Introduction

This following is an emerging technology plan outlining a new program of “Adulting 101” classes for young adults and students pertaining to life skills for entering adulthood. The program promotes lifelong skills for young adults who may not have had access to skill learning opportunities at school or at home. This plan will inspire greater use of the public library’s resources and engage community members and library staff with young adults in teaching important and necessary life skills. We will discuss goals of the program, marketing, funding, and outline the program’s initial offerings. 

Sample Flyer

Goals and Purpose

The purpose of this program is to teach young adults in San Francisco life skills for entering and managing adulthood. Many students and young adults are not always taught specific life skills at home or in school or are too busy with academics. It is often stressful for young people entering college or the workforce without basic skills to manage finances, budgeting, college-related issues, and professional or personal relationships and so attendees in this program will be taught skills to enhance their success in these areas. The benefit of these classes will also be to encourage adults to utilize the library for support academically and personally, further developing a community-oriented learning space. Teaching adult life skills to young adults now will have a major impact on the success of the community long term.

Sample Flyer

About the Library

San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) serves a population of approximately 884,000 people, 23.5% of which are young adults ages 25-34 (Cowen, 2019). Including people between the ages of 18-24 in San Francisco, that number jumps to about a 30% of the population (Census Reporter, 2018). Many SFPL branches have teen centers like The Mix and offer adult classes such as technology, wellness, and finance coaching, but there is currently no ongoing adult life skills programs, typically called “Adulting 101” in other libraries. San Francisco has four major universities within the city, San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, University of San Francisco, and The University of California, San Francisco. Given the demographics of San Francisco and with the percentage of young adults and students, adult life skill classes would have a positive impact on the community and promote the professional, personal, and academic success of individuals. 

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service 

Bernhard, B. (2019, June 7). Ferguson library’s teaching ‘adulting’ classes teach life skills. AP News. https://apnews.com/dbb245de168044348389975939a43e6e

Donvito, T. (2019, September 19). Yes, “adulting classes” are on the rise – Here’s what you need to know about them. Parade. https://parade.com/924439/tinadonvito/adulting-classes-for-millennials/

Ford, A. (2018, May 1). Adulting 101: When libraries teach basic life skills. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/05/01/adulting-101-library-programming/

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2019, January 14). Adulting 101: Teaching Financial Literacy and More For Young Adults. https://www.ifla.org/node/91745

Lucas. T. Programming Librarian.org (2017, March 22). Program model: Adulting 101. https://programminglibrarian.org/programs/adulting-101

San Jose Public Library. (n.d.) Life skills academy. Retrieved on March 7, 2020, from https://www.sjpl.org/lifeskills

Description of Community

Many Millennials and part of Generation Z, today’s young adults, often have the stereotype as being “clueless and helpless”, living with parents longer than previous generations due to many factors including changes in the economy, parenting trends, and a focus on academics instead of life skills in school (Bernhard, 2019). Young adults are much more likely to live at home with their parents than previous generations which may perpetuate the lack of independence and skills to “adult”. In addition, the years following the Great Recession did little to help the job market for this generation (Pew Research Center, 2019). According to AP News, skills classes like home economics fell out of favor and a focus on standardized testing took over (Bernhard, 2019). 

Young adults have more student debt today than previous generations which affects their ability to have long term financial goals as well as become financially established and independent. Partly because of the Great Recession, Millennials in particular have been slower to establish households and those without a college education are twice as likely to live with their parents longer than those with a Bachelor’s Degree, roughly 10% versus 20% (Pew Research Center, n.d.). It is necessary for young adults to learn practical life skills such as cooking and basic sewing as well as soft skills like conflict-resolution and communication at home, work, and at school and the library space should provide the opportunity to do so. 

Sample Flyer

Action Brief Statements

For Patrons: I plan to convince young adults that by engaging in adult life skill classes they will learn necessary skills which will benefit them in school, work, and home life because they will be more prepared for the challenges of adulthood.

For Staff: I plan to convince library staff that by providing and teaching adult life skill classes they will improve usage and trust in the library as a community space which will demonstrate how relevant and necessary the library can be in preparing young adults for success which will increase college graduation, lifelong job success, and community improvement. 

