Adults Just Wanna Have Fun: Programs for Emerging Adults

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

There are a wealth of resources out there geared towards serving the needs of toddlers, school age children, young adults, and senior citizens. But something's missing. Library users in their 20s and 30s constitute one of the most underserved populations for public libraries, and there's a scarcity of guidance on how to target them. Barbakoff's fun and practical programming book helps to fill that gap. A 2013 Library Journal Mover and Shaker who was also named one of Flavorwire's "10 of the Coolest Librarians Alive," she shows how to draw emerging adults to the library using a mixture of play and engagement and then keep them coming back for more. Packed with ideas that are real-world tested and approved, this guide  

  • examines the unique needs and expectations of millennials, many of whom are already avid readers and have the potential to become a core part of the public library user base;
  • presents easily adaptable programs that are fun for a variety of groups, from "Bad Art Night" and "DIY Hot Cocoa Mix" to "Library Speed Dating" and "Homemade Spa Products";
  • features a range of events that move the library outside and into the community, such as hosting a book club in a bar, combining books and bikes, partnering with a commercial kitchen for a cookbook group, and a book-to-action program that uses book discussions as springboards to hands-on service projects;
  • offers advice for garnering funding and support by showing how to connect programming to the library's fundamental values; and
  • provides tips for prep, setup, and teardown, plus pointers on marketing and outreach.

By taking the initiative to offer programming that appeals to emerging adults, public libraries help to make them life-long library users. It's an investment that will reap benefits for years to come, and this book shows how to make it happen.

Check out this title's Web Extra!


Part I    Get Dirty

Chapter 1    Homemade Spa Products
Chapter 2    Greener Cleaners
Chapter 3    High-Tech Holiday Cards
Chapter 4    DIY Hot Cocoa Mix
Chapter 5    Hypertufa Pots
Chapter 6    Bad Art Night


Part II    Get Out

Chapter 7    Book Group on a Boat: Ferry Tales
Chapter 8    Literary Pub Trivia: Books on Tap
Chapter 9    Book Club in a Bar: Books on Tap
Chapter 10    Cookbook Book Group: Eat Your Words
Chapter 11    Book-to-Action
Chapter 12    Book Bike: Spoke and Word


Part III    Get Together

Chapter 13    Dying for Love: A Library Murder Mystery
Chapter 14    Nerf Capture the Flag: Foam Dart Blaster Battle!
Chapter 15    Tabletop Gaming
Chapter 16    Story Night
Chapter 17    After-Hours Art Party: Night Light
Chapter 18    Library Speed Dating

Conclusion: Evaluation
Bibliography and Further Resources
About the Author and Contributors

Audrey Barbakoff

Audrey Barbakoff is the CEO of Co/lab Capacity LLC, which provides community-centered consulting for libraries and social good organizations. During more than a decade in public libraries, her work was recognized by Library Journal Movers & Shakers, the Urban Libraries Council Top Innovators, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Dr. Barbakoff holds an MLIS from the University of Washington and an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. She is co-author of The 12 Steps to a Community-Led Library, and author of Adults Just Wanna Have Fun: Programs for Emerging Adults and the forthcoming picture book The Schlemiel Kids Save the Moon. 

”Chapters are devoted to a specific program and include an analysis of the community need they serve as well as an outline of cost and materials, a process statement, suggestions for further reading, and, in the case of maker programs like homemade spa products or green cleaners, recipes … Provides an excellent entry point."
— Booklist

"I recommend taking the small amount of time necessary to read through this book. It is likely to change your thinking about how your library can best use programming to support your college's or university's goals for student success, persistence, and retention."
— Against The Grain

”Very useful to all library professionals looking to broaden their base and reach out to underserved populations. It will prove itself an indispensable resource in engaging adults in their twenties and thirties. This book is highly recommended for public librarians."

"Inventive and exciting ... After simply browsing this book, library professionals will be anxious to read through each chapter, devouring the creative ideas and imagining how they can present new and innovative programming to emerging adults in their libraries. Readers will also be inspired to create their own groundbreaking outreach programs."
— Public Libraries