Young Adult Library Services, Collections, and Programs

Best Practices in Young Adult Services in Texas Libraries

This list of best practices in 10 key areas of library services to teens were contributed by Texas librarians who attended a workshop series entitled, "Connecting Young Adults and Libraries: A How to Do It Workshop" presented in March, 2002 by Patrick A. Jones and sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Information copyright Patrick Jones and may be reprinted/used only with permission. Contact For additional information on library services to young adults, visit Patrick Jones' web site at

  1. Administrative Support
  2. Collections
  3. Outreach
  4. Programs
  5. Promotion
  6. School Cooperation
  7. Spaces
  8. Special Projects
  9. Technology
  10. Youth Involvement


  1. Administrative Support @ Austin Public Library. Teens gave Christmas presents/plants to thank funders and administrators for their support.
  2. Administrative Support @ Houston Public Library. Made colorful graph of "GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY" admitting mistakes and describing successes.
  3. Administrative Support @ North Garland High School. Librarian purchases inexpensive books for administrators at TLA in an area of interest.
  4. Administrative Support @ Staley Middle School, Frisco, TX. Displays all new books at the end of the year and invites administrators and teachers to see how budget was spent.
  5. Administrative Support @ (School Unknown). Librarian gives small gifts to every staff member during teen read week, for example Halloween candy.
  6. Administrative Support @ Shrade Middle School. Librarian sends e-mails to staff with the names of new books that might be of interest and provides food for all staff during special library visits.
  7. Administrative Support @ Keller Library. Added $800 of YA magazines. Worked with library director and involved the entire staff in the selection process so they would know selection criteria.
  8. Administrative Support @ Fort Worth Public Library. Administration became aware of the need for YA services due to city manager.
  9. Administrative Support @ Arlington Public Library. Decided that YA services were important. Involved more and more staff and impressed the director with services.


  1. Collections/Youth Involvement @ Bailey Middle School. Titles from the suggestion box are used by librarian to build collection.
  2. Collections/Outreach @ Austin Public Library. Deposit collections to corrections institutions, health centers, etc. consisting of review books and donations. Books contain sticker to let readers know where they came from.
  3. Collections/Outreach @ McNeil High School. Donated and used books are put into the "read and return program" which encourages students to return books or donate another title. Features a great mix of books and there are no overdue fines. Could also be used with teachers.
  4. Collections @ San Antonio Public Library. Purchase of graphic novels and videos has directly led to huge increase in YA circulation. Subjects include anime/manga (Japanese animation.) Started to purchase based on lists in VOYA articles by Kat Kan.
  5. Collections @ Houston Public Library. Coordinated YA collection development for all branches. Committees select materials with input from teens. Administration added language to selection policy stating that all books may not be liked by everyone.
  6. Collections @ King County Public Library. Displayed picture and description of new books.
  7. Collections/Promotion @ North Garland High School. When movie is released based on a book, librarian displays multiple titles purchased from Half Price Books.
  8. Collections/Youth Involvement @ Dallas Public Library. Librarian lets teens select books from Ingram catalog. Took a group of them to Borders Books and asked them to select favorites. Discussed titles and generated list over coffee also at Borders. Library purchased some of recommended books.
  9. Collections/Youth Involvement @ Dallas Public Library. Asks regular teen patrons what they would like for the library to purchase.
  10. Collections @ Arlington Public Library. A staff member who reads all of the YA literature began ordering for all branches because of her familiarity with the genre.
  11. Collections @ Fort Worth Public Library. Found Spanish authors, Carlos Sanchez and others, and ordered his books for YA area. Very popular. Found that non-fiction is very important and popular in teen area. YA nonfiction collection covers popular teen topics, including career, music, fortune-telling, chakra reading, etc. Display books on table.
  12. Collections @ Fort Worth Public Library. Adopt-a-Magazine program. Teens voted for magazine titles and patrons paid for annual subscriptions.
  13. Collections @ Denton Public Library. Teens weeded YA shelves. Circulation increased. Teens suggested titles and library purchased them.
  14. Collections @ Denton Public Library. Mindset for magazines is that they are disposable.


