Starting from Scratch

Building a Teen Library Program

by Sarah Ludwig


More libraries are adding young adult departments in response to the increasing size of the teen population. In addition, more and more students and practitioners are entering the field of YA librarianship as the need to meet the demands of this specific demographic grows. However, YA librarianship offers challenges that often aren't covered in textbooks.

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Cover image for Starting from Scratch

June 2011

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 202
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Grade 6-12
Topics Children's and Young Adult Services/General

Create a successful, vibrant, and youth-centered teen services program with this practical, comprehensive guide—even when resources are limited.

In order to develop a young adult department from the ground up, librarians need to be informed about a myriad of interrelated tasks and responsibilities: creating policies, purchasing materials, program scheduling, outreach, and budgeting. Even for libraries that already have teen-oriented materials within their facilities, keeping them current and fresh is a challenge, especially when budget or physical space is an issue.

Starting from Scratch: Building a Teen Library Program is an instrumental resource for librarians who are either entering an established teen program with no previous experience, or establishing a new teen program in a library. It covers all steps in the process of becoming a successful teen librarian, from getting the job and advocating for a teen department to adding qualified staff and ongoing professional development.


  • Provides invaluable information that will help teen librarians successfully face the common challenges of running a YA department, such as communicating with teens, budgetary and space limitations, theft, and lack of staff support
  • Includes bibliographic information in each section, such as useful related works, booklists, and additional reading material


  • Offers a comprehensive guide to establishing the basics of teen services, assuming that the librarian has to begin with no resources, additional staff, or space
  • Contains suggestions on how to advocate for a teen services department in your library
  • Appropriate for both public and high school libraries
  • Provides information based on the author’s direct, real-world experience in setting up a new teen services department
Series Description

Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians Series

This new series meets the needs of Young Adult librarians, whether they are new to YA librarianship or experienced. Authored by professional librarians, each book looks at cutting-edge issues, explains its core philosophy clearly, and offers practical advice and hands-on activities for any size library where time and money are short.
Author Info

Sarah Ludwig is academic technology coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School, Hamden, CT, and former head of Teen and Technology Services and head of Knowledge and Learning Services at Darien Library, Darien, CT. She received her MLS from Simmons College, Boston, MA. Ludwig is a regular contributor to the Young Adult Library Services blog. In 2010, she was selected as an American Library Association Emerging Leader.



"This is a great book. . . . It offers useful and practical tips for building a teen library program from the ground up."—Library Media Connection

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