All right everyone, I have a confession today: I feel out of place going to the YA section of the library when there are teens there.
My library has this awesome section set aside for YA books with a crazy light-up sign. It is tucked away in its own room with three sides covered floor to ceiling with YA books, chairs, and magazines for teens. I’m less interested in the magazines, but it is apparently a popular place for teens to hang out after school, which I think is great. I’m jealous that I didn’t have a place like that to hang out when I was their age (and also such fun books to read, or at least I didn’t know about them!).
However, when I go to the library after I finish with my graduate classes for the day, it’s usually about the same time that a lot of teens are at the library. This means that this fairly small YA section is filled with teens hanging out and talking. Again, this is great, I’m thrilled they are hanging out at the library. But this generally leaves me with a conundrum: the space is just too closed-in and small for me to go in and find a book. I’m very obviously not a teenager anymore. The section is also an area that has been decorated and advertised to be for teenagers, not me. I feel like I would be intruding into their clubhouse if I went in. And I just know that their conversation would awkwardly stop until I hurriedly picked a book and scurried out to escape the awkward!
So the question becomes, what to do? I know that a big goal of libraries has been to create a space where teens feel comfortable and want to hang out, and it’s great that my library has accomplished that. However, it’s gotten to the point that I’ve started just picking books out online and putting them on hold so I don’t have to go grab them in the YA section, or planning out times when the section probably won’t be busy and just not going in if I guess wrong. Maybe this is a bit crazy on my part, but is it really so silly that I feel out of place?? Is there a compromise so that teens can have somewhere to hang out, but the wider audience YA now reaches can also feel comfortable browsing in the library? Or is teenager comfort more important, do you think? I’m probably going to keep reading YA books no matter how much discomfort I have to go through to get to them, maybe the same can’t be said for those teenagers the library has reached.
How is the YA section set up in your library? Does your library even have a YA section yet? How about a YA audiobook section? Do you feel comfortable browsing for YA books when there are teenagers hanging out and talking in the YA section? Am I just being silly, you can be honest? If you’re a teen, I would love to hear what you think about adults browsing YA books!
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