Ypulse Interview: Kim Bolan Cullin, 'Teen Spaces'

kimbolancullinToday’s Ypulse Interview is with Kim Bolan Cullin, author of the ALA library design resource guide Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover, now in its second edition.

Kim reached out to us after our recent coverage of the ALA Annual Conference where she was also a speaker (see her presentations on “Teen Space: Design with Economy” and “Top Library Building Trends” on her blog The Indie Librarian).  Below, she fields some of our questions on the teen trends happening inside and around libraries. Or, as NPR called them, “the next big pop-culture wave after cupcakes.”

Ypulse: What are some of the biggest changes in teen spaces you’ve observed between the first and second edition of your book? What do you expect and hope to see continue to change in the next few years?

Kim Bolan Cullin: The first change is that there ARE actually teen spaces out there now. It was a struggle with the first edition to find teen library spaces in general; even more difficult to find libraries who were being creative and thinking outside the box. With the second edition, I didn’t even have to look for examples – people came to me – libraries big and small. One thing that hasn’t changed is that good public library examples still outweigh good school library examples. Model school libraries are still unfortunately few and far between. Although, there are several school media specialists out there trying to make a difference in this area too.

Over the years I’ve seen a huge shift in how libraries are thinking about space allocation and “space equity” for teens. This is happening with building revamps and renovations as well as with new building construction. More and more libraries are planning and designing space for teenagers as a priority rather than an afterthought. This is a…


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