Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009: The Year of the Tween?

I've been doing some research on Tweens and Tween services, and came across this great book with two copies available through our catalog. I would definitely recommend it for any libraries that are looking to improve their Tween services:
Serving Young Teens and 'tweens
By Sheila B. Anderson, James M. Rosinia
Contributor Sheila B. Anderson, James M. Rosinia
Published by Libraries Unlimited, 2007
ISBN 1591582598

Sometimes it's difficult to really talk about Tweens, because we don't know who they are...what does "tween" mean, anyway? A couple of definitions:

"A Tween is the combination of the words teen and in between. Your Tween is in between childhood and the teenage years--a time of exploration, growth, change, and turbulence." -Corwin 1999, in Anderson book.

"children who want to be treated as teenagers and want library programs that reflect their interests. Of course, they aren’t teens. And some of the subject matter, books, and music that often accompany teen events may be a little too sophisticated for these kids. " -LibraryVoice

Whether you prefer the more formal definition or the casual one, hopefully this gives you a better idea of the age group we're talking about. I myself would consider most children between 9 and 12 (roughly 4th through 6th or 7th grade) to fall into this category, and it's an age group that I've worked with pretty extensively. In fact, it was working with this age group that first got me interested in librarianship.

There are often very broad ranges in terms of reading level, interests, and sophistication among this group, and it may be difficult to find a good balance in terms of meeting their expectations for exciting, more mature reading and materials without presenting them with topics that are inappropriate. Further, boys and girls can often be in very different places socially at this age and have very different needs.

The Tween Task Force is hard at work to evaluate the state of Tween Services in ACLA libraries and to create recommendations for practices and programs to serve this important age-group. Be on the lookout for more info on this important group in the coming months!