  1. Outreach/Promotion @ Liberty Municipal Library. Public library promotion at schools during Teen Read Week. Public library had reader's advisory guarantee that they would get the book a student wanted or another book for free. Did ILLs and promoted expertise in helping YAs find things to read.
  2. Outreach @ Houston Public Library. Faxed announcements and flyers to schools. Schools read and distributed them in the morning using school communications systems. Students got extra credit for participation.
  3. Outreach @ Houston Public Library. Gave students who visited the library a signed slip to give to their teachers.
  4. Outreach @ Houston Public Library. Brings graphic novels and other YA media to YA centers such as Juvenile Detention Center to let them know that library carries these materials.
  5. Outreach @ Houston Public Library. Overnight and day trips for teens to places such as Moody Garden and NASA. Summer Reading Club opening event at was held the Community Center.
  6. Outreach @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Library has placed computers in youth centers in locations such as churches. Staff visit twice a month and provide software instruction. Sites are also sites for programming and youth participation. Trained teens to be peer assistants at the computer centers with Wallace Reader's Digest grant funds.
  7. Outreach @ Dallas Public Library. Bring books to a juvenile detention center every two weeks. Show them to kids and read them a short story. Kids are very enthusiastic about the books.
  8. Outreach @ Lake Highlands Freshmen Center. Librarian visits classrooms and reads stories to students near holidays.
  9. Outreach/Programs/Special Projects @ Highland Hills Library. Librarian visits to recreation centers, schools, and daycare centers and presents programs in partnerships with community organizations and seniors.
  10. Outreach @ Dallas Public Library. Registers children for summer reading club at play days at schools.
  11. Outreach @ Fort Worth Public Library. Presents Mother Goose Asks Why? family literacy outreach program to adolescent parents.
  12. Outreach/Programs/Cooperation @ Fort Worth Public Library. Present programs in middle school across the street from the library. Greater numbers can attend due to larger space.
  13. Outreach @ Arlington Public Library. Art classes from a local school illustrated a wall of a library building with a mural. When the library building was replaced, the architect designed new building in the same location around the existing mural. The mural was repainted by a new group of young adults.
  14. Outreach/Promotion/School Cooperation @ Denton Public Library. High school social worker who works with at risk kids invited librarians to set up a table during the lunch hour in the cafeteria during Teen Read Week. Librarians distributed a handout with library information and homework resources with three hole punches so students could easily insert it into notebooks. Gave out library card applications and candy.


