By Shannon Crawford Barniskis, Director, Lomira Community Library
This two-part article addresses the outcomes of art programs in public libraries by examining the literature, and by asking teens how these programs can affect their civic engagement. The literature review synthesizes previous research on art, libraries, teens, and civic engagement, and positions this case study in relation to the theoretical constructs of adult researchers.
The case study generates a grounded theory of the teen experience of art programs and its correlating shifts in civic engagement. Fourteen teens joined in six weekly arts programs, responded to surveys, and participated in interviews on art, libraries, various measures of civic engagement, and the ways in which these three concepts intersect. Teens were research partners. The resulting teen-generated and validated theory describes how library art programs can directly and indirectly affect teen civic engagement by facilitating the development of social capital, offering opportunities to engage, and allowing teens to guide their own actions and decisions regarding the sorts of civic engagement in which they want to participate. Overall, participants believed that these programs can positively affect empathy, a sense of belonging, social networks and connections, creativity, a sense of being listened to and valued, and other cognitive and emotional shifts.
From coast to coast, public libraries are buzzing with energy as teens scrawl henna tattoos on their hands, record hip-hop tracks, or knit. Public librarians are serving teens through an increasing number of programs and services.1 Books such as The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects2 commonly advocate art programs for reaching out to teens, and daily chronicles of art-based programs fill YALSA’s email discussion lists about teen programs. In best practice articles, young adult librarians offer heartfelt advice such as “librarians help teens make tight-knit connections…with craft, libraries can pattern a legacy of connection,”3 and
…the teen you helped will grow and learn more about themselves and the world. When you facilitate fine arts programs with teens…you present a program and then watch for a spark to appear in one of the participating teen’s eyes, and you think, ‘This is perfect, I just changed someone’s life today.’4
Teen librarians want this to be the case, hope it is the case, but have little available research that demonstrates how our carefully planned art programs actually affect teens. Meanwhile, the civic engagement or citizenship-enabling mission of public libraries languishes, ostensibly exchanged for an economic one.5 Well-educated, civically-engaged citizens founded the first tax-supported public library in the country, the Boston Public Library, to encourage the entire citizenry to become similarly engaged and educated.6 This justification for the use of tax dollars for libraries is that access to information will ensure an educated electorate, a citizenry informed about the issues of the day and willing to do the hard work of democracy.
Catherine A. Johnson asks, “If the provision of information is no longer its most important role, how should the library reposition itself to remain relevant to municipal funders?”7 All sorts of answers present themselves, primarily the idea that libraries can continue to function as agents of civic engagement and social change, counteracting the tide of divisive individualism as people are becoming more and more isolated behind their screens. Researchers could explore several models of civic engagement support such as: zeroing in on the library as a thirdspace, maintaining online tools for community participation, citizen journalism or community publishing as facilitated through local libraries, and focusing library programming to foster active citizenship or civic engagement.
This research was proposed from my inchoate sense, even after thirteen years as a youth services librarian, that art programs in libraries offering a way for teens to socialize, learn, and respond to issues that impacted them seemed fundamentally different from school, church or other activities. Years of watching teens produce socially-aware art, and hearing teens describe their understanding of social realities while doing craft projects, had made me aware that something was happening under the apparently sugar-coated surface of making jewelry from bottle caps and writing song lyrics on t-shirts with bleach pens. I wanted to know what was occurring during these fun, well-attended programs, and to see if there was any correlation between the programs and some community benefit that could inspire funders to get as excited about programs as the teens were.
In response to these musings and observations, this research looks at a commonly-held program at libraries, beyond the private value these programs hold for each participant (which is by no means a statement about the relative worth of such private value), and examines how public funding for these programs results in a public benefit. Fourteen teens from one small public library helped to build a grounded theory addressing the research question, “How does art programming in public libraries affect civic engagement in teens?” They spoke of the barriers to engagement that they encounter. They were cautious participatory scientists. Through their own words and choices, this study situates the teen within his/her community, within the library, and in relationship to art and civic engagement.
When libraries use civic engagement to gauge outcome measures for the community impact of teen art programs, a circle is bound: Civic engagement created the public library through tax support, and the public library facilitates civic engagement and thus a stronger community. The impact of this research potentially goes beyond the immediate beneficiaries of the results, the teens, to communities in which they live. Since entire communities can conceivably benefit from increased teen civic engagement, this research adds to the conversation on how libraries benefit communities. If librarians interpret the grounded theory to provide more focused programming for teens, teens may begin to use libraries more regularly, and to feel better served and more satisfied with the library program offerings.
