
  • Youth are welcomed everywhere
  • Homework assistance is continued
  • Regular story times in every branch
  • Teen Advisory Boards ensure youth leadership/direction
  • Established goals to build sustainable programs with local teachers/schools in walking distance of branches
  • Commit to sufficient teen/children librarians to allow them time to develop relations with youth. Add para or librarian costs for youth services.
  • Separate spaces and resources for children and teens.

One Response to “Children & Teens”

  1. massappeal says:

    First, I think it’s great that you’re making these investments in your online work. Keep it up!

    Second, I’d offer this thought as you think about your future role with children and literacy:

    Given the importance of reading for young children, what if it were a BPL goal to make it possible for every parent in Boston to be within a 10 or 20 minute walk of a site where s/he can get books to read to her/his preschooler/early reader?

    Or, another way to think about this might be to (if you haven’t already) measure a baseline of what percentage of families with young children currently use the library on a regular (weekly? monthly?) basis, and what it would take to increase that percentage.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.