Giving Tuesday: Spotlight on YA Services

Some of the most exciting additions to our services over the past fiscal year have been targeted to young adults in high school and early adulthood. In 2018, we’ve not only increased the type and number of programs created for young adults, but created a new space just for them on our main floor!

In working with young adults, library staff keep in mind best practices for supporting teens as they design programs, provide learning and leadership opportunities, and create a welcoming space just for high school students. YA services are designed with the input of young adults, and are developed at the initiative of our Reference Department. 

Our team of teen librarians has been working hard to engage young adults in grades 9-12, and we’re excited to tell you a little more about their efforts this Giving Tuesday. Your Giving Tuesday gifts to the Foundation support our annual appeal, and help us to better serve our community. Please consider supporting the Foundation with a gift of any amount today.

The Corner

 The Corner features colorful, comfortable new modular seating, and new areas for displays and featured collections targeted to young adults. A new service desk means that we can offer staffing support during the afternoons when the space is busiest, and pop-up programming like board games or creative activities means that we can engage teens in a fun way.

With the new space, we’re hoping to provide a safe and welcoming place for our young adults to gather. Through the programs we offer and the materials we provide, we’re working hard to empower young adult success academically, professionally, creatively and emotionally.

Young Adult Leadership Council

High school students volunteer their time twice a month to serve on the Library’s Young Adult Leadership Council. As members of the YALC, students plan programs, develop their leadership skills, serve as ambassadors for the Library at their schools, and advise Library staff on services to young adults in high school and early adulthood. The YALC members gave valuable input during our work to create The Corner, our YA space on the main floor, and have also developed and hosted their own programs – like Pajama Prom! Through the YALC, we’re giving teens the opportunity to make their voices heard and take an active role in creating the types of programs they want to participate in. This means that not only are we offering programs that they want to attend, like our supporting and affirming LGBTea Party, but we’re making space for young adults to grow their leadership skills, too. 

College Readiness Series

Our teen librarians also focus on supporting high school students through the college application and admissions process, even assisting students with one-to-one test preparation! One student’s ACT score jumped six points after working with library staff! 

Last year, our librarians supported then-WHS senior Tamara throughout the application process, assisting her with her essays and financial aid applications. Her hard work paid off: she was admitted to her top choice – Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism – and won prestigious scholarships and awards! Her thoughtful and sweet thank-you note meant the world to our teen librarians, who focus on mentoring and supporting young adults through high school and beyond. 

With partners like ISAC, Waukegan 2 College and TRiO, we’re also able to offer financial aid and application essay workshops.