SJSU iSchool Lecturer Published in American Libraries Magazine


iSchool lecturer Jennnifer Velasquez discusses the importance of making teens feel valued and welcome at libraries in her article that was recently published in the annual design issue of American Libraries.

An excerpt from a San José State University School of Information lecturer’s book on young adult library services has been published in American Libraries annual design issue.

In the article, Jennifer Velasquez, who teaches graduate students in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science program, discusses the importance of making teens feel valued and welcome at libraries.

“A cornerstone of teen library services is the principle that teens must be actively involved in decisions about their library experience,” she said in the article. “The Young Adult Library Services Association’s Teen Space Guidelines suggest that teens be included in planning and be given decision-making roles in the development of their space. The active participation of teens ensures that their evolving needs and interests are being addressed and that they will play a key role in attracting peers to the library.”

Velasquez offers solutions such as affinity spaces where users affiliate with others “based primarily on shared activities, interests and goals.” She also recommends teens-only spaces that “showcase teens’ achievements and recognize their contributions.”

Most importantly, a dedicated teen space needs a teen services librarian, according to Velasquez. “Creating a space merely for the sake of having a space is not an end unto itself. It is what happens in the space that is important. Experience trumps the fancy stuff. Staffers are there to facilitate the experience regardless of any bells, gizmos and whistles.”

The topic of teen space is covered in her INFO 261 Programming and Services for Young Adults course offered in the MLIS degree program at SJSU.

“One-third of the class is spent talking about space and implications of space. The space says so much about the services we supply. We all experience space differently, and we need to look at them critically. It’s my favorite part of the class because I enjoy seeing the thoughtful approaches students create,” Velasquez said.

To read Velasquez’s article based on her book Real-World Teen Services, visit the American Libraries website.