The young adult librarian at the Puyallup Public Library said the agency had two good reasons for setting up a Teen Advisory Group.
Bonnie Svitavsky thinks it’s important to let the teens have a say in the programming for their age group, and as a bonus, they can fulfill their requirements for volunteer hours.
“The Teen Advisory Group can branch into other volunteer work,” Svitavsky said.
“It is nice to hammer out how the teens feel, and how the library is serving them,” she added.
Still in the planning stages, Svitavsky said she hopes to get the Teen Advisory Group running to the point where members can set their own agenda.
The group will create programming, evaluate services, create a welcoming environment and give advice about book titles. They will help select books, create posters, decorate the Teen Zone and write book reviews.
The board met recently to discuss a mission statement.
Svitavsky said members of the group will represent all teens who use the library.
“This is a chance for teens to have a voice and help spruce up the Teen Zone,” she said.
Group member Frankie Prossick said she has been going to the teen club since she was 13. She’s supports library services and has addressed the Puyallup City Council on their issues.
“It is important to me,” Prossick said. “People are friendly, and I read a lot. I don’t want any programs to be cut.”
Josh Bachman, also a group member, said he volunteered at the library for three years.
“I’m a big reader,” he said. “I always try to give Bonnie good ideas.”
Svitavsky encouraged the group to bring friends to the meetings. The Teen Advisory Group does not go through a selection process; everyone is welcome.
Library Director Tim Wadham said the teen group is a great idea.
“It is important that the teens be involved with programs at the library and are part of that planning,” he said, adding that teens can own some of what’s going on at the library, and they can spread the word to their friends.
Wadham said teens often can be overlooked, but the goal is to bring them to the library.
Svitavsky said she likes working with the group.
“They are in an incredibly interesting period of their lives,” she said. “They are very enthusiastic and have lots of opinions. Teens can be incredibly eloquent about how they feel that services at the library can be, and I enjoy the interaction.”
Svitavsky said teens will give advice on how to use funds that are earmarked for teen programs.
“The teens know what they want, use and need,” she said.
Those who want to join the Teen Advisory Group can call Svitavsky at 253-841-5454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.