Mix It Up: Spaces, Programs and Outreach That Engage Teens

March 23, 2016

Trying to understand how to stay relevant to your teens? Libraries across the country are looking at what they need to do to provide services and spaces to keep their teens engaged. San Francisco Public Library noticed several years ago that they were seeing fewer teens in their libraries and wanted to do something about it. That began a 3 year journey to develop what is now known as “The Mix.” Cathy Cormier, manager of The Mix at SFPL, along with teen librarians, Mary Abler and Eric Hannan, will discuss their experience and how they were able to engage their youth and truly make this a community project. While the physical location for The Mix is located at the Main Library, they are beginning a plan for taking their approach to all 27 of their branch libraries through “The Mix on the Move,” showing that the idea can be scaled to libraries of all sizes. Regardless of the size of your library, you will find helpful tips and concepts that you can use.

We’ll cover:

  1. How SFPL developed a plan for their new teen center
  2. Where they found funding for the project
  3. Lessons learned in the process and since the doors opened
  4. Resources available to support the development of a learning lab

Presenters

Cathy Cormier
Cathy is the manager of The Mix at SFPL, the Central Library’s new teen-designed library and digital media learning lab for teens ages 13–18. She oversees services at The Mix, including library collections (books and media), programs and outreach. Cathy and Mix Librarians Mary Abler and Eric Hannan work closely with staff at the Main Library and youth services librarians at SFPL’s 27 branches, as well as with schools and community organizations serving youth throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. The Mix was designed by founding members of the SFPL Board of Advising Youth, teen ambassadors selected each year. Cathy is excited about The Mix at SFPL providing a free, safe and equitable youth-positive space for anywhere, anytime learning. She has a BA in Politics from University of California, Santa Cruz, and her MLIS from San Jose State University.
Mary Abler

Mary Abler

Teen Services Librarian at The Mix at SFPL
Mary started her work with libraries nearly ten years ago as a neighborhood campaign organizer for the Branch Library Improvement Program, helping to raise $14 million to renovate library branches across San Francisco. After obtaining her MLIS, she spent two years at the Los Angeles Public Library as a librarian-in-residence in the Innovation Leadership Program, focusing on outreach and promotion of library services to the diverse community of LA. Mary is currently a librarian at The Mix at SFPL, where she coordinates activities in the makerspace and helps to oversee the work of the SFPL Board of Advising Youth, which she considers to be the best job ever.
Eric Hannan

Eric Hannan

Teen Services Librarian at The Mix at SFPL
Eric began working in public libraries in youth services when he was 16 years old, and after 25 years, he has yet to look back. Eric has worked for the Peninsula Library System, the Oakland Public Library and the San Francisco Public Library. He currently works as a Teen Services Librarian at The MIX at SFPL, the new teen center at the main branch of the SFPL. In addition to being a teen librarian, Eric is a musician who enjoys working with young people in libraries and aims to bring teens and music together in The MIX.

Moderator

Liz Bowie

Liz Bowie

Content Strategy Manager at Demco, Inc.
Liz is the Content Strategy Manager for Demco. Her background includes editorial management and product development of innovative and time-saving tools for schools and libraries, with an emphasis on Common Core, literacy and math. The products she and her team have developed, including classroom games, learning centers and professional development resources, have garnered 46 industry awards for excellence in education. Liz is passionate about promoting literacy through her work and the work of others. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and programming tips on Demco’s Ideas and Inspiration blog or have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, contact Liz at lizb@demco.com