  1. Programs @ Waco Public Library. Storytelling program for high school and middle school aimed at drama and English classes. Storyteller taught them how to tell stories and the value of storytelling. Included visits to teen mothers.
  2. Programs @ Bailey Middle School. Sci-fi/fantasy club, all boys during promotion for National Library Week and Teen Read Week. Sam's is sponsoring a science fiction writing contest and publishing a book of student writing. During TRW program, teens could read, write, eat lunch, and hear guest speakers.
  3. Programs/Youth Involvement @ Llano County Public Library. Library held a survivor contest during a lock-in. Teens had to do a scavenger hunt using library skills.
  4. Programs @ Austin Public Library. Used pictionary game/mad-lib as ice-breaker for book discussion group. Turned into game.
  5. Programs @ Deer Park Middle School. Librarian held a trivia contest during Teen Read Week. The trivia concerned weird animals, fantasy, etc. Each day teens came into the library for the contest. The names of those who participated were entered into a drawing for a giant candy bar. The winner's name was announced.
  6. Programs @ High Meadows Branch, Harris County Public Library System. For kids of all ages. Ongoing chess program presented by the Senior High School Chess Club every Thursday afternoon. Chess contest at the beginning of May. High school donated 7 chess sets. Kids play every day. Tennis program as a special addendum of the Summer Reading Program, in collaboration with the Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Foundation.
  7. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Crafts. Supplying teens with quality crafts is a good way to get the guys in. They make them for girlfriends, mothers, and to sell.
  8. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Hosted a fashion show in collaboration with the store, Hot Topics. Library provided models and there were musical sets in between fashions. Goal is to make the library a place where teens feel comfortable.
  9. Programs @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Host a game night weekly.
  10. Programs @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Each branch chose a country in conjunction with the Houston Festival and held weekly programs on Saturdays during April on that cultures.. Activities included henna handpainting and temporary tattoos.
  11. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Web site and web cam program. Kids show parents and the community how to use databases at Houston Public Library. A writing contest in collaboration with schools. Winner received scholarships.
  12. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Teens read from Romeo and Juliet. Winners got $20 certificates for meal at local restaurant.
  13. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Teens voted for name of the YA area and web site.
  14. Programs @ Houston Public Library. YAs helped seniors set up e-mail accounts.
  15. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Teens received instructions in the use of Simword, a controlled word processor.
  16. Programs @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Tie-dye t-shirts in the library as a part of Christmas program. Kids need to know to wear old clothing if they are doing this, and to protect the carpeting. Possibly do this program outside.
  17. Programs @ Houston Public Library. Parent involvement program which includes a discussion group with students and parents. Diversion program which sends them to ASPIRE rather than go to detention.
  18. Programs @ Plano Public Library. Library hosts Teen Mystery Nights with input and assistance from teenage children of staff members. Scripts are on the web site at The Teen Activities Committee helped to write the mysteries. Libraries may use and them or alter them and are requested to acknowledge the Plano Public Library.
  19. Programs @ Plano Public Library. Art program. Librarian provided art supplies and kids decorated very plain covers of videos. Increased video circulation.
  20. Programs @ Richardson Public Library. For ten years have held six week program for young authors and illustrators each summer. Children create books that are sent to bindery, cataloged, and placed in the library collection.
  21. Programs @ Euless Public Library. Every week during Teen Read Week the library hosts an all night lock in for teenagers. Has improved relationships with kids.
  22. Programs @ Plano Public Library. Library has a homework center after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Library staff assist children. Teens who volunteer for tutoring are honor students earning service points. Younger children relate very well to them. Recommended reading: Creating Public Library Homework Centers by Cindy Mediavilla.
  23. Programs @ Denton Public Library. Teen Read Week Hard Cover Caf�. Teens brought a book, listened to live music, and booktalked. Library now does this once a month. Rotary Club gave grant for refreshments. Sends e-mail announcements to teens who attend. Awards prizes for booktalks.
  24. Programs @ Fort Worth Public Library. Hip hop symposium by a panel of record companies, song-writers, attorneys, librarians, and other community representatives. Kids asked questions and librarian referred them to books in library. Attendees came back for weeks asking for books and said they didn't know that library had these materials. One teen said he didn't know the library was so hip and that he was going to become a famous librarian.
  25. Programs @ Fort Worth Public Library. Kids ran a haunted house in the spooky library basement. Teens created decorations and costumes. Serve popcorn. About 90 kids attended.


  1. Promotion/Youth Involvement @ Johnston High School. Distributed sticker that says "I Read Banned Books." Read excerpts of books on in-school cable and had a discussion group about books, freedom to read, etc.
  2. Promotion/Youth Involvement @ Bailey Middle School. PTA purchased video cameras and teens created book commercials with a tag line about getting it free at the library. Teens suggested books for commercials. Teachers showed them in classrooms.
  3. Promotion @ Austin High School. Bought ads in the private school yearbook, school newspapers, and sports and theater programs.
  4. Promotions @ Flowermound Public Library. Set up a table with promotional flyers at schools during lunch.
  5. Promotion @ (Unknown Library). Discusses library at career day at schools.
  6. Promotion @ North Garland High School. Displayed YA books in the Library. In a "Survivor" style game, students eliminated 3 books per day. The surviving book was announced at the end of the game.
  7. Promotion @ Coppell Public Library. To promote reading club in schools, contacted broadcast media teacher. Students created a video to promote the reading club. Showed it in school and on local cable channel.
  8. Promotion @ Schrade Middle School. Kids had a choice of singing a Beatles song with a karioke machine or shooting a basket ball through a hoop to eliminate their late fees.
  9. Promotion @ Lakeview Centennial. Food for fines. Kids receive 50 cents credit against their late fees for every can of food they bring to the library.
  10. Promotion @ Forest Meadows Junior High. On Valentine's Day the librarian puts up Valentines around the school saying "Roses are red, violets are blue, the library loves you, EVEN if your books are overdue"--with a trailer at the bottom saying, "No fines charged on overdue books returned on Valentine's Day."
  11. Promotion @ Irving Public Library. First graders from an elementary school come to the library and librarians let kids sing to Karoake machine. Held a storytime and puppet show and served lunch.


