Young Adult Services

Quality library service to young adults is provided by staff who understand and respect the unique informational, educational and recreational needs and interests of teenagers.  Equal access to information, services and materials is recognized as a right not a privilege. Young adults need to be actively involved in the library decision-making process in order to develop relevant services and future leaders.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Designs and implements library services to meet the needs and interests of the young adult community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Analyses demographic and other data collected about the community and develops a wide variety of services to meet the needs and interests of young adults
  • Ensures that policies and procedures for young adult services are aligned with federal, provincial and local law and with the library’s general policies and procedures
  • Provides services and spaces appropriate to the developmental needs and preferences of young adults
  • Establishes an environment in which young adults receive courteous service, are encouraged to use the library individually or in groups  and to participate in library programs
  • Leads  the teen advisory group to tangible outcomes through planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services
  • Collaborates with other departments
  • Partners with organizations in the community that have compatible goals and objectives to serve young adults, and develops cooperative services and programs to extend and enhance young adult programs.


Competency: Articulates and communicates to stakeholders the needs of young adults to receive quality library service

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Models and promotes a welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental attitude toward young adults
  • Promotes awareness of young adult services to other staff members and contributes to their orientation and training in relation to the delivery of young adult services
  • Promotes awareness of young adult services within the library governance structure and lobbies for inclusion in the library’s plans and budget processes
  • Advocates for the needs of young adults in overall library planning, including the application of AODA regulations and the access to resources and services
  • Designs, implements and evaluates (with teen involvement) ongoing public relations aimed at the full diversity of young adults.


Competency: Defines and implements outreach services to increase young adults’ use of library services and to reach underserved populations

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Identifies young adult individuals and groups under-served or not yet served (those with disabilities, home-schooled, institutionalised, remote, non-English speaking, low literacy, etc.)
  • Determines the particular needs of each target audience, designs a variety of programs and services appropriate to them, and promotes them with targeted marketing.


Competency: Uses Web tools and social networking communities to engage with and provide services to young adults

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and articulates the particular importance of engaging with young adults in ways that extend beyond the physical library
  • Possesses extensive knowledge of social networking and uses it to engage with and provide service to young adults
  • Involves young adults in the investigation and evaluation of tools to identify those most applicable to the library’s young adult services (blogs, wikis, widgets/toolbars, social networks, other emerging online tools)
  • Explores the potential of new and emerging social networking to connect and interact with young adults and meet their information needs
  • Understands the unique opportunities, norms, risks and limitations of online engagement with young adults, and establishes guidelines for the use of social networking tools appropriate to the library setting
  • Assists young adults with setting up and using age appropriate Web tools and participating in social networking communities.


Competency: Facilitates young adults’ requests for information and provides accurate and appropriate answers

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Understands and practices effective reference interviewing skills particular to soliciting actual and unstated needs and protecting the confidentiality of young adults
  • Addresses the needs of young adults without bias across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability or economic status; responds to questions regardless of their nature
  • Understands information seeking behaviours of young adults, their reluctance to ask for assistance and the variety of ways they may ask for assistance
  • Identifies opportunities for instruction and empowers young adults to improve their own information-seeking skills
  • Protects the rights of young adults to access the Internet and electronic resources.


Competency: Connects young adults and their families with resources that encourage reading

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Creates booklists, read-alikes, read-arounds, book-talks, displays, electronic documents and other special tools to appeal to young adults
  • Identifies and uses a variety of online and print young adult readers’ advisory resources to identify materials
  • Maintains an ongoing knowledge of major new authors, fiction genres, nonfiction subjects and current releases, including media and genres of particular interest to young adults (magazines, manga, AV, etc.)
  • Seeks input from young adults to inform future reading recommendations
  • Collaborates with families, schools and other community groups to promote reading and literacy to young adults
  • Understands the theories of reading development for young adults and the reading curriculum used by community schools.


Competency: Designs and implements library programs that offer information, special skills or entertainment for young adults

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of methods to determine the interests and developmental needs of young adults in the community (obtains demographic data, surveys users and non-users, follows news and entertainment sources, collects input from frontline staff and community organizations that work with young adults, etc.)
  • Involves teens in planning, implementing and evaluating programs
  • Designs a wide variety of programs appropriate to the identified interests and developmental needs of young adults
  • Designs opportunities for young adults to build their technology skills and create digital projects
  • Demonstrates creativity, openness to new ideas, and knowledge of a variety of tools and techniques
  • Understands traditions and  trends in library programming for young adults; tracks developments and potential  in areas such as gaming and maker spaces
  • Identifies program venues outside of the library that have young adult appeal
  • Evaluates all programs and uses those results to improve future programs for young adults.


Competency: Delivers young adult programs to achieve stated outcomes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates comfort and enthusiasm when leading activities with young adults
  • Influences group dynamics in programs and meetings with young adults
  • Understands how to make programs accessible to young adults with special needs
  • Fosters a positive atmosphere, one that respects and values diversity
  • Creates opportunities for youth leadership
  • Selects the appropriate style of program delivery based on an understanding of the audience
  • Leads the young adult advisory group to tangible outcomes.

Please review's Terms of Use. For questions, comments and suggestions regarding this website, please Contact SOLS Helpdesk.

The Southern Ontario Library Service  is working to make our website accessible to all. We welcome comments and suggestions on access improvements and encourage you to take a look at our updated Accessibility Policy. If you require a particular PDF or word document in an accessible format, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also offer BrowseAloud reading support - click on the orange graphic to the right to launch.  Learn more about BrowseAloud.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.