I currently work in a small university library in the Chicago suburbs. It has become clear to me how similar college patrons are to teens. The typical college age student is 18- 25 years old, and many of them still have similar characteristics that older teens have. Sex, Brains, and Video Games: A Librarian’s Guide to Teens in the Twenty-first Century by Pierce notes that studies have shown the brain doesn’t reach maturity until twenty-five when it is full developed. This is evidence that proves my assumption that even young college students can be still exhibiting teenager like behavior.
I work at the Reference desk, and I notice that many younger students tend to use the library but not many ask for help. And the younger patrons who do come to ask for help seem shy, nervous, or unsure what to say. So, I try to be friendly, comfortable, and use terms they understand. I know how scary it can be to ask a unknown person at a big desk a complex question in front of your peers. This is why I try to make myself known to them by a friendly smile, and when I do speak I tone down the library jargon.
I have come to believe that the past expediences that these patrons had greatly influenced how they behave today in a library. This is why it is crucial for all librarians not just in youth services understand the importance of children and teens to have a great experience at the library. Those visits to the library as a kid, could make or break them as a frequent library user. I feel that I need to change the opinions of these young minds to think that libraries are not as scary as they seem. I know it may be a big task, but I will take it on one patron at a time.