Friday Fun: Medical Library Helping At Risk Youth

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:

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