The A.R. Dykes Library of the Health Sciences serves at the University of Kansas Medical Center is open to the public and within walking distance from a neighborhood middle school. Students would often come to the library to use the 4 public PCs after school. As students were sometimes disruptive and disrespectufl to staff tensions rose among them. There were no other appropriate and safe places within walking distances for at-risk youth to go besides the library.
They describe the situation at A.R. Dykes Library of Health Science as unique yet I personally think it is more common of situation that we don’t hear about as often or with positive approaches. I am assuming (and please let me know if I am wrong) since they are open to the public, they cannot just kick out or prevent a large portion of the public such as middle school students from the library. They probably can only ask them to leave as individual(s) presented problems.
The librarians decided to create a positive and safe environment (instead of just a hagnout with free computers) where the students could learn vocational skills and “expand socially, emotionally, intellectionally, and physically.” As a medical library they were not for a lack of resources but a lack of experience as to how to apply these resources effectively with teenagers. Through partnerships with various organizations they created a “community within a community at the Medical Center.” Students participated in hospital department tours, tutoring sessions, activity days, and guest speakers.
For more information on their program or contact information go to: