Friday, April 24, 2009

Tunes, Tots, and Tweens

This was a session sponsored by the Children Services Division of the Maryland Library Association on April 20. It featured two presenters: Joe Stover, Charles County Library; and Elizabeth Rafferty, Baltimore County Public Library.

Joe Stover began the program sharing his favorite fingerplays and CD's. He also booktalked several books that are his storytime favorites and showed how he uses the books, songs, and fingerplays in his storytimes.

To get copies of these, I would suggest contacting Joe himself at

The second portion of the program presented by Elizabeth Rafferty focused on tween brain development and possible tween programming.

Liz presented us with several core values essential to serving teens. In a nutshell, they were:

  1. Respect the Unique Needs of Tweens- One important point that she made was that babies and toddlers make noise during programming and their time in the library and we don't kick them out, why should we do that to tweens? And, they are still kids struggling between being kids and being adults, and we need to recognize that they are still not fully developed.
  2. Equal Access- Tweens deserve access to the library and its materials just as much as everyone else.
  3. Youth Participation-Give them the opportunity to give input and to participate in decision making.
  4. Collaboration-Everyone needs to be focused on good customer service to tweens, not just one staff member. All customers should be treated equally!

I think one of the most interesting things that she talked about was that tweens tend to react over-emotionally to harsh criticism and words. So instead of approaching kids negatively, it would be more suitable to approach them positively and include them in the discussion rather than talking down to them. One example that was given was when a group of tweens were having loud, unruly conversations in the library. Instead of yelling at them, the librarian asked to meet with them. She had a list of rules printed out for each of them, and they were able to discuss the rules in a group dynamic and give their input on them.

Liz also presented us with many program in a box ideas. And, we even completed one of them. To see more of them go to

Also to see more about the 40 Developmental Assets for Middle Childhood (8-12) go to:

Or, you can contact Liz at

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