Editor's note

Ulla Pötsönen Information Coordinator, IFLA Section Libraries for Children and Young Adults (Finland)

Ulla Pötsönen Information Coordinator, IFLA Section Libraries for Children and Young Adults (Finland)

Last year IFLA Section published a collection of articles about sports in libraries. Now we’re taking a wider perspective: in this issue we’re viewing the impact libraries can have on physical, mental and social wellbeing of children and young people.

The range and depth of services supporting wellbeing libraries have varies a lot.  It can be anything from displaying relevant material and providing accurate and free information to long-term strategically planned training programs, bibliotherapy sessions or series of workshops.

As an answer to our call, we received several interesting proposals from all around the world. The editorial board chose seven to be published in IFLA pages, the criteria was to have articles either concentrating on concrete projects and campaigns or projects having a national or international value. The proposals we had to leave out are of a great interest too, so they are presented here. If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact the authors for more details (contact info after each project).

A space dedicated to young people provides a safe and supporting atmosphere. TenThirteen in Stockholm, Sweden, has created a safe and allowing atmosphere. Only 10-13 year olds and librarians are allowed to enter, so no adults, no small kids and no big kids. Tweens can feel safe and free to explore their identities through stories, discussions, crafts, music and play. Contact: Amanda Stenberg amanda.stenberg@stockholm.se.

For youngsters over thirteen, "Octavian Goga" Cluj County Library in Romania offers a space for teenagers – the first one opened in a Romanian public library, where teenagers have all the conditions needed for study and by organizing activities that contribute to their mental and emotional development. The activities ranging from drawing or reading contests and programs to support formal education, to recreational activities, holiday programs, volunteer opportunities and actions of social value. Contact: Georgeta Topan geta@bjc.ro.

Well focused reading promotions and activities serve as a tool for supporting wellbeing. At the easiest level just helping the teenager find the right novel to relate to can be an enormous self-help. As all librarians know, reading improves skills like empathy, identifying emotions and perseverance. Library activities can have a deeper side effect, as is shown in Robo Club, Camden, NSW Australia. The library had noticed that a lot of the young people were very intellectual and passionate about the Lego Kits robots, however they were reluctant to socialize with the other young person. The robot building and programming in pairs over 6 month period built a shared a common responsibility between the participants. Throughout period the parents saw confidence, communication, social skills and problem solving skills develop. Contact: Jessica Bruce Jessica.Bruce@camden.nsw.gov.au.

Cooperation and collaboration between different authorities working with children guarantees a comprehensive professional approach. A Lab School at The Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), of The University of the West Indies, Jamaica library program provides library program designed to nurture children's interest in books. This program will build skills in children by giving them the ability to independently use and enjoy library resources. The knowledge and skills gained through the program will help the children to form a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Contact: Kisha Sawyers kisha.sawyers@open.uwi.edu.

Continuous training keeps the library professionals up to date on children’s and young adult’s development. A state-wide training program joint with California State Library and Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC), "Developmental and Relational Frameworks" provides strength-based approaches to parent-child-staff relationships. The training’s goals are to enable libraries and library professionals acting as facilitators helping families increase their capacity to find and use information to support the wellbeing of children. Contact: Suzanne Flint Suzanne.Flint@library.ca.gov.

Ulla Pötsönen

Libraries for Children and Young Adults, Children, Young adults, Newsletter

Last update: 7 July 2021