Examples of libraries with established “Adulting 101” classes

  • San Jose Public Library, “Life Skills Academy”
  • North Bend Public Library, “Adulting 101”
  • New York Public Library, “Adulting 101”
  • Ferguson Municipal Public Library, “Adulting 101”
  • Woodland Public Library, “Adulting 101”
  • Austin Public Library, “Adulting 101”
  • Boise Public Library, “Adulting 101”

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Adulting 101 Program 

The mission of the Adulting 101 program is to educate young adults about necessary skills for success in college, professional endeavors, and personal care. However, all programs will be accessible to anyone regardless of age, gender, and current or past educational background. The program will make any necessary accommodations for people with disabilities or special requirements to promote learning and engagement for all. Adulting 101 programs will adhere to the SFPL library policies and mission of providing “free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning…” (SFPL.org, 2020). The program and its affiliates will maintain the vision, values, and goals of the San Francisco Public Library. 

Sample Flyer

The program will have many different sections and additional individual miscellaneous classes where librarians see a need. Programs will most likely be held during the week in the afternoon and evenings. See below for current projected program classes.

  1. Finance
    1. Planning for retirement
    2. Budgeting living expenses
    3. Budgeting for college
    4. Student debt/loans
    5. How credit cards works
    6. Investing 
  2. Apartment Living
    1. Know your rights as a tenant (security deposits/rent control/evictions)
    2. Finding your first apartment
    3. Finding roommates
    4. How to spruce up your apartment on a budget
    5. Doing laundry
    6. Safety basics of living alone and with others
    7. Living with roommates – conflict-resolution and communication
  3. Professionalism
    1. Networking
    2. Resume and cover letters
    3. Job hunting
    4. How to tie a tie/wardrobe tips for professional jobs
    5. Email, phone, and social media etiquette
    6. Time management at work 
    7. First time college student basics
    8. Conflict-resolution in the workplace
    9. News literacy
  4. Sewing
    1. Mending/patching
    2. Ironing
    3. Buttons
    4. Hemming 
  5. Cooking
    1. Grocery shopping
    2. Cooking for one – healthy, simple, budget-friendly
    3. How to use a knife and other kitchen tools
    4. Kitchen safety and disease prevention
    5. Meal planning
  6. Travel
    1. Why travel
    2. College/living abroad how to
    3. Safety while traveling
    4. How to travel
  7. Personal Safety
    1. Self-Defense
    2. Emergency Preparedness
      1. Fire
      2. Earthquake
      3. Injury
Sample Flyer

Funding

Funding for this program will be possible with nonprofits such as Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and individual donations. Funding needs for this program are expected to be low as seen in current successful Adulting 101 programs. Classes such as sewing and cooking may require additional funding for supplies, but the budget is expected to be low. Volunteer experts, professionals, and experienced individuals will be asked to lecture on the various topics outlined above such as finance, travel, and tenant rights. 

Training

Training for these programs is minimal as most program leaders will be either volunteer professionals in the field or librarians who are familiar with the topics. Librarians will seek out and screen qualified volunteers and staff to assist in building and teaching the programs offered. The only training involved will be sharing skills in teaching a group if the leader is unfamiliar with class and lecture structure. A librarian or staff member may seek out additional training for topics they’d like to teach such as sewing or cooking.

Promotion & Marketing

Getting the word out about the program will be mostly done through social media and through the library’s website to target both young adults and parents’ attention. Square visual flyers will be posted to the library’s website as well as the events calendar under the teen and adult sections. The online flyers will be connected to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for easier sharing and marketing. The library may implement a monitored Twitter feed for any questions that people can write in about that may spur conversations and possible ideas for future programs. The flyers will be mostly Instagram friendly, 4X4 squares with popping colors and visuals to quickly engage the reader while scrolling through their feed. 

Small, colorful, and easy-to-pocket flyers will be displayed at local library branches and teen centers in San Francisco as well as the surrounding community college libraries at City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and the University of San Francisco. Some of the programs will be offered at these libraries after a partnership has been established between the university’s librarian and the SFPL librarian hosting the events. Due to the fact that many students at SFSU and CCSF are commuter students (they do not live on campus), access to the programming will be available at their university library to better engage the students. 

Sample Flyer

Evaluation

After a period of time, the library will evaluate the level of attendance as well as age groups to determine if marketing, outreach, and program type was successful. The program’s schedule will be assessed to see if it meets the needs of the target audience regarding ideal time of day and days of the week for the group to see if weekends should be added or more staggered class times should be considered depending on the schedules of college students and young professionals. The budget for the program will be further evaluated to determine if there is need for additional fundraising, staff support, or volunteers. 