  1. School Cooperation/Youth Involvement @ Austin Public Library. School library, public library branch, and history center teamed to do oral histories and took pictures. A reception was held for the teens and interviewees. Those being interviewed told about what was Austin like when they were teens. Lead to further partnerships: developed relationships.
  2. School Cooperation @ Round Rock Public Library. Public librarian invited school librarians to lunch at a caf�, then went to the library for a tour and dessert!
  3. School Cooperation @ Harris County. Public librarian attends school open houses, offers library card applications, and offers services such as tours. Attend school events such as music program, science fair idea, etc. Had a table with bookmarks, stickers, pamphlets about programs, information on web site and databases, and other services.
  4. School Cooperation @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Teen parenting classes visit the library. During the first visit, they learn about importance of reading to their children. Second visit is a Mother Goose Infant storytime. Grant funding provides three board books for each parent. Distributed library card applications.
  5. School Cooperation @ Dallas Public Library. Works with high school librarians and advertises college and career day. Recruiters and college representatives from throughout the area talk to teens. Over 200 teens attended.
  6. School Cooperation @ Dallas Public Library. Librarian keeps accelerated reader lists from local schools in binders in the library along with summer reading and homework lists. Gives packets of information to teachers at in-service and asks them to e-mail assignment announcements.
  7. School Cooperation @ (Library Unknown). Makes copies of reading lists that parents bring in and keep them in library.
  8. School Cooperation @ Dallas Public Library. Librarian tells teachers who visit the library them that she will pull books with 2 days advance notice.
  9. School Cooperation @ Fort Worth Public Library. Library offers teacher in-service training (full day) in cooperation with Fort Worth ISD. Public librarians share about library resources with teachers and school librarians. Each librarian talked about their area for 5 minutes. Gave teachers tours during which they asked questions. Taught computer training on online databases and let them know which databases are available through remote access. Offered teachers 6 hours of continuing education credit for attending.
  10. School Cooperation @ (Unknown Library). School librarian contacted public library. Phone call not returned. Best practice: RETURN PHONE CALLS!
  11. School Cooperation @ Mansfield Public Library. Held luncheon in September for school librarians. Discussed what public library could offer and asked what they want. Set up e-mail communication. Now in constant contact.
  12. School Cooperation @ Fort Worth Public Library. Invited school librarian to be on planning committee for Teen Read Week.
  13. School Cooperation @ Arlington Public Library. Local junior high had college fair. Public librarian called and asked if she could set up a table to promote the library. School very excitedly accepted. Librarian set up a table with flyers and examples of library resources. School invited librarian back the following year.


  1. Spaces @ Deer Park Middle School. "Homeless" futon was placed in the YA area of the library. Comments were "I love the sofa!" and "You need more chairs."
  2. Space/Cooperation @ Unknown School Library. Got financing from local sports team for program that serves both junior and senior high students. Created interest among boys. Teens were under-served, rural, and in need of resources. Stipulation was not to promote widely. Wrote thank you card.
  3. Spaces @ Houston Public Library. Big, comfy, colorful carpet for teens to sit on when chairs are full.
  4. Spaces @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Youth council and administration are involved in designing a new youth space so they will learn together about what can and can not be done. Youth are suggesting soft furniture, study area, carpeting, design, etc.
  5. Spaces @ Houston Public. Created a YA area by moving shelves, adding chairs, and a coffee table.
  6. Spaces @ Dallas Public Library. Teens had a space they loved underneath the stairs. Had to move due to ADA. Teens did not like the new space as much and the Friends of the library gave money to purchase furniture for YA area.
  7. Spaces @ Plano Public Library. Teens in focus group helped plan new library. Created wish list with lots of ideas. Kids voted on name for teen area.
  8. Spaces @ Fort Worth Public Library. Bought comfortable, low seating for teen area. The rule of the teen area is to "respect yourself and everyone else in the room." Librarians hold discussions about how all rules are encompassed by this one.


