Mill Valley Public Library Expands Young Adult Section

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Mill Valley Public Library Expands Young Adult Section

By Marley Townsend

The Mill Valley Public Library has begun expanding its Young Adult (YA) literature, music, graphic novel and DVD sections, in a move they hope will increase high school student traffic and participation in library events. The new section, located on the main floor of the library, will be open exclusively for students from 3:00 on weekdays and all day on weekends, and will include new books and a study area designated for teens. The Friends of the Mill Valley Library have donated new shelves, and the biography section has already been moved into the non-fiction section to make room for the YA material. While there is no definite end date to the project, the collection began it’s move starting on Friday, September 2.

Young Adult Librarian Katie MacBride, who is heading the project, hopes to prioritize teens in the library and accommodate the increased popularity of YA novels. According to the Young Adult Libraries Service Association (YALSA), young adults comprise an average of about 11.28 percent of public library patrons nationwide, and libraries often direct less funding towards the young adult section because of the apparent lack of teen interest.

“We’re making it clear that we welcome teens in the library,” MacBride said. The current young adult section, located in the basement, is not an ideal study area. With only a few low tables, it’s “totally not in touch with what teens need,” MacBride said. “We’re not shoving you downstairs in a junky corner.”

“I think it’s great,” sophomore Tiara Mead said of the move. “The space before was much too small for all the amazing young adult books out there.” Mead attends the library’s book sale every month, the creative writing workshop on Wednesdays, and has participated in the summer reading program. “I think it will give more room for teens to read and work and also expand the selection of books for them,” Mead said.

MacBride is excited and optimistic about the project. She hopes it will not only provide teens with a quiet workspace, but also give them more incentive to come to library events. In the past, the library has put on book talks, college workshops, art classes, creative writing workshops, poetry slams and Meet-the-Author nights. MacBride hopes the expansion of the young adult section will stimulate increased participation in these events. “Hopefully it will turn more students on to programs available to high school students,” she said.

Although the creative writing workshop and student events are popular among a selection of kids, the majority of students still don’t spend a lot of time in their public libraries. YALSA’s poll suggests that while 70 percent of teens nationwide go their school library at least once a month, only around 31 percent go to the public library nearest them more than ten times a year. 67 percent of these teens go to complete homework and only 20 percent go for events. The Mill Valley Public Library’s new YA section aims to increase the participation and teen interest in literature. “I hope it will have a positive impact on teen readership,” MacBride said. “It’s been a long time coming.”