May 24, 2022

New Article: “Competencies Needed to Provide Teen Library Services of the Future: A Survey of Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces”

Note: The following article was the receipient of the YALSA (Young Adult Library Association Services) 2016 Midwinter Paper Presentation.


Competencies Needed to Provide Teen Library Services of the Future: A Survey of Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces


Kyungwon Koh
University of Oklahoma

June Abbas
University of Oklahoma

Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 7 (2016)


Libraries are developing transformative teen-centered spaces and services to facilitate informal learning, creation, socialization, and community engagement. For sustained success, it is crucial that qualified professionals staff these learning spaces.

This study explored the following research question: What are the competencies required for professionals to provide teens with resources and services in informal learning spaces such as Learning Labs or Makerspaces? Survey results of professionals working in Makerspaces or Learning Labs in libraries in the United States are presented. Findings relate to (1) the participants’ job responsibilities and competencies necessary to work in a Makerspace or Learning Lab; (2) their perceptions of the value of their higher-education experiences; and (3) choices of resources for learning competencies.

The findings inform professionals working with teens about necessary competencies; provide library directors and managers with a research-based framework on staff recruitment and training; and offer suggestions for curricular updates to library and information science (LIS) educators.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.