Today my library is swarming with teens! We are having a History Day Hullabaloo which means, and this might get a little technical, my library is swarming with teens!
It's not so bad. In my experience library teen rooms draw a rough crowd. Mine certainly has. It's noisy. There are lots of social events in there. And it's an easy place for shitty parents to dump kids they don't want around. I have always been aware that if I were a teen the teen room is the one place in the library I'd have avoided like the plague. I wouldn't have avoided the library, just the one room in it that was supposedly for me.
But despite knowing all this, today's History Day Hullabaloo, a day where hundreds of thousands of teens are compelled to come to my library for some kind of major school project, has been something of an eye-opener for me. "So this is what an average cross-section of teens looks like!" I exclaim. Why, they seem very nice! None of them are shoplifting from the coffee shop or knocking over the old aged pensioners. They're just like other people! It's so different than... usual.
My mind had been clouded by my experiences with our normal denizens of the teen room.
When I was a teen we didn't have teen rooms in libraries. That is something I don't look back on in horror. I was okay with that. We barely even had teen literature back then, which is actually something I do look back on in horror. I was forced to read adult literature! They were still experimenting with teen literature. And though S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume weren't hugely to my taste it all worked out in the end. But I don't even have to go back all the way to my own teendom, which was iconoclastic anyway. I can just go back to when I started working in this library. There was no teen room, there was just a single row of books, on the flip side from the romances. And there was a chair.
"Sorry Sir, I'm afraid you can't sit there. That's the teen chair."