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The New York Public Library Teen Website

March 29, 2013

Bibliographic Information (APA): The New York Public Library. (2013). “Resources for Teens.” [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.nypl.org/help/getting-oriented/resources-teens

Category: Teen Library Website

Descriptive Summary: If you are new to New York City, then the New York Public Library (NYPL) website for teens is a great place to locating new resources and helpful advice for settling in. There is practical advice for things like Money Matters, How to Find Things, and Research Services, and a subsection dedicated to help with school projects. There is also a lot of fun stuff too! There are links to music, YouTube, podcasts, and summer reading clubs! There is something for everyone on the NYPL page! Listed in a logical list-type formation, all the resources are clearly laid out and easy to choose from. All you have to do is look!

Book Talking Hooks: The NYPL offers a range of resources and services that create Events, Programs, and Volunteer Opportunities for teen. This is a really useful way of showing the next generation that the NYPL is not just about books and outdated materials. The NYPL is current, fresh, and fun!

There are also many links to popular social media at the top and bottom of the Resources for Teens homepage. A wide selection will attract a teen conversant in social media contact. This opens up the NYPL to new points of access that are valuable for today’s teen audience.

If teens are not into books, they can also check out what the NYPL has to offer under the Audio, Video, and Images category instead. This shows that the NYPL has lots to offer their patrons beyond books, and teens will come back to look for new things.

The NYPL also makes itself even more relevant by including phone apps that can connect with things like Homework Help, to eBooks, and to academic articles that teens might like to study. Through social media, the NYPL is using a valuable point of access for teens in this digital age and in this way, the library reaches a larger audience and serves its public better. These sorts of applications are also useful training for older teens that will be preparing for post-secondary education; lots of colleges and universities offer similar services through their academic libraries. In this way, the NYPL is not only current, but is encouraging young adults to think of the library space as something beyond a physical building with only books in it.

Evaluative Comments: 4/5. One of the primary strengths of the NYPL Teen site is how inclusive it is. The website can be converted into multiple languages by clicking on conversion links. The NYPL is then available in Spanish, Chinese, or Russian. The multiculturalism of New York as a city is really encouraged by making the NYPL available to a much wider audience in their native language. One of the first places new immigrants might go is the public library to become acquainted with a new place.

The NYPL is even more inclusive and user-friendly in that it also offers books and resources for the blind by through Braille books and recorded audiobook resources. It is a thoughtful extension of making the NYPL more usable to a wider audience. These resources increase the relevance and the value of the NYPL as a whole, not just for teens.

Some of the more disappointing aspects of the NYPL Teen site were things like usability and navigability. Finding the page for Teens was not straightforward. It took some looking around but I eventually found it under the Using the Library drop-down menu option, where there was a Teen selection available.

All the subcategories are listed in a straight line down the centre of the page, which is very logical, but not very creative. Order is important, but creativity and use of color are also really important considerations when designing a site to attract teens and children. More artistic license and creative use of the space would make this resource more engaging and it would encourage more traffic of users that enjoy their own virtual “space” at the NYPL.

It is also disappointing that although there are links to Summer Reading Programs for children, teens, and adults they are all still from 2012. An update in this sort of area is crucial to keeping the NYPL and its services relevant. Although the Summer of 2013 has not occurred yet, there is no indication on the page of any upcoming plans in the weeks ahead. That sort of information is valuable to attracting future patrons to the library.

Readers’ Advisory Notes: The NYPL teen site is exemplary of a site that serves people from multiple cultural backgrounds and is highly informative, relevant to its community, and a great resource to compliment a teens’ education. This site would pair up nicely with other educational facilities like the New York Metropolitan Museum, for example.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this website because I was curios about what a really large library network would have to offer for a vastly multicultural area such as New York. It would seem that varied and useful resources would be made available to that sort of public and I found this to be the case with the NYPL teen website available in different languages. I had also heard about the NYPL from friends that had gone to New York and encountered the physical space of one of the library branches (Sarah Skaling, 2010, Personal Communication). They were impressed with it, so I looked up the virtual space to see what that had to offer as well.

Suggested Audience: I would recommend this site to any teen looking to research school projects for connections to other educational resources, as well as teens just trying to find things to do in a new city, or to get to know their way around. The logical and simplistic layout of the site is also encouraging to younger teens who might find a more complex site difficult to navigate, so this site could be used by teens aged 13 and up.

References

NYPL (2013). “Resources for Teens.” Retrieved from http://www.nypl.org/help/getting-oriented/resources-teens

NYPL (2013). “Summer Reading 2012” Retrieved from http://nypl-src-teens.bibliocommons.com

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org

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