“You know more about teen authors than teens. You keep talking about reading and how great YA books are because you want to share the joy of reading-but these teens just don’t care.” (Velasquez, p. 105).
I think that this statement shows how libraries need to be more than just a place with books for teens. Many teens write off the library because they don’t like to read, without realizing all of the other opportunities that may be available to them through it. For example, most teen programs have nothing to do with reading or books. From my experience, the majority of the programs offered at libraries for Young Adults are either craft-related, food-related, or volunteer opportunities.
If a YA librarian won’t stop badgering teens about books, they probably are not going to want to spend time with them. Teens deal with enough nagging from parents and teachers. They don’t need another adult trying to force them to do something they don’t find enjoyable.
That being said, reading is obviously a huge part of the library and it is important to get teens interested in reading. I think that we shouldn’t avoid talking about books, but maybe bring them up in a more subtle way. For example, a teen might really love the television show “Empire.” You may be able to suggest a few books about the music industry to the teen, but do so casually and don’t pressure them into taking it.
It’s important to get teens interested in reading and books, but at the end of the day we can’t force them to be bookworms. We can only gently push them into the direction of books they may find interesting.
Velasquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.