This study is relevant for a variety of other reasons. Teen librarians may be able to use it to justify and market their programs, garnering monetary, staff, and community support. Library administrators could use it to explain the need for teen program funding to library boards and city councils. Currently, few public libraries have dedicated teen funding.8 If quantitative research based on this and other theories of teens in libraries reveals that teen programming has a measurable benefit for the community, library boards may consider revising their mission to incorporate and fund art programs. On a cautionary note, both the literature review and the grounded theory describe how adult-centered ideas of what civic engagement “should” be can alienate or disenfranchise teens. Librarians should not plan their art programs for the sake of overtly facilitating civic engagement. Art for art’s sake, or for the sake of fun and individual enjoyment, is the teen-centered best practice; the potential benefits of civic engagement appear to be more important to community members, library staff, and funding agencies than to the teens themselves.
The literature on art, civic engagement, libraries, and teens is a well-developed conversation, even though some of the participants have yet to speak directly to one another. Philosophers and sociologists have mused upon the intersections between art, community, empathy, and communication.9 Library theorists and political scientists join the conversation as they describe the library’s critical impact on civic engagement, citizenship, community-building, and building social capital.10 The concept of the public sphere, where people come together to share experiences, is critical to the idea of civic engagement. Education philosopher Henry Giroux notes that the public sphere is defined as the “mediating space between the state and private existence…rooted in collective self-reflection and discourse under conditions free from domination.”11 Libraries are perhaps the ultimate public sphere, due to their status as a least-mediated space compared to our other public, religious, economic, or social institutions. Teens have few places to gather that are not commoditized or in the business of faith or pedagogy. Unfiltered access to art may be available in a museum, if one can afford to go to a museum, or an art center, if one is lucky enough to have a free art center in one’s community. In some communities, none of those options are available and the library is the only free public space for creative activities.
To define two critical terms for this study, I turned to the work of sociologists. Erlich defines civic engagement as “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”12 In this study, both fine and applied arts fulfill the definition of “art”: painting canvas and painting mendhi, playing violin and listening to punk rock, are all treated equally. In terms of instrumental value, this research is informed by Gans, who considers the traditionally more desirable “high art” and less desirable “low art” as equivalent.13 While the literary arts should fall within the range of “art,” the impact of reading literature is not part of this research.
Research studies examining the impact of literature on teens are not discussed as part of this literature review.14 Furthermore, the shifting focus of libraries from purveyors of books to multimedia community centers is one of the main thrusts of this project. If libraries are offering non-book-related programs, we need to understand why and how these programs affect library patrons.
Many researchers have examined the concept of teen civic behavior, including how teens exhibit, build, need, or lack civic engagement.15 Church attendance, the length of time living in a community, size of friend network, mother’s education level, family political views, and participation in social organizations are all factors in the formation of civic engagement.16 The types of programs available to teens are often quite limited, particularly in rural communities, where 4-H and Scouts are frequently the only options for extracurricular, non-religious, non-sporting programs.17 Generally, public libraries are mentioned in the context of literacy alone in studies about civic engagement or teen life.
Thousands of studies have been done on teen cognitive, social, and emotional development, from Piaget onward. A review of this literature is outside the scope of this paper, but one of the most commonly used tools describing the needs of teens is the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets list.18 This list synthesizes teen development studies and responds with practical suggestions for people and institutions working with teens.
In Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, Ito et al.19 (2008) touched on many of the Source Institute’s recommendations when they described their vision of how libraries can affect teens through the teen’s interests in digital media and collaboration:
…what would it mean to enlist help in this endeavor from an engaged and diverse set of publics that are broader than what we traditionally think of as educational and civic institutions? In addition to publics that are dominated by adult interests, these publics should include those that are relevant and accessible to kids now, where they can find role models, recognition, friends, and collaborators who are co-participants in the journey of growing up in a digital age.20
Where the case study in Part 2 of this article differs from previous studies of teens and teen attitudes toward civic engagement is that the teens were not only asked directly how they feel and perceive various issues, they were invited to directly participate in the research process. The theory results from teens as these “collaborators” and “co-participants.”
Several large-scale studies answer Ito et al.’s question largely in relation to adult experiences of arts participation, which correlates with increased civic engagement.21 But teens are participating less often in many types of art,22 and overall participation in the arts is dropping precipitously.23 Many young adults now access art through electronic media instead of through live performances or visiting museums. Yet young adults are increasingly willing to volunteer, though it is uncertain whether that is due to school requirements or other social changes.24 Studies of people who participate in arts and who read literature reveal dramatically increased rates of voting, collaborative arts, and participation in community events; those who actually create art are civically engaged at still higher rates.25 National Endowment for the Arts researchers parsed the statistics: “The odds that performing arts attendees will volunteer are 3.8 times greater than for non-attendees, regardless of their educational attainment, gender, and other selected demographic traits.”26 Educational attainment level is a predictor for civic engagement activities such as volunteering, but art participation correlates even more strongly.
McCarthy et al.and Guetzkow and Fuqua27 each described how the intrinsic and benefits of the arts, including individual cognitive and empathetic benefits, can spill over into community benefits.
