A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my
reflection post about a concept that really struck me: teaching life skills
at the library. The article we read for class was about one library that
offered such classes, under the name “Adulting 101,” but in my research, I discovered
that many other public and academic libraries have been hosting similar programs.
I think that introducing this sort of program in a high school library is a
logical way to meet these often unaddressed needs of students, staff, and other
members of the community while increasing engagement and involvement in the
school library. As I am currently still a high school teacher in the classroom and
not yet in the library, this program design is based somewhat on my current
high school, but in a general, flexible way in order to be applicable to my
future school library site.
Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
- To teach real world skills in through interactive
discussions and hands-on experiences
- To engage students, staff, and parents (or other members
of the community) in library-based school activities
- To increase use of the school library resources and
- To provide an environment where people feel comfortable
asking questions about life skills
- To address the missing gap skills that the student population
feels that they need to learn to succeed academically, professionally,
economically, and socially
- To encourage life-long learning
Description of Community you wish to engage:
The main target community for this program is the high
school students from our campus. Staff and other members of the community,
including parents and other family members of our students, are secondary considerations.
Staff and other members of the community would be primary sources to engage in
helping teach these skills to the students and whoever else may show up.
Action Brief Statement:
Convince students that by coming to the library to learn
various basic life skills they will be better prepared for life after high
school which will enable them to succeed academically, professionally, economically,
and socially because they will have some practice with these foundational
For staff, administration, & other members of
Convince staff, administration, and
outside members of the community that by providing students with the
opportunity to learn a variety of life skills not addressed in the school
curriculum they will better fill the gaps in the students’ education which will
better prepare them for life after high school because the school’s goal is for
the students to be successful members of
community in every aspect of their lives.
Evidence and Resources to
support Technology or Service: (URLS, articles to help guide you)
Bernhard, B. (June 3, 2019). ‘Adulting’ classes around
St. Louis offer life skills not taught in school. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Retrieved from https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/adulting-classes-around-st-louis-offer-life-skills-not-taught/article_2e09cab6-a35b-5d64-807f-9ede69dfba2a.html
Dar, M. (July 19, 2017). Libraries provide teens
with important life skills. School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=libraries-provide-teens-with-important-life-skills-ala-annual-2017
De Leon, L. (December 17, 2018). ‘Adulting 101’
classes are teaching people life skills in Central Texas. KVUE. Retreved
DiTullio, N. (March 5, 2019). Adulting 101:
Life Skills Classes for Tweens, Teens and Adults [Webinar recording]. Retrieved
Ford, A. (2018). Adulting 101. american
libraries. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/05/01/adulting-101-library-programming/
Life skills academy. San Jose Public
Library. Retrieved from https://www.sjpl.org/lifeskills
Sapulpa Pubic Library. (April 15, 2019).
Adulting 101. Retrieved from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adulting-101-life-skills-class-at-sapulpa-public-library-8-class-series-2019-tickets-45976852002
Woodland Daily Democrat. (August 20,
2019). ‘Adulting 101: Life skills for teens’ course sponsored by city. Daily
Democrat. Retrieved from https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2019/08/20/adulting-101-life-skills-for-teens-course-sponsored-by-city/
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to
Technology or Service:
As is usual with school libraries, the school administration
would probably be involved in either developing policies or at least approving
policies written by the school librarian. One possibility would be developing a
school club on campus involving students and other staff members to help
develop the specific guidelines and collaboratively write a mission statement to
help encourage ownership.
A suggested mission statement would be something as
follows: “The mission of the Life Skills at the Library Program is to teach
students how to prepare for life outside of high school through interactive and
hands-on experiences.” Linking this mission to the mission of the school
library, the school, and/or the district is also a good idea.
The following are suggested to be included in the
- How often these programs would run?
- Who would be present to run/manage the individual
- When would be the best time to offer these classes?
(During lunch, after school, later in the evening?)
- How should the topics be chosen in order to reflect
- How can local authorities on the topics be found and
asked to teach a class?
- What topics should involve hands-on experiences?
- What can those attending the classes be reasonably
asked to bring?
The following are suggested to be included or
considered when creating the policies:
- Permission for members of the community outside of
the district to be on campus, if necessary.
- Considerations of when the classes can and should be
- Considerations of what funds can be used.
