7. You Get Angry About The Way Teens Are Treated at Your Library. (Velasquez, p 108)
11. You Are Often Called to the Reference Desk to Help Teens-Whether You Are on Desk or Not. You Don’t Really Mind Because You Worry that Teens Won’t Be Treated Well. (Velasquez, p. 110)
This issue is something I have fortunately never come into contact with. In my opinion, teens can often be easier patrons to assist because they don’t have the sense of entitlement that adults often have. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all teens or all adults, but in my experience the patrons who start conflict and yell are rarely the teens.
That being said, there is definitely a stigma towards teens and many reference librarians are quick to pass them off, or treat them with less courtesy than they do adults. This is frustrating, because it only feeds on a teen’s preconception that libraries are places where they are unwelcome.
I think most of Velasquez’s solutions on what to do when a coworker calls you to help a teen are great. I especially like the part where she suggests you introduce the teen and coworker (Velasquez, p 110). It goes back to her question 7 point that this allows the teen to see the librarian as an individual person and not just another cranky librarian and allows the librarian to see the teen as an individual and not as just another rowdy kid.
The only suggestion she had that I wasn’t crazy about was when she said “At some point while your colleague is watching, tell the teen, ‘You can always ask me or (colleague’s name) if you need help finding anything,'” (Velasquez, p 110). I think that this is a little petty and passive aggressive, and may cause tension between you and your coworker.
As Velasquez says, “diplomacy is import” (p 208). You can’t shove a love of teens down other librarians’ throats, and trying to is not going to do anyone any good. The best thing you can do is show how positive teen patron interactions can be and continue to advocate for them.
Velasquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.