Participation in the arts affected the economic, cultural and social health of communities and individuals. Fuqua described how skills garnered through arts programs are an economic benefit and described the need for access to the arts as a social justice issue:
In our modern skills-driven economy, access to arts education should be seen as essential for disconnected youth. Whereas in the past, discrimination prevented many minorities from reaping the benefits of higher levels of education, today, increasing stratification of wealth segregates those who achieve higher levels of education from those who do not.29
This focus on equal access resonates with the librarian’s credos established in the Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement,30 in which equal access is cited as a critical element of public library services.
Brice Heath, Soep, and Roach’s longitudinal study of non-school art programs noted that kids who participate in these programs perform community service more than four times as often as the control sample.31 The artist children’s belief that it is important to help others in their community was nearly 20 percent higher than the control group, and they were 13 percent more likely to see themselves as being able to address inequality.32 The researchers found that the art programs enabled a “commitment to understanding contemporary circumstances while creating new ways of seeing.” 33 Similarly to Brice Heath et al. and Maxine Greene, McCue’s case study described how art itself is a civic space.34 She found that, “seeing ‘otherwise’ is a crucial perspective in the development of a healthy citizenry; we have the chance to imagine what it is like to be someone other than ourselves. In this way, appreciating and producing art teaches habits of mind and heart that connect us to the world.”35
While art does not necessarily make people “happier,”most people discover the form of art that will be most meaningful to them at around age thirteen,36 a target age for public library teen programs. Participation in the arts engenders important individual and societal benefits such as empathy, communication, civic engagement, social capital, tolerance and self-esteem, academic achievement, and pleasure. In most of the studies examined here, libraries are neglected as an important resource for the arts and artistic development.
Dozens of studies have investigated how civic engagement plays out, but the focus here is on those related to teens, art, and/or libraries.37 Miklosi’s study found that teens need to learn skills in order to discuss civic issues. Teens often didn’t see the impact of national policy on their lives and thus didn’t care about it, though they were willing to work on issues they felt were relevant to their lives, and they were individualistic about their engagement. In other words, “what’s in it for me” was the name of the game.38 Miklosi found potent evidence that teens desire leadership endeavors with “legitimate power-sharing opportunities.”39 Topics surrounding respect and being listened to captivated teens’ interest.
The MacArthur Foundation’s book Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth synthesized multitudes of studies and illustrated best practices for educators and youth advocates. In it, Rheingold described a poll in which 70 percent of respondents ages 12-24 believed that it was important to help one’s community, and 82 percent reported doing something to support a cause monthly.40 His depiction of teens refutes depictions of teens as apathetic slackers:
…it does seem that the majority of young people are convinced that supporting a social cause is something they should do. However, there is a strong disparity between interest and involvement, an ‘activation gap,’ and there is significant room for growth.41
danah boyd42 notes that civic engagement grows from real-world experiences of teens. Rheingold quoted boyd as saying “Politics start first with the school, with your friends…then they grow to being about civics. Pushing the other way won’t work. You need to start with the dramas that make sense to you.”43 Coleman attacked the notion that young people’s activism should be pushed or managed, fearing that “citizenship is being molded and constrained by technological infrastructures that are designed to perpetrate a narrow, quiescent and consumerist model of civic action.”44 As teens seek their own forms of engagement, often in digital worlds, or in ways not recognized by adults, they may push back against external pressure to participate in civic action. This pressure to volunteer or otherwise become “good citizens” as defined by parents and teachers can backfire. Rules and guidelines surrounding teen civic behavior “simply exist to reinforce institutional fear and authority.”45 Earl and Schussman affirmed that “one must ask whether existing notions of what comprises civic engagement tend to ignore, devalue, and otherwise marginalize ways in which younger citizens are connecting with one another to collectively make a difference in their own worlds.”46 This research contributes a cautionary tone to the implications of this study: Imposing an external aim for civic engagement on teens may be less effective than offering a forum through which they can be heard.
Livingstone, Couldry, and Markham surveyed over one thousand British teens.47 They found teens to be more interested in celebrities and conforming to peer norms than in politics. Teens protested that “‘having your say’ does not seem to mean ‘being listened to,’ and so they feel justified in recognizing little responsibility to participate.”48 While the teens were not less trusting than older people, they did have less social capital, and fewer social expectations.
Sociologist Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone describes how involvement in community organizations, including libraries, increases the social capital of communities: They are more likely to have high voter turnout and increased volunteerism.49 Individuals who participate in one sort of civic activity are likely to participate in other civic activities, building their own personal social capital. Putnam argued that we face a civic crisis in terms of young people’s civic disengagement,50 and that Americans have largely abandoned civic life in favor of individualistic activities such as television viewing. Yet many researchers, including Putnam, consider both art and libraries as builders of social capital for both individuals and communities.51 Youniss, McLellan, and Yates’ metasynthesis of the last thirty years of studies determined that the sporadic development of civic engagement cannot be due to the macro-process of society-wide apathy, as Putnam asserts.52 They linked the development of civic identity to participation in organized groups as teens.
