Thursday, July 13, 2006

Teen feedback

Aaron Schmidt at Walking Paper has a thought-provoking post from Idaho's Evolving Library Services for Digital Natives conference. Part of the conference involved a panel of teens interviewed by Stephen Abram.

Their answers to his questions are in some cases what you'd expect. Others, I found surprising. I'd encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are a few tidbits I found particularly interesting. (By the way, Aaron channels e.e.cummings, and so doesn't capitalize. I chose to include the questions and answers in their original format.)

when did you visit a public/school library?
    really really long time/school often
    couple months for big projects/constantly!
    quite a while/don’t go in there much
    couple weeks/not for a while
    when i was 9/school year
    when i need to get a study book or project, couple days ago/regularly
    only been there once, a month in a half ago, didn’t have da vinci/for projects
    winter/last day of school

do you have myspace, tell me about it
    2 accounts, one real, one test, i talk to friends that way
    don’t do it too much anymore, switching to facebook
    don’t use it too much any more, i got over it
    don’t have one, my friends do
    trying to get it canceled
    don’t have it, don’t get it
    don’t have it, don’t get it
    my parents hate it, think it is unsafe, won’t get it
    don’t have it, made one up for fun
(This one surprised me. Apparently, My Space is sooo last week.)

what would make you go the library!?
    group collaboration!
    sweet computers, flatscreens - sexy!
    plan ahead of time for research
    talk and make noise
    an area where you can have bigger groups
    faster computers, way to find the books easier
    easier way to find books
    (boy thinks his library doesn’t have internet, window 98 is getting SLOW)
    faster computers, easier to find books

would you go to the library if there was gaming?
    of course
    my friends would, tons of people would
    if it was closer

what would your space in the library be?
    barnes and noble, sit and read
    bright colors, contemporary, sunken in floor
    trendy colors
    more colors, couches
    food stand
    music playing, headphones
    comfortable seats
(Interesting. I didn't expect the emphasis on ambiance.)

What would be in the library?
    magazines and books
    girls magazines
    game rental, play it there and take it home
    big TV, game nights like the library

what would you need in a study space?
    3-5 people, 2 computers or big monitor
    2 computers, doing different things (multitasking)
    wireless keyboard/mouse

IM reference?
    yes (willing to pay!)
    easier to drive,
    never phoned the ref desk

we have this stuff. how should we let you know?
    something on the internet
    video announcements

how do you FEEL about the library?
    they are not so nice, eagle library is nice tho. depends
    the library is a friendly place (the homeless scare me), i’ll get what i need
    depends on library and librarian, for the most part, good
    always willing to help
    i don’t know enough to know
    they are nice for the most part
    they want to help
    it is a friendly place

have a favorite search engine? do you have a strategy?
    dogpile, gives you the least amount to go through
    google, spell correction
    google, yahoo ads suck
    google, the first i used
    google, yahoo
    google, used it first, i’m learning how to use it well

So. They'd like better technology, a more comfortable and colorful space, and a place to work and play together. We can do all that, can't we? Remember, these are the folks who will be voting on that bonding bill in 10 years. Time now to endear the library to them!


Anonymous phyllis said...

You make it sound so simple. So why aren't we making the changes. Can it be that we are afraid of making changes? of having to step outside our 10, 20, 30 year old box? of being confronted by someone who knows more than we do? of dealing with someone who is different from us?

As has been said before "Librianship isn't for the faint-hearted".

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Kay said...

I'm not that surprised that the teens were over MySpace. It's a common phenomenon of something "cool" no longer being so because it is overhyped and no longer exclusive (it seems like everyone and their mother is on it these days). I still use it, but only to talk to friends who live in a different part of the state.

I think getting the input of young people is important in terms of getting them invested in their libraries (It reminds me of articles I had to read for school where the students who did various volunteer work for their libraries felt invested enough to bring others, including their parents, back into the library community), and so I'm looking forward to see how libraries make use of this information in the years to come.

12:46 PM  

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