- Considerations of what staff members must be present
Librarians and those helping create the guidelines
and policies should keep in might any school or district regulations that might
affect the program.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or
it is possible for this program to be run as part of the school club,
fundraising following school policies for club fundraising could be a major source
of funding for any resources or equipment that might be used. As often as
possible, librarians and those running the program should seek for parents or
other members of the community who can volunteer their time and skills to teach
students according to their specialty (e.g., a parent who works as a mechanic helping
teach basic car maintenance). If involving staff members outside of the usual
school hours in a teaching capacity (not as an attendee), a discussion with administration
should be held to see if either payment via a timesheet or counting this time under
any contract-required hours of adjunct duty is possible.
Action Steps & Timeline:
program would undeniably change each school year, not only as those running the
program would learn from each previous class, but also as the students attending
change and the needs of the students vary. After permission is granted from the
school administration, a discussion of the policies around the program and
funding for staff involvement should happen as soon as possible, but at least
before meeting with the group of students and staff who will be running the
program. Advertisement for such a council will also take a couple of weeks.
Participation in any sort of Club Rush event would be ideal.
school year, the new collection of students and staff who will be running the program
should gather together at the beginning of the school year, ideally the first
month. Student officers should be selected in the first meeting. Also during
the first meeting, a plan should be developed to figure out what the current
student population is interested in learning through the programs classes. This
could take place over the following couple of months or consistently throughout
the program. Discussion of social media pages and other types of promotion
should also be addressed in the first couple of meetings. Meanwhile, for the
first couple of program classes, those students involved in running the program
can brainstorm ideas. A timeline should be established in the first couple of
meetings for when the classes should take place, and how often (suggestion:
about once a month). Plans for fundraising should take place at least once a
librarian should be involved as much as necessary for the program’s success,
but as little as possible to ensure the program is directed by the needs of the
students themselves. Individual or groups of students should be put in charge
of the different aspects of the program, including finding and reaching out to outside
“experts” to ask if they are willing to volunteer to teach, reaching out to any
other staff members (teachers, counselors, or administration) who the students
would like to ask to teach, managing the finances (including fundraising events
and expenses for resources for classes), running social media sites, and other
promotional events or items.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or
staffing for this program would involve more than just the librarian; other
staff members, teachers, counselors, or administration, might need to be
involved, depending on the timing of the classes. Approval might be necessary
for these hours to be counted as adjunct duty or compensated via a timesheet.
Student volunteers, whether involved through a school club or getting community
service hours, could also help as “staff” in charge of aspects of the program.
Training for this Technology or Service:
the librarian should not be expected to know or learn all of the skills covered
through the courses, as outside experts would ideally be involved as much as
possible, the librarian and those involved in managing the classes (whether
volunteer students or staff) should be trained in how to best help facilitate
the instructor. The librarian would ideally design the training based on the
chosen topic. It should be scheduled a few days prior to the event, perhaps
during lunch or after school in a brief meeting.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or
program can be promoted on any and all of the school’s social media pages, as
well as through the school library’s social media pages. A social media page
specifically for the program could be created and ran by a student from the club
running the program. Awareness of classes should be included on school
bulletins or school news videos whenever possible. Physical posters in the library
and in classrooms or other areas on campus can also promote the program and
individual classes. Any classes offered outside of school hours and open to
other members of the community can also be advertised at local places such as
the local public library.
of this program could be based attendance, attendee satisfaction, and feedback
from those running/teaching the classes. During the classes, the librarian or another
person help run the program could take a count of those who show up,
differentiating between students and other adults. Surveys could occasionally
be given to all or select attendees, either on physical paper or digitally
through some means such as Google Forms. Students and staff helping run or
manage the classes can be asked for feedback either with opened questions or a
general request for feedback; this information can be received in person, on
paper, or via email. Similar feedback received in similar manners should be
sought from any members of the community who volunteered to teach a class in
students who attend the program’s classes will share their positive experiences
with their classmates, teachers, and parents. Interest and engagement will
increase with time, and more students will participate in identifying what
topics should be covered in future classes. The program might be expanded by
involving more members of the community, whether individuals or other group
organizations. Possible increases in funding could increase the possible times and
days that program classes could be held to increase attendance or the resources
available to be used in the classes.