Empathy is one of the most commonly identified correlates of engagement,53 and one of the building blocks of civic engagement.54 Social interactions are mediated by feelings of empathy in which we interpret and predict the behaviors of others, and modulate our own behaviors on extrapolations of how we believe others will interpret ours.55 The shared experiences of these interpretive and predictive interactions, specifically through art in the case of this study, can build teens’ inner empathetic “library” to include more and more possible interpretations and predictions. Artist-philosopher Maxine Greene sums up the way art acts as a facilitator of empathy and connects diverse people:
Often times, the extent to which we grasp another’s world depends upon our existing ability to make poetic use of our imagination, to bring the ‘as if’ worlds created by writers, painters, sculptors, filmmakers, choreographers, and composers, and to be in some manner a participant in artists’ worlds reaching far back and ahead in time.56
A reserve of social capital is necessary before a teen will choose to engage. In addition to empathy, another major factor identified as critical to building social capital is the sense of belonging in one’s community.57 A third factor of social capital and engagement involves social trust, which plays an especially important role in facilitating volunteering and charity giving.58
In conversation, librarians discuss how libraries benefit communities and enable stronger communities, but others in the community may forget the role libraries play. There is a resurgence of interest in social capital and civic engagement in library contexts, as evidenced by recent studies and the ALA Center for Civic Life.59 Johnson found a strong correlation between indicators of community involvement, volunteering and charitable giving, and the frequency of library use.60 Library users displayed a higher level of social capital than random residents of the city.61 In her research on libraries and communities, librarian de la Peña McCook noticed that librarians were rarely part of the conversation on community building and delineated myriad characteristics of community-building activities and how libraries already support them.62
Librarian Jenny Levine conducted the sole study on teen civic engagement and library programs.63 She looked at videogame library programs through a series of descriptive case studies. In one of the case studies, a librarian asserted that the programs transformed teen beliefs from “My community doesn’t value me” to “My interests are valued by the community, and the library proves it.”64 These case studies were descriptive in nature and did not generate a theory, nor test one. Levine states that “transformational power—not books—is our brand, and those transformations happen in relation to many different media. They happen in relation to people, communal spaces, social programs, a wide variety of services, and many different content containers, including but not limited to books.”65
A growing body of research describes how libraries serve teens and how teens in turn perceive libraries.66 A grim picture emerges. While libraries are offering more and better services to teens, often the teens are not responding with positive perceptions of libraries, especially boys. Walter acknowledged the tensions in serving teens: “Adolescent culture is not always compatible with library culture. Few public libraries have the kind of space that welcomes and nurtures teens. The needs of other patron groups are sometimes in conflict with the needs of young adults.”67
Australian case studies demonstrated that urban youth have more mobility and choices than rural or suburban youth, and often they choose not to go to library.68 Derr and Rhodes identified a sense of belonging and place which stemmed from voluntary, uncoerced actions generated by teen-librarian interactions. The resulting social capital benefitted both communities and individuals. Edward and Williams took an ecological systems-theory approach and found that libraries can function as part of the mesosystem of linking key elements of teenage experience.69 For example, libraries provide a “temporally and spatially available ‘place to go’ when school and home are not available.”70 They also pointed to the fact that teens not only have little access to public space, but they also must jockey for access to home resources such as computers or simply a space to make noise in. As in the Derr and Rhodes report, Edward and Williams called for libraries to become thirdspaces that build social capital by facilitating the sense of belonging and place needs of teens.
The literature on library teen services impacts this study by highlighting the concept of social justice as a goal in offering programs and services to those who often have nowhere else to go. This literature is in its infancy in many ways; few quantitative studies have been done regarding teens in libraries. Most of the literature involves a case study, with limitations similar to this research. Until more large-scale, externally-valid, and longitudinal studies are done, the research on teens and libraries remains inconclusive.
Although some librarians were writing about arts in public libraries in the 1970s, this body of literature remains undeveloped. Jane Manthorne wrote in 1971 about the needs of disadvantaged kids and how libraries were meeting those needs through art programs such as film, music, and creative writing.71 Teens sought art spaces and experiences in 1971. They still seek them today; one teen noted, “They should build like a studio thing where kids can go and relax. I play the guitar, but I can’t play it in my house because they always go ‘shut up.’”72
Writers have praised the ImaginOn Loft and its innovative studios for recording music, animating or filming, and writing.73 Teens are content creators as well as content users at this library, which partners with a children’s theater. YouMedia at the Chicago Public Library also facilitates a teen-empowerment agenda with studio spaces and art performances.74 Programs like YouMedia and ImaginOn are an answer to Manthorne’s 1971 call for a “living, changing idea place.”75
The literature on the four main conceptual components of the research question contributes a great deal to a top-down, adult-originated theoretical framework describing how teens are affected by art, how art affects civic engagement, how civically engaged teens are, and how public libraries affect civic engagement. Less plentiful are studies on ways in which public libraries affect teens and support art. The library context for art and civic engagement is rarely examined, nor are teen attitudes often interrogated. In this study, the teens generate their own theory of how the four components of this research do, or do not, overlap in their lived experiences.
