I’ve learned so much more than I thought I would up to this point about technology programming for teens. Now that the intensity of ILEAD has given way to “real life” and integrating what I’ve learned into my regular library work, it’s more difficult than I thought it would be to plan my programs. I’m anxious about sustaining the interest of my teen patrons without the expertise to really teach them the technology skills that they are eager to have… but less eager to work toward attaining.

This is where it comes to the “sit beside them, not across from them” that Kim so eloquently has described. And to sit beside them, I really need to be with them. I need to be engaged and learning, right alongside them. I need to match their energy, or at least not drag it down. I need to commit to being one of them, to being a learner, a member of the club, a participant.


It’s fine, and different, and could very well be wonderful, but it’s going to be a learning experience for all of us, and a different one than I imagined we’d be having a year ago.

How will this change the dynamic of our programs? How will teens respond to this increased demand on their ingenuity and leadership? And in what direction do I want to guide them on this path? I think the kids that have been coming to my recurring club events will catch on, but what about new participants? What about the kids that want to come for a one-off program? How will the kids that “get it” respond if and when they come to a more traditionally structured program? Should I even continue to have traditionally structured programs anymore?

These are the questions I’m contemplating as I move into this next phase of programming and incorporating the “fail forward” mentality and “sit beside them” philosophy that I am attempting to embrace.

If you’ve drastically changed your programming approach, I would love to hear how you did it, why, and how it is going for you now.

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