On the 50th anniversary of the birth of young adult literature, the Reedsburg community has much to celebrate in the collection, programming, and services the Reedsburg Public Library provides for the area’s young adult population.
In 1967, the book “The Outsiders” was published by S.E. Hinton, a breakthrough novel ushering in a new era of authorship and publishing directed at teen readers. The parameters were broad, but in general encompassed the teenage years and featured a protagonist from that age group. In the years since, young adult literature has grown to include a number of types of books running from the early “problem novels” of S.E. Hinton to science fiction and fantasy titles such as the “Hunger Games” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Eclipse” series.
The growth of young adult literature over the years has evolved into a new service area for public librarians. The past 50 years have seen the addition of space in public libraries specifically devoted to “young adult” materials. Programming has also expanded for an age group that cannot be labeled as “children” but for whom adult materials and programming may be yet out of reach in terms of both reading level and life experience.
At Reedsburg Public Library, librarians Tina Peerenboom and Laura Geffert serve both children and teenagers under the umbrella term “youth services.” Library services to teens involve programs for library users entering grades five and up. Programs in 2017 have included a weekly Teen Time program that has included gaming, crafts and even a cooking competition, movie series based on books, a summer reading incentive program and volunteer program. Thus far in 2017, more than 700 teens have participated in the 32 teen programs that have been offered; 161 teens registered for the summer reading incentive program.
Located in the southwest corner of the library, the young adult section contains nearly 2,000 graphic novels and four magazine subscriptions. Fast outgrowing its allotted space in the library, the YA section has undergone some recent changes, with more to come. Thanks to the support of the Friends of the Reedsburg Library, new tablet-arm chairs and a sofa have recently been added to the teen area. A shift of the existing genre fiction shelves has made for a larger seating and study area, with additional display areas and shelving planned to allow space for the growing collection.
Peerenboom is as enthusiastic about programming for teens as she is about the new YA space itself. She comments that young adults can always use another safe space and another trusted adult in their lives. She enjoys seeing the camaraderie that develops between teens and their peers through the Teen Time program she facilitates. This fall Teen Time is being offered on Thursday after school beginning on Sept. 21. Upcoming projects include rock painting for the “Reedsburg Rocks” project as well as creating an emoji mask.
For more information, call 608-768-READ (7323).