Part 2 of this article will discuss a case study that is situated within the larger body of research described in this literature review. However, as Moeller, Pattee, and Leeper note:
Adults often talk about the concepts and feelings young adults experience…without actually engaging young adults to understand their first-person accounts—a practice that, at best, provides only half of the picture and, at worst, results in the dissemination of false pronouncements about young people’s habits, tastes, and abilities.76
An adult-generated theoretical construct provided by this literature review and other, even more abstract philosophical texts,77 could be considered epistemologically valid and tested quantitatively. Yet Schaefer-McDaniel critically evaluated the various theories of teen social capital and found that few researchers have bothered to consider the teen’s perspective, choosing instead to survey and interview teachers or parents about their perception of teen behaviors.78 However, without the input of young adults themselves, the use of adult-rendered literature neglects the teen context in which any studies of teens must be grounded. Part 2 of this research article will use teen language, teen researchers, and an embedded researcher/teen librarian to build a theory grounded within teen realities.
Even without the teen perspective on art programs, libraries, and civic engagement, this literature review is valuable. First of all, it brings together several lines of inquiry from many disciplines to form a framework for considering how public library art programs can affect teen civic engagement. Irrespective of the truth value of the grounded theory that will follow in Part 2, this synthesis of the literature offers youth services librarians a useful foundation to begin the conversation on why arts programs in public libraries should be funded and valued, not only for the sake of the individual participants, but also for the community as a whole. A collocation of many studies on the civic outcomes of art programs, for example, will give the practicing YA librarian many tools with which to convince funders to support teen programs that can seem frivolous to people with a nineteenth-century view of libraries as “book places.”
Secondly, one of the ways in which the validity of any given study can be assessed is to ascertain whether it substantiates previous research. The data gathered in the interviews of the case study that will be described in Part 2 overlaps with nearly every study mentioned in this literature review. One of the few exceptions is the idea that teens do not value public libraries or consider them relevant to their own lives. In the case study, it became apparent that the teens feel strongly that the library is important, relevant, and a place they respect. The reason for this difference from the previous research79 appears to be the art program context in which the teens experience the library.
Finally, this literature review can have implications for a young adult librarian seeking research inspiration. While instituting a full-scale research project may be time- and resource-intensive for a practicing librarian, an analysis and/or synthesis of existing literature can move the corpus of literature on teen services forward, even when one takes as an interdisciplinary view as in this review. New ways to measure the outcomes and benefits of young adult library services can result from such synthesis, offering more tools for praxis80 in the day-to-day offerings of teen services.
1. Amy Alessio and Nick Buron, “Measuring the Impact of Dedicated Teen Service in the Public Library: Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Award Research Grant Results,” Young Adult Library Services 4, no. 3 (2006): 47-51.
2. Tina Coleman, Peggie Llanes, and Heather Booth, The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects (Chicago: American Library Association, 2009).
3. Jennifer Burek Pierce, “Patterns of Best Practice: Librarians Help Teens Make Tight-Knit Connections,” American Libraries 40, no. 12 (2009): 51.
4. Natasha D. Benway, “Fine Art Programs, Teens, and Libraries Changing Lives One Program at a Time,” Young Adult Library Services 9, no. 1 (2010): 28-30.
5. John Buschman, “Democratic Theory in Library Information Science: Toward an Emendation,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58, no. 10 (2007): 1483-96; John Buschman, Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship in the Public Philosophy (Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2003).
6. Benjamin Seaver, Henry J. Gardner, and S. F. McCleary, “Report of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston” (Boston, Mass.: 1852).
7. Catherine A. Johnson, “Do Public Libraries Contribute to Social Capital? A Preliminary Investigation into the Relationship,” Library & Information Science Research 32 (2010): 147-55.
8. Alessio and Buron, “Measuring the Impact of Dedicated Teen Service in the Public Library: Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Award Research Grant Results.”
9. e.g. John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: Perigree Books, 1934); John Dewey, The Public and its Problems (Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1954); Maxine Greene, Releasing the Imagination (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995); Maxine Greene, Variations on a Blue Guitar: The Lincoln Center Institute Lectures on Aesthetic Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000); Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bougeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence, 1st MIT Press paperback edition (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991); Jurgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason, Volume 2, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1987); Jurgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action: Reason and the Rationalization of Society, Volume 1, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1981).
10. Thomas Augst and Wayne Wiegand, eds., The Library as an Agency of Culture, vol. 42, (Print Culture History in Modern America) (Mid-America American Studies Association, 2001); Buschman, “Democratic Theory in Library Information Science: Toward an Emendation”; Buschman, Dismantling the Public Sphere; Katherine de la Pena McCook, A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building (Chicago: ALA Editions, 2000); Katherine de la Pena McCook, “Reconnecting Library Education and the Mission of Community,” Library Journal 125, no. 14 (2000): 164-65; Nancy Kranich, “Civic Partnerships: The Role of Libraries in Promoting Civic Engagement,” Resource Sharing & Information Networks 18, no. 1-2 (2005): 89-103; Nancy Kranich, Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty (Chicago: American Library Association, 2001); Ronald B. McCabe, Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001); Diantha Schull, “The Civic Library: A Model for 21st Century Participation,” Advances in Librarianship 28 (2004): 55-81.
