This age is often referred to as middle childhood, tween, or preteen years. It’s the time between childhood and young adulthood, and it’s one of rapid change – physically, emotionally, and socially. It is also a time of self-guided discovery, independence, added responsibility, and new experiences. Successful preteen spaces encourage exploration, experiential learning, and personal growth.
Age-Up Your Space to Keep Them Coming in the Door
It’s important that kids feel important and welcomed during this stage. While many of the space concepts and needs are similar to youth spaces, selecting age-appropriate furnishings and decor will set the tone for creating a space they can call their own.
Creating a space, even if it is small, is a big step in acknowledging this age group and making them feel welcome in the library.
Continue to support good reading habits and the development of independent learning.
Create a popular collection area featuring high-interest materials and a variety of formats, including graphic novels. Use face-out displays to highlight topics and themes of interest.
Include active spaces for gaming, problem-solving activities, art, and literature sharing.
Select flexible furnishings that can support individual, small-group, and whole-class learning.
Include interactive elements such as magnetic poetry, whiteboard walls, art gallery space, and board games.
Look for a variety of ways to add power to your space to support mobile devices, including powered furniture or mobile power sources.
Provide access to a variety of technology, including tablets, listening devices, interactive whiteboards, online resources, software, and access to digital creativity tools.
Include a variety of active and soft seating. This encourages kids to get comfortable and ready to learn.
The maker movement is a great way to engage in a variety of ways with this age group. Don’t feel like you have to be the expert; let kids explore new tools and technology and learn right along with them.