  1. Special Projects @ St Thomas. Teens signed up for a gift magazine subscription. Library went into community to find sponsors and then magazines were delivered to their homes.
  2. Special Projects @ Dallas Public Library. Received grants to finance teen center from State Library and other sources.
  3. Special Projects @ Fort Worth Public Library. Received grant money for Newspapers in Education which delivers newspapers to junior high schools.


  1. Technology @ Dallas Public Library. During National Library Week, had an Internet Scavenger Hunt. Children who completed it received a book as a prize.
  2. Technology @ Irving Public Library. Taught a class on how to build a web page using HTML during Teen Read Week.


  1. Youth Involvement @ Temple Public Library. Took digital cameras pix of teens doing tasks, which were more than stamping books. Trained and had waiting list to join. Helped kids get experience for jobs or college, leaving with folder/portfolio of their work. List of tasks.
  2. Youth Involvement/Administrative Support @ Boerne Public Library. VolunTeens group began at recommendation of Friends group. Teens and librarian walked in a parade and represented the library. Some stayed on as volunteers during school year and tutor on technology. Teen designed a VolunTeen badge.
  3. Youth Involvement @ Austin Public Library. Teens made bracelets, bookmarks, etc. for a patio sale in front of the library to raise funds for new headphones for the computers. Went into the community, dragged people from the street and made them buy stuff! Raised $275 to buy headphones for computers. APL gave them catalogs so they could choose. Left over money was used for fun for parties and programs.
  4. Youth Involvement @ C.D. Fulkes. Teaching kids difference between book review and book report, information about author, info about the person who prepared review: increased skills in Word Processing, Power Point, etc. Submitted to school newspaper. Promoted being library assistant.
  5. Youth Involvement @ Houston Public Library. Two latchkey children came in daily until closing and use computers. They now help other teens use the Internet.
  6. Youth Involvement @ Houston Public Library. Teens write opinions of games and game sites such as
  7. Youth Involvement @ Houston Public Libraries. Teens tutor younger children.
  8. Youth Involvement @ Houston Public Library. High School Fraternity hosted a teenage Aids conference in the evening.
  9. Youth Involvement @ Houston Public Library. Teen Advisory Board. Teen members from previous summer volunteer during the school year. They helped to form a Youth Advisory Board. Homeschool children and private and public school children are included. Teens choose the day for the meeting. At first meeting, they set up ground rules about respect and listening and then began planning activities and bonding. Teens will name the group.
  10. Youth Involvement @ Fort Bend County Libraries. Teens who did puppet shows during summer and teens from National Charity League formed Teen Advisory Board. Began as 7th graders now 9th graders. They prepare crafts for preschoolers and planned end-of-summer carnival with face-painting and prizes.
  11. Youth Involvement @ Dallas Public Library. Lots of public internet computers. Teens assist younger kids with computers. Also volunteered to help with other activities.
  12. Youth Involvement @ Dallas Public Library. Teens tutor younger children.
  13. Youth Involvement @ Arlington Public Library. Teen Advisory Board meets at various times. City of Arlington provides funds for refreshments. Some teens help with summer reading club. Some work collaboratively with tutoring group. Teens read to younger children and decorate a bulletin board about a selected author each month.
  14. Youth Involvement @ Fort Worth Public Library. Youth librarian is from Omaha where children wrote book reviews of books read during summer reading club. If teen recommended the book, the library posted the review on the library's web site along with the teen's first name and initial of last name.

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Page last modified: March 2, 2011