11. Henry A. Giroux, Theory and Resistance in Education: Towards a Pedagogy for the Opposition, revised and expanded ed. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishers, 2001), 236.
12. Thomas Ehrlich, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (Westport, Conn.: Oryx Press, 2000), vi.
13. Herbert Gans, Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste Revised and Updated, Kindle edition (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
14. Thomas Bean and Karen Moni, “Developing Students’ Critical Literacy: Exploring Identity Construction in Young Adult Fiction,” Journal of Adolescence & Adult Literacy 46 (2003); Heather Goldhor and John McCrossan, “An Exploratory Study of the Effect of a Public Library Summer Reading Club on Reading Skills,” Library Quarterly 36, no. 1 (1966): 14-24; Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Pradnya Rodge, “The Leisure Reading Habits of Urban Adolescents,” Journal of Adolescence & Adult Literacy 51, no. 1 (2007): 22-33; Jessica E. Moyer, “‘Teens Today Don’t Read Books Anymore’: A Study of Differences in Interest and Comprehension Based on Reading Modalities: Part 1, Introduction and Methodology,” The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults 1, no. 1 (2010).
15. Brandi L. Bell, “Children, Youth, and Civic (Dis)Engagement: Digital Technology and Citizenship,” CRACIN Working Paper No. 5 (June 2005); H. R. Gordon, “Gendered Paths to Teenage Political Participation: Parental Power, Civic Mobility, and Youth Activism,” Gender & Society 22, no. 1 (2008): 31-35; Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Bonnie L. Barber, “Student Council, Volunteering, Basketball, or Marching Band?: What Kind of Extracurricular Involvement Matters?” Journal of Adolescent Research 14, no. 1 (1999); Pamela Zeiser, “Building Better Citizens: Increasing the Level of Civic Education Among Teens in Jacksonville, Florida,” National Civic Review 90, no. 3 (Fall 2001): 289-91; Sonia Livingstone, Nick Couldry, and Tim Markham, “Youthful Steps Towards Civic Participation: Does the Internet Help?” in Young Citizens in the Digital Age: Political Engagement, Young People and New Media, ed. Brian D. Loader (London: Routledge, 2007): 21-34; James Youniss, “Why We Need to Learn More About Youth Civic Engagement,” Social Forces 88, no. 2 (2009): 971-75.
16. Jonathan Zaff, Michelle Boyd, Yibing Li, Jacqueline Lerner, and Richard Lerner, “Active and Engaged Citizenship: Multi-Group and Longitudinal Factorial Analysis of an Integrated Construct of Civic Engagement,” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 39, no. 7 (2010): 736-50.
17. Eccles and Barber, “Student Council, Volunteering, Basketball, or Marching Band?: What Kind of Extracurricular Involvement Matters.”
18. “40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents,” Search Institute, http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18.
19. Mizuko Ito, S. Baumer, M Brittanti, d. boyd, R. Cody, B. Herr-Stephenson, H. Horst et al., Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, The John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2010).
20. Ibid., 39.
21. “Art-Goers in Their Communities: Patterns of Civic and Social Engagement” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2009); “The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Art, Involved in Life” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002); “Come as You Are: Informal Arts Participation in Urban and Rural Communities” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2010); Kevin F. McCarthy, Elizabeth H. Ondaatje, Laura Zakaras, and Arthur Brooks, Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts (Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand Corporation, 2004); Bonnie Nichols, “Volunteering and Performing Arts Attendence: More Evidence from the SPPA” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2007).
22. “The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Art, Involved in Life.”
23. “2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2008).
25. “Art-Goers in Their Communities: Patterns of Civic and Social Engagement.”
26. Ibid., 11.
27. McCarthy et al., Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts; Joshua Guetzkow, “How the Arts Impact Communities: An Introduction to the Literature on Arts Impact Studies” (Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, 2002); Jennifer Fuqua, “How Community-Based Arts Contribute to Youth and Community Development,” Afterschool Matters (2008): 4.
28. Figure 1 adapted from McCarthy et al., Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts, 44.
29. Fuqua, “How Community-Based Arts Contribute to Youth and Community Development.”
30. “The Library Bill of Rights,” ALA, http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/index.cfm; “The Freedom to Read Statement,” ALA, http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement.cfm.
31. Nancy Brice Heath, Elisabeth Soep, and Adelma Roach, “Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-Based Youth Organizations,” in Monographs, 1-19 (Washington, D.C.: Americans for the Arts, 1998), 8.
