Prince William Public Libraries – A Place for Teens

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By Amy Taylor

Sponsored by Prince William Public Library System

The Prince William Public Library System (PWPLS) has something for people of all ages. It is making a focused effort on encouraging teenagers to read, prepare for college and get some volunteer job experience.

“In our regional and community branches, we have designated Young Adult areas that include meeting spaces with couches and places for young adults to study both in groups and in quiet. With their library card, they have the ability to use computers, check out books and other resources from the library, and have access to our Digital Library, which includes hoopla and OverDrive,” said Rachel Johnson, communications services division chief for PWPLS.

Programs for Teens at the Library

The young adult programs at the library cover a broad spectrum of topics.

“We offer a wide variety of programs for different interests: everything from STEM and STEAM programs that allow them to build and design to book clubs to what we call ‘10-Foot Pole Conversations’ – tough topics, such as What You Need to Know about STIs and HIV being offered in January and February. A program called Teen Dating Violence is being held on Feb. 28 at Central Community Library,” Johnson said.

The library looks at trends nationwide when they decide which new programs they will introduce for young adults.

“We just announced a new young adult program that has really taken off: 100 Books Before College challenges those in grades 9 – 12 to continue reading throughout high school. Incentives include great prizes like gift cards and a ‘College Supply Kit’ along the way,” Johnson said.

libraries, teens

Volunteer Opportunities Give Teens Real-World Work Experience

Teens who are looking to get work experience to build their resumes and get some real-world work experience can find plenty of opportunities at the library.

“Our teen volunteers are a truly important part of what we do at our libraries! Our 2018 Summer Reading Program had 435 teen volunteers that worked 7,907 hours,” Johnson said.

Select library branches also give teen volunteers the ability to sound their voices and make changes to the library.

“Some of our branches have Teen Advisory Groups where the teens can get involved and help to make decisions about that branch. These programs help teens earn volunteer hours and give them a voice in in their community,” Johnson said.

libraries, teens

Connecting with Teens

The library reaches out to teens through several channels to make sure they know of all the available programs, resources and volunteer opportunities available to them.

“Many of our librarians will visit Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park middle and high schools to talk about the benefits of getting a library card and all that their local branch has to offer,” Johnson said.

They also reach out to teens through social media.

“We make sure that we highlight Young Adults programs while also using our social media sites as a fun way to interact with the community,” Johnson said.

There is also a special section of Explore magazine, available in every library branch, that is devoted to young adults so that they can discover any programs coming up.

For more information on programs for young adults, visit PWPLS online or stop in at your local branch and pick up a copy of Explore magazine.

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