Saturday, January 30, 2010

RIP JD Salinger

JD Salinger, the great American writer who died this week, did something amazing for young people. He was one of the first to recognize that Young Adults and teens did not have their own spaces, their own art and literature, and were not empowered to simply be themselves. In Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is a 17-year-old who speaks frankly about feeling disenfranchised. He has been expelled from school, he can relate to almost no-one, and the idea of growing up seems like a joke. Catcher in the Rye was to become one of the most frequently challenged books in the US, and it is still controversial today, though it is common in high school reading curriculum.

Because of people like Salinger, our society finally acknowledges that teens have their own incredible culture, and we're slowly building spaces for them to celebrate it. Sometimes the progress can seem excruciatingly slow, but it's all happening and it's exciting. In the spirit of Mr. Salinger, leave us a comment if you have any ideas about how your teen space or programs at the library can be better!

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