32. Ibid., 10.
33. Ibid., 4.
34. Frances McCue, “The Arts and Civic Space: An Experiment in Community Education,” Teachers College Record 109, no. 2 (2003): 590-602.
35. Ibid., 592.
36. Alex C. Michalos and P. Maurine Kahlke, “Impact of Arts-Related Activities on the Perceived Quality of Life,” Social Indicators Research 89, no. 2 (2008): 193-258, 194.
37. Joe Miklosi, “Respecting, Listening, and Empowering: Three Vital Factors for Increasing Civic Engagement in American Teenagers,” National Civic Review 96, no. 2 (2007): 36-41.
38. Ibid., 40.
39. Ibid., 40.
40. Howard Rheingold, “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement,” in Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth, ed. W. Lance Bennett (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008), 97-118, 97.
41. Ibid., 97-98.
42. Harvard Law School and Microsoft researcher, best known as co-author of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.
43. Howard Rheingold, “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement,” 103.
44. Stephen Coleman, “Doing It for Themselves: Management Versus Autonomy in Youth E-Citizenship,” in Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth, ed. W. Lance Bennett (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008), 189-206, 192.
45. Ibid., 198.
46. Jennifer Earl and Alan Schussman, “Contesting Cultural Control: Youth Culture and Online Petitioning,” in Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth, ed. W. Lance Bennett (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008), 71-95, 74.
47. Sonia Livingstone, Nick Couldry, and Tim Markham, “Youthful Steps Towards Civic Participation: Does the Internet Help?”
48. Ibid., 24.
49. Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001).
50. Ibid., 173.
51. “Art-Goers in Their Communities: Patterns of Civic and Social Engagement”; Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community; Andreas Vårheim, “Social Capital and Public Libraries: The Need for Research,” Library & Information Science Research 29 (2007): 416-28; Bonnie Nichols, “Volunteering and Performing Arts Attendence: More Evidence from the SPPA” (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2007); Catherine A. Johnson, “Do Public Libraries Contribute to Social Capital? A Preliminary Investigation into the Relationship.”
52. James Youniss, Jeffrey A. McLellan, and Miranda Yates, “What We Know About Engendering Civic Identity,” The American Behavioral Scientist 40, no. 5 (1997): 621-31.
53. e.g. C. D. Batson, “Altruism and Prosocial Behavior,” in The Handbook of Social Psychology, ed. D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, and G. Lindzey (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998); Rene Bekkers, “Participation in Voluntary Associations: Relations with Resources, Personality, and Political Values,” Political Psychology 26, no. 3 (2005): 439-54; Marilynne Boyle-Baise, Rhondalynn Brown, Ming-Chu Hsu, Denisha Jones, Ambica Prakash, Michelle Rausch, Shelly Vitols, and Zach Wahlquist, “Learning Service or Service Learning: Enabling the Civic,” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 18, no. 1 (2006): 17-26; Zeynep Cemalcilar, “Understanding Individual Characteristics of Adolescents Who Volunteer,” Personality and Individual Differences 46, no. 4 (2009): 432-36; N. Eisenberg, P. A. Miller, R. Shell, and P. Van Court, “Prosocial Development in Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study,” Developmental Psychology 27 (1995): 849-57; Constance A. Flanagan, “Volunteerism, Leadership, Political Socialization, and Civic Engagement,” in Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, ed. R. M. Lerner and L. Steinberg (Hoboken, N.H.: John Wiley & Sons, 2004); Constance A. Flanagan and Nakesha Faison, “Youth Civic Development: Implications of Research for Social Policy and Programs,” Social Policy Report 15, no. 1 (2001): 3-14; McCarthy et al., Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts; Masami Nishishiba, Hal T. Nelson, and Craig W. Shinn, “Explicating Factors That Foster Civic Engagement Among Students,” Journal of Public Affairs Education 11, no. 4 (2005): 269-85; Allen M. Omoto, Mark Snyder, and Justin D. Hackett, “Personality and Motivational Antecedents of Activism and Civic Engagement,” Journal of Personality 78, no. 6 (2010): 1709-34; Tom W. Smith, “Loving and Caring in the United States: Trends and Correlates of Empathy, Altruism, and Related Construct,” in The Science of Compassionate Love (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 79-119; M. Alex Wagaman, “Social Empathy as a Framework for Adolescent Empowerment,” Journal of Social Service Research 37, no. 3 (2011): 278-93.
54. Ehrlich, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education.
55. Melanie C. Green, Jeffrey J. Strange, and Timothy C. Brock, eds., Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations (Lawrence Earlbaum Associates: 2002).
56. Greene, Releasing the Imagination, 4.
57. Cemalcilar, “Understanding Individual Characteristics of Adolescents Who Volunteer.”
58. Flanagan and Faison, “Youth Civic Development: Implications of Research for Social Policy and Programs; Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Communities; Eric M. Uslaner and Mitchell Brown, “Inequality, Trust and Civic Engagement,” American Politics Research 31, no. 3 (2003): 1-28.
