Browse Our Categories



Answering Teens' Tough Questions
mk Eagle
Item Number: 978-1-55570-794-1
Publisher: ALA Neal-Schuman
Price: $51.00
Email Friend
  Order Options:  
  Add To Cart  
  Add To Wish List  
This title is also available for purchase as an e-book or as a print/e-book bundle.

136 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-1-55570-794-1
Year Published: 2012

More teenagers than ever turn to librarians and teachers to ask private questions they are afraid to share with family and friends. This book offers any librarian a quick primer on talking with young adults about topics of sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence. Each chapter offers background information on a particular topic followed by real-world strategies for supporting teens who may ask for help, often indirectly. Chapters include sex, sexuality, homelessness, tattoos and piercings, dating violence, abuse, drugs and alcohol, emotional and mental health, and the juvenile justice system. YALSA blog manager Eagle offers real strategies for the issues teenagers face every day such as

  • Answers to specific questions about maintaining online sexual health resources,
  • Creating passive health displays,
  • Working in a school or community with abstinence-only values and/or curriculum,
  • Creating positive atmospheres for healthy discussions, making the library a safe space for everyone, and
  • Maintaining teen privacy when other teens speculate about a certain situation
Readers discover how to develop protocol for all of the above situations, notice signs of abuse, report to the proper authorities, develop partnerships with agencies inside and outside the justice system, and provide much-needed mental health resources in a confidential way.
Table of Contents

Foreword by Michele Gorman 

Chapter 1. Who Are You, Anyway?—Your Own Background and Biases 

Who You Are 
  • Gender 
  • Race 
  • Age 
  • Sexuality 
  • Religion 
  • Politics 
Examining Privilege
  • Listen 
  • Relax 
  • Follow Up 
Why Me?

Chapter 2. Who Are Those Teens in Your Library?—A Brief Introduction to Teens Themselves 

Developmental Assets for Youth 
  • Support 
  • Empowerment 
  • Boundaries and Expectations 
  • Constructive Use of Time 
  • Commitment to Learning 
  • Positive Values 
  • Social Competencies
  • Positive Identity 

Chapter 3. “What If I Go All the Way?”—Sex and Sexuality

The Data 
  • Teens and Sexual Health Information 
Support Teens’ Sexual Health at the Library
  • Go-To Sources for Research and Current Data on Sex and Sexuality (Adult Level) 
  • Health Databases Geared Toward Teens 
  • Sex and Sexuality Websites Geared Toward Teens
  • Books You Should Have in Your Collection 

Chapter 4. “Does That Girl Even Have a House?”—Homeless Teens 

The Numbers 
Helping Homeless Teens
  • The National Coalition for the Homeless
  • Covenant House Institute 

Chapter 5. “Did That Hurt?”—Tattoos and Piercings 

Teens and Body Modification

Chapter 6. “You Won’t Tell Anyone, Right?”—Dating Violence and Abuse 

Defining Dating Violence and Abuse 
Highly Recommended Resources 

Chapter 7. “Does That Get You High?”—Drugs and Alcoho

Teens and Tobacco Products 
  • Spotting Teen Smokers 
  • How to Stop Smokers
Teens and Alcohol 
Spotting Teen Drinkers 
How You Can Help 
Other Drugs 
Making the Library Safe for Everyone 
Library Resources and Programs 

Chapter 8. “Why Does Everyone Keep Telling Me to Relax?”—Mental and Emotional Health

Teens and Mental Illness
  • Anxiety Disorders 
  • Bipolar Disorder 
  • Depression
  • ADHD 
Teens’ Experience with Education and Mental Illness 
Signs to Watch For 
A Word about Confidentiality 
Ways to Get Involved without Getting Involved 
  • Partner with a Social Worker or Counselor 
  • Offer Resources Online 
  • Keep Your Resources Current 
  • Think about Your Space 
  • Keep Resources Visible and Discreet 
  • You Don’t Have to Overshare 

Chapter 9. “You Wanna Fight about It?”—Teen Violence and Juvenile Justice .

Youth Crime 
Youth as Victims 
All Teens Suffer from Youth Crime 
  • Profiling Teens 
  • Youth Curfews
  • Coping Mechanisms 
  • Escalation 
Teens in the Justice System Suffer 
  • Gaps in Education 
  • Employment Difficulties 
  • Treated Like a Criminal 
Making Your Library Safe for Everyone 

Chapter 10. “Did You See What She Wrote on My Wall?”—Teens and Technology

The Technology 
  • Cell Phones
  • Teens and Social Networks

About the Author and YALSA

About the Author

mk Eagle is a transplanted New Englander who can still recite her southern Oregon library card number by heart. She manages the YALSA Blog for the Young Adult Library Services Association and has presented at the ISIS Conference on New Media, Youth & Sexual Health. She is the librarian at Holliston High School and currently resides in Boston with her partner and two ungrateful cats.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is the fourth-largest division of the American Library Association, with more than 5,400 members. YALSA’s mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens and young adults. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives, YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens and young adults. YALSA’s major initiatives include Teen Read Week™ and Teen Tech Week™. Known as the world leader in recommending books and media to those ages 12–18, YALSA each year gives out six literary awards, including the Printz Award, and chooses titles for seven book and media lists.

"Eagle tackles the sensitive issues that teen librarians can face in working with patrons, ranging from smoking and drugs to online ethics. For librarians who wish to intervene and make a difference in their patrons’ lives, this guide provides plenty of information."
--School Library Journal

Free Report: The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action

Last year, experts and practitioners from across the U.S. discussed the future of teens and libraries. The result? Some straightforward and achievable recommendations for engaging and empowering teens. 

YALSA’s “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action” report captures findings from the 2013 meeting about how youth-serving groups, community organizations and libraries can team up to help the nation’s teens succeed in school and prepare for careers. 

The report is available for free at


  Also of interest:  
Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time, Sixth Edition
Item Number:  978-1-85604-811-8
This book is an invaluable guide for information professionals at the reference desk in any type of library or information organization.
Price: $95.00
Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation
Item Number:  978-0-8389-8570-0
Connecting teens to books they’ll truly enjoy is the aim of every young adult librarian, and the completely revamped guide Outstanding Books for the College Bound will give teen services staff the leg up they need to make it happen.
Price: $52.00
Young Adults Deserve the Best: YALSA's Competencies in Action
Item Number:  978-0-8389-3587-3
Developed by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), this book outlines eight areas of focus for providing quality library service in collaboration with teenagers.
Price: $49.00