Library Programming for Youth With Special Needs – Welcoming Children and Families Affected by Incarceration into Public Libraries » Public Libraries Online

I found this link on the Resource Guide for Underserved Student Populations (AASL). I was particularly interested in the toolbox section providing resources for children of incarcerated parents, as I have done volunteer work with prison support organizations.

This is a very comprehensive guide on how to welcome children and families of incarcerated people, specifically into the public library. However, I think the programming ideas could easily be used in a school library setting.

As far as programming, the resource recommends tailoring existing activities and/or programs to address the specific community. I appreciated this approach, as it doesn’t feel particularly pointed or heavy-handed but does facilitate a feeling of inclusivity. For example, the website suggests that a pen-pal or letter writing event could be adjusted so the patron feels welcome writing a letter to an incarcerated family member. This would include providing tips on addressing the letter properly, or possibly making something available that defines what can or can’t be included in a letter (or package) to an incarcerated person.

It also suggests tailoring a book club, or book discussion meeting to involve reading materials (either for children or their caregivers) that cover the topic of incarceration specifically. These are also both good tips for educating the larger community about a specific population that often remains invisible.

Library Programming for Youth With Special Needs – Welcoming Children and Families Affected by Incarceration into Public Libraries » Public Libraries Online

Teen Programming – Home | Teens at SFPL

While I was a frequent SFPL patron when living in the Bay Area, I never explored their Kids + Teen programming options. Not surprisingly, they have a wide and diverse array of offerings.

They now even have their own teen web platform they call The Mix at SFPL,which curates all of the teen programming, events, resources, and teen-created content (such as book recommendations and social media) onto a separate “The Mix” website. Finding it was easy – clicking on the “Teens” link from the San Francisco Public Library homepage takes you straight to the site.

While I’m not crazy about the design and layout (it looks pretty outdated in a clip-art/MS paint way to me), I do like the idea of creating a separate web space with a distinct feel from the rest of the SFPL site. It also creates a “for us, by us” sensation by weeding out content that most likely wouldn’t be interesting for library users ages 12+.

An umbrella name for everything teen-related (”The Mix”) also makes for fun marketing opportunities and a cohesive programming feel, such as the page “Made at the Mix” (see below).

Interesting links included on The Mix page include:

  • “Made at the Mix” : Featuring media content that was all created during teen programs and classes at SFPL
  • A Resources page specifically for research and educational resources
  • “Your Future” : With links for job and volunteer opportunities, as well as college information!

Their Events Calendar (w/aggregated teen events from all SFPL branches) is also pretty robust!

Teen Programming – Home | Teens at SFPL

Young Adult Collection Development – Welcome to LSYC! | Library Services for Youth in Custody


This is a really great resource for YA collection development, specifically in the environment of juvenile detention center libraries.

The LSYC website has a whole Resources for Collection Development  link. This includes specific collection development policies for incarcerated youth from different counties, such as Alameda County’s in the Bay Area (this one is not much different from their general YA Collection Development Policy, although it does mention specifically working with the Juvenile Justice Center to select appropriate materials for incarcerated youth), and Hennepin County’s, which is specifially for juvenile detention center libraries. This one includes a list of restricted materials, considered not  “appropriate reading material” for this population.

The “Resources” link also talks about the In the Margins book award, which I had not heard of before, but which often deals with authors and topics surrounding incarceration in the youth community. The award’s mission statement is as follows:


To seek out and highlight fiction and nonfiction titles (Pre-K through adult) of high-interest appeal to youth, ages 9–21, that reflect marginalized and/or street culture with a preference for marginalized books (books that are self-published or from small independent publishers).


Young Adult Collection Development – Welcome to LSYC! | Library Services for Youth in Custody