59. de la Pena McCook, A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building; de la Pena McCook, “Reconnecting Library Education and the Mission of Community”; Nancy Kranich, “About,” in ALA Center for Civic Life, ed. Nancy Kranich; Kranich, “Civic Partnerships: The Role of Libraries in Promoting Civic Engagement”; Kranich, Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty; Vårheim, “Social Capital and Public Libraries: The Need for Research; Jenny Levine, Gaming and Libraries: Learning Lessons from the Intersections (Chicago: ALA TechSource, 2009); Schull, “The Civic Library: A Model for 21st Century Participation”; Johnson, “Do Public Libraries Contribute to Social Capital? A Preliminary Investigation into the Relationship.”
60. Johnson, “Do Public Libraries Contribute to Social Capital? A Preliminary Investigation into the Relationship,” 153.
61. Ibid., 155.
62. de la Pena McCook, A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building.
63. Levine, Gaming and Libraries: Learning Lessons from the Intersections.
64. Ibid., 16.
65. Ibid., 11.
66. Virginia A. Walter and Cindy Mediavilla, “Teens Are from Neptune, Librarians Are from Pluto: An Analysis of Online Reference Transactions,” Library Trends 54, no. 2 (2005): 209-27; Denise E. Agosto and Sandra Hughes-Hassell, “People, Places, and Questions: An Investigation of the Everyday Life Information-Seeking Behaviors of Urban Young Adults,” Library & Information Science Research 27 (2005): 141-63; Alessio and Buron, “Measuring the Impact of Dedicated Teen Service in the Public Library: Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Award Research Grant Results”; Kay Bishop and Pat Bauer, “Attracting Young Adults to Public Libraries: Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Research Grant Results,” Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 15, no. 2 (2002): 36-44; Leonee Derr and Aimee Rhodes, “The Public Library as Urban Youth Space: Redefining Public Libraries Through Services and Space for Young People for an Uber Experience,” Aplis 23, no. 3 (2010): 90-97; Sarah Flowers, Young Adults Deserve the Best: YALSA’s Competencies in Action, A YALSA Publication (Chicago: American Library Association, 2011); Denise E. Agosto, Kimberly L. Paone, and Gretchen S. Ipock, “The Female-Friendly Public Library: Gender Differences in Adolescents’ Uses and Perceptions of U.S. Public Libraries,” Library Trends 56, no. 2 (2007): 287-401.
67. Virginia A Walter, “Public Library Service to Children and Teens: A Research Agenda,” Library Trends 51, no. 4 (2003): 571-589.
68. Derr and Rhodes, “The Public Library as Urban Youth Space: Redefining Public Libraries Through Services and Space for Young People for an Uber Experience.”
69. Jane Edwards and Pip Williams, “The Role of Libraries in Helping Adolescents and Their Families Juggle the Demands of Work and Life,” Aplis 3, no. 23 (2010): 3.
70. Ibid., 85.
71. Jane Manthorne, “Provisions and Programs for Disadvantaged Young People,” Library Trends 20, no. 2 (1971): 416-31.
72. Derr and Rhodes, “The Public Library as Urban Youth Space: Redefining Public Libraries Through Services and Space for Young People for an Uber Experience,” 86.
73. Kelly Czarnecki, “A Revolution in Library Service,” School Library Journal 53, no. 5 (2007): 34-35; Glen E. Holt, “ImaginOn, the First Twenty-First Century Public Library Building in the U.S.,” Public Library Quarterly 27, no. 2 (2008): 174-91; Brian Kenney, “Imagine This,” School Library Journal 51, no. 12 (2005): 52-55.
74. “Philosophy,” Chicago Public Library, http://youmediachicago.org/10-philosophy/pages/56-philosophy.
75. Manthorne, “Provisions and Programs for Disadvantaged Young People,” 418.
76. Robin Moeller, Amy Pattee, and Angela Leeper, “The Young Adult Voice in Research About Young Adults,” in Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, ed. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, 2011.
77. e.g. Dewey, Art as Experience; Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason; etc.
78. Nicole J. Schaefer-McDaniel, “Conceptualizing Social Capital Among Young People: Toward a New Theory,” Children, Youth and Environments 14, no. 1 (2004): 140-150.
79. Especially Walter and Mediavilla, “Teens Are from Neptune, Librarians Are from Pluto: An Analysis of Online Reference Transactions”; Agosto and Hughes-Hassell, “People, Places, and Questions: An Investigation of the Everyday Life Information-Seeking Behaviors of Urban Young Adults”; Derr and Rhodes, “The Public Library as Urban Youth Space: Redefining Public Libraries Through Services and Space for Young People for an Uber Experience.”
80. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958).
Shannon Crawford Barniskis has been the director of the small Lomira Community Library since January of 2012. She served as a Youth Services Librarian for thirteen years, and has worked in libraries for 18. She is a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies. Her research focus is on public libraries and content creation. This research project was the recipient of the 2010 Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Research Grant.