SUNConferences, LIASA 2013

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Creating the B-Zone: the new teen experience at Bellville Public Library
Christelle Lubbe

Last modified: 2014-01-26

Abstract


One of the projects that Bellville Public library undertook during 2012 was to redevelop our TeenageSection. What started out as a supporting tool for our young people developed into a large-scale projectthat eventually involved the entire staff. The librarians approached the development by conducting onlineresearch into the science of creating a specific space to meet the reading habits of teenagers and youngadults. A few teenagers were asked for their ideas. Inspiration was drawn from the most unlikely places,such as an active beehive outside one of the windows. All the parties agreed that the area must beenvironmentally friendly to enhance the theme of our community. They also agreed on a spectacularlaunch for the teenagers of the community. The sustainability of the service was thoroughly investigatedbefore the project began.The project action plan included the design of the space, the budget, sponsorship, upgrading of services,programming and allocating a dedicated staff member to this service. The new space included acombination of different and updated library material in one space together with colourful posters,display areas and “green” seating. The launch took the form of an Air Guitar Contest which was a hugesuccess.Valuable lessons learned during the planning of the event included how to approach sponsors, how tonetwork on a teenager’s level and how to make a library “cool to hang out”.Since completing this redevelopment we have noticed a clear pattern in the behaviour and reading habitsof our “new” patrons. Our challenge is to maintain the momentum through continuous programming,vigorous collection development and new communication methods.

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