References

Bernhard, B. (2019, June 7). Ferguson library’s teaching ‘adulting’ classes teach life skills. AP News. https://apnews.com/dbb245de168044348389975939a43e6e

Census Reporter (2018). San Francisco, CA. https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US0667000-san-francisco-ca/

Cowen, J. (2019, March 27). Which cities in California have the most young people? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/us/perris-and-mountain-view-young-californians-demographics.html

Donvito, T. (2019, September 19). Yes, “adulting classes” are on the rise – Here’s what you need to know about them. Parade. https://parade.com/924439/tinadonvito/adulting-classes-for-millennials/

Ford, A. (2018, May 1). Adulting 101: When libraries teach basic life skills. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/05/01/adulting-101-library-programming/

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2019, January 14). Adulting 101: Teaching Financial Literacy and More For Young Adults. https://www.ifla.org/node/91745

Lucas. T. Programming Librarian.org (2017, March 22). Program model: Adulting 101. https://programminglibrarian.org/programs/adulting-101

Pew Research Center (n.d.) Millennial life: How young adulthood today compares with prior generations. Retrieved on March 7, 2020, from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/millennial-life-how-young-adulthood-today-compares-with-prior-generations/

San Francisco Public Library. (n.d.) Upcoming events. Retrieved on March 7, 2020, from https://sfpl.org/events/#!/filters?field_event_audience_target_id=25


San Jose Public Library. (n.d.) Life skills academy. Retrieved on March 7, 2020, from https://www.sjpl.org/lifeskills

8 Comments on Adulting 101: Professional, Academic, and Personal Care Programs at San Francisco Public Library

  1. I love the idea of adulting classes. I personally think this is something that should be offered at academic libraries because the people who need these classes the most are college students that are now living on their own. This is a great plan, thank you for sharing it. I wish these were more wide spread. I also think that having a finances course that focuses on financial planning, budgeting, and how to pay taxes would be extremely helpful to EVERYONE regardless of age group. I would take a lot of these classes, especially a financial planning one. Even those of us who are adults can always learn something new.

    • I completely agree. I can’t tell you how many people I know now, in their 30’s, that wish someone had taught them this stuff (especially finances) in high school to prepare for the adult world of college or jobs. A lot of these programs have been successful at libraries across the U.S. so it would be cool to see SFPL create a similar program. Thanks for reading Desiree!

  2. Ashley,

    Bravo! This post was clear, well thought out, and incredibly fun to read! I want to take a class like that for myself, as it is so motivating to revisit these skills to keep one on the right track.

    It’s seems like a no brainer for any library system to offer this, especially SFPL (such a huge population of patrons). You laid out the planning instructions so clearly that staff members should be able to take this and run with it. I also love the visuals you have created.

    Last, the idea of working with community members to help lead the classes is genius. Thanks for the fun post!

    Have a blessed weekend.

    Take Care,

    David

    • Hi David, thanks so much, I was so surprised to learned that SFPL did not offer a program like this considering the potential need. I would also willingly take a lot of these classes and other libraries have pulled experts to volunteer teach which I found to be helpful in addressing any budget or training concerns. Thanks for reading!

  3. Ashley,
    I just love your Adulting 101 programming idea.
    I think the content of the workshops that you suggest in this blog are right on target. I can imagine that in SF and this new generation of adults that there are so many life skills that need fine tuning-and so many young folks need moral support (budgeting especially in SF is so very crucial to survival!). I like the idea of encouraging the young people of SF, especially since so many at this age level are running major companies, and many then aim to be just as successful. There are high expectations in the city, yet the day to day life expectations need support. I also love your graphics and flyers and think that they will attract the audience. I also think another major plug for marketing can be that young people can meet others in the same age range with similar life situations. It is a great opportunity to attract singles and folks wanting to build their friend groups, especially for new residents. So great! Thanks for sharing!
    Katie

  4. This is a great idea, and It’s nice to know that it is a successful program at other libraries. Adulting 101 used to take place in high schools, but is no longer offered because it is not considered a core class. It may not be core but it is absolutely necessary to know how to manage your money before it gets too bad. Student loans are the worst. I work at a university and hear stories of people still paying off their loans after getting their degrees 15 years ago. Your plan offers many classes that would benefit millennials. I’m glad these classes are popping up in more libraries around the country.

    • Thanks for reading Michelle. I had no idea these programs were taught in high schools, but that also makes a lot of sense. I feel like these classes should be core classes, especially for financial planning. So many students and young graduates have little idea of how to manage loans, budgets, and saving money.

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