The new NSLS Fast Facts survey on serving middle grade students brings up a subject I find pretty interesting. It was reassuring to see that many of the public libraries in this area treat the young adolescents as the dual-natured people that they are. You have your kids who are dying to reach the adult world and are 12 going on 18 (at least); you have your kids who are reluctant to leave the child world behind and are 12 going on 10, and then of course thanks to the wonders of hormone fluctuations you have the many kids who are anywhere from age 8 to age 40 all within one hour.
I strongly advocate libraries sharing service to this age group. Let them sort themselves out–let the Too Cool for the Children’s Department kids head to Adult; let the I Still Love the Books I Loved Before kids keep coming to Youth Services, and let the staff work together on programming. Let’s keep the Newbery medal going up to age 14 while the Printz goes down to 12. Let’s not create firm boundaries for our own organizational convenience. Let’s keep it nice and messy, just like the kids themselves!