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Improving the Young Adult Space at Prospect Heights Public Library

From August 2015 to October 2016 I was the Young Adult Librarian at Prospect Heights Public Library in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. 


When I arrived I got straight to work improving the Teen Space.


First, I used Collection HQ and my knowledge of popular teen literature and graphic novels to weed the collection of poorly circulating and outdated titles.


Next, I decided to combine the paperback and hardcover high school fiction titles. In the current system, authors and books in a series were separated. Collating the collection facilitated browsing and I could now add a second work table with the paperback shelving unit gone.

Additionally, I moved the anime collection near the general DVD collection, put up more signage, a display unit, and a Teen Coloring Book Station. You can see the results of the initial improvements below. I wish I had taken photos of the space before I made these changes!

Teen Space 1st Update

The adult public computers, old square wooden display unit, new display unit, Teen Coloring Station sign, newly decorated bulletin board

Teen Space 1st Update

New Signage for Teen Collections

Teen Space 1st Update

New Signage, Display Unit, and Coloring Book Table

Second Round of Improvements

After preliminary improvements, I worked hard with the newly formed Teen Advisory Board to pick out new furniture for the space. Our primary goal was to create some privacy from the adult computer area. We picked out a couch that would form a barrier and modern seating and tables with outlets. We also made plans for a music production studio.


Unfortunately, word came from administration that we would't be able to make any of the promised changes for at least another two years. Thankfully, my supervisor let me spend some money on bean bag chairs and a new display shelving unit that formed a bit of a barrier for the Teen Space.


Overall, I was really proud of what I was able to do with the space with limited funds (the only money spent was on the bean bag chairs and silver display unit). The Library saw an increase in the circulation of High School Fiction, Graphic Novels, and Anime. We also saw more teens in the Library in general particularly around midterms and finals. That proves that even if teens aren't using the Teen Space, it still serves to show them that they are welcome in the building. There's so much more I wished I had been able to do  (like move the space away from the adult computers and add charging stations) but there's pride to be found in using ingenuity and hard work to still make positive changes when it feels like the cards are stacked against you.

Teen Space Final Update

New display shelving unit and Summer Reading display.

Teen Space Final Update

Another angle of new display shelving unit from Demco.

Teen Space Final Update

A moment of victory for me! Teens actually using the space and new bean bag chairs. You can also see the great collection of art we had due to the Coloring Book Table.

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