8. Your Impulse is to Give Teens Cash, Food, a Ride, A Place to Stay . . .
With each situation that Velasquez presents, I always think of one word, flexibility. I agree with Velasquez that, “…going down this road probably violates an administrative directive or two that your library or municipality has put in place for a reason…opening the door of your car or home to a teen patron is a surefire way to get fired.” (p. 108) However, in a public library there are always exceptions to the rule and often situations require a quick decision to be made on the spot. For this reason, I think that it’s up to each librarian to determine there own personal guidelines or philosophy in accordance with the institution’s rules and policies.
Inviting teens into your home definitely crosses the line of appropriate behavior. But yes, on occasion I have let a teen use my phone to call their parents when the staff person at the desk refused them. I have also lent $2.75 for bus fare. These are rare occasions and relatively small acts of kindness. I make sure to communicate that I can only do this once and make sure my supervisor and other staff are aware of these situations.
9. Teens Want to Say Hello by Hugging You
It has been really interesting to hear all of the different responses to this ‘boundaries’ question thr0ughout the semester. We’ve heard very different strategies from different librarians in variety of situations. I think the maneuver Velasquez describes is hilarious and the most appropriate way to handle excited teens that want to say hello by hugging. It will most likely work in 99% of interactions. But, again there is always an exception to the rule and requires the librarian to make a judgment call.
I feel strongly that librarians should not initiate the hug, or touch any patron they are unfamiliar with. If you must hug, asking before touching is crucial.
Velásquez, J. (2015). Real-World Teen Services. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.