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Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover
Bolan, Kimberly (2009)
Second Edition
Chicago, USA: ALA
225 pages
ISBN 978-0-8389-0969-0
Available from: www.alastore.ala.org
 
This text has a focus on teen spaces in public libraries and while there are many similarities between what is created in a pubic library for teenagers and school libraries there are also many differences and factors that set school libraries apart. Despite this Bolan raises many questions relevant to the school context and also invites exploration of some interesting concepts and ideas about creating teen spaces that will be applicable to the school situation.
 
Bolan concerns herself firstly with knowing the nature and needs of her client base and asking them what they want, something we don’t always do well in schools. She then proceeds through the planning to the design stages coming back around to discuss policy and how to promote the space to its targeted users. Her examples are practical and well referenced with a basis in her own experience that lends her words credence.
 
Over one third of the book is taken up with templates, worksheets, resource and vendor lists with the addition of a detailed reference list that supports the whole text. Whilst some of this is useful, the reference list includes many items worth following up, the resources, vendors and examples of libraries are USA centred. In fact there are very few international examples of note. While this does not immediately discount the text it does limit its usefulness to the Australian context.
 
Bolan also shares with readers her own illustration collection of teen spaces at the flickr page www.flickr.com/photos/kimbolan/collections/. A link can be found to this page on the section created on the ALA website www.ala.org/editions/extras/Bolan09690 that contains electronic versions of the templates, worksheets, resource and vendor lists that are in the book. A very useful addition to the hard copy text, particularly as it allows the modification of templates and worksheets to our own varied situations.
 
Reviewed by Dr Susan La Marca
Head of Library and Information Services
Genazzano FCJ College
Editor of Synergy