Have You Ever Felt Unwelcome?
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
A library code of conduct for everyone
Create positive interactions
between staff and teens
Have you ever walked
into a place and immediately felt like you were under suspicion? The
security guard keeps looking your way. None of the employees smile at
you. Some ignore you completely and act like you don't exist. Clearly
you're not welcome there.
Sometimes, that's how
teens feel when they walk into a library.
Yes, some teens act
out sometimes. Libraries have policies
in place that set ground rules for patron conduct. When someone is
disruptive or harasses others, it creates an environment where no one
can fulfill a library's mission. Then everyone loses.
But if libraries want
people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build
community (as The Seattle Public Library puts it) or to be
a place for everyone to explore, discover, and engage (as the
Kalamazoo Public Library says), we have responsibilities too.
On a recent trip to
the Cincinnati Museum Center, I overheard a staff member going over the
ground rules with a student volunteer. What I heard were simple
instructions like, smile at visitors and offer to help them. Easy to
talk about, and not always easy to put into practice.
I'm seeing more and
and organizations adopt codes
of conduct that apply to everyone. They don't take the place of
library policies, but they're useful in reminding us that we all have a
part to play. Being "considerate and respectful" is a great start from
to build relationships with teens and create a better library
environment for everyone.
Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator
Build connections with teens
Teens can make
positive contributions to your library. It can be hard to see that
possibility if your interactions with them are mostly negative. Eden
Grey, a teen librarian at Kenton County Public Library, will tell you
how to provide good customer service to teen patrons at SWON's Customer
Join us for a day
full of games and practical talks—plenty to learn and try, but no live
audience watching. We'll help you work with customers who are
differently abled and of different ages, with other topics in the mix