The Expert-Based Staffing Approach to Library Programs (Fall 2014)

Future of Library Services for and with Teens report coverMany libraries have experienced shifting transitions over the past few years in an effort to maintain transcending services in response to changing community demographics. With the extension of the common core in schools across different states, as well as a wider emphasis on science, math, technology, engineering and arts, some such libraries have begun a shift in the ways they think about programs and staffing models. It has been a longstanding idea that the library is everything to everyone, but is it time for libraries to start thinking in other directions in regards to staffing models? This lends to consideration of staffing models like the one that has been taking shape in The Free Library of Philadelphia via a program called Maker Jawn.

In an interview, K-Fai Steele, who previously managed the Maker Jawn Initiative at The Free Library of Philadelphia, shared advantages and challenges of the Maker Jawn approach, including information about the staffing model.

The Maker Jawn staffing model employs experts of various fields to provide valuable STEAM based programs and resources in libraries where community residents wouldn’t otherwise have access to such resources. Currently in its second year, the Maker Jawn Program was initiated through a grant fund and has played a role in bridging the gap to under-privileged neighborhoods in Philadelphia where schools have less funding and therefore less programs and resources of such nature. STEAM related contents offered through the Maker Jawn enables participants to think outside of the box and develop critical and creative skills while developing knowledge of job fields that most times are far removed from the daily experiences of these community teens.
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What Teens Think Does Matter (Summer 2013)

In the Summer 2013 issue of YALS, K-Fai Steele, authored an article on the teen participatory design and action research she and her colleagues facilitated at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The project focused on creating spaces in the library that support teen needs and interests.

The print article didn’t include the photos that the Library made available to document the process the teens took part in. The images are important to the story K-Fai tells, so we wanted to publish them here.

voting on the ultimate teen space
Teens imagine and vote for what they think their ideal teen space should be all about.

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