Bringing sex education out of the classroom and into the library in Queens

  • Planned Parenthoods' strong links with the local community, including libraries and young people, emphasize the importance of the care provided and it's continued relevance today regardless of where in the world.
    Planned Parenthoods' strong links with the local community, including libraries and young people, emphasize the importance of the care provided and it's continued relevance today regardless of where in the world.
  • The borough of Queens has long been regarded as New York's melting pot, home to immigrant communities from Latin America to the Far East, all with different religions and cultural values.
    The borough of Queens has long been regarded as New York's melting pot, home to immigrant communities from Latin America to the Far East, all with different religions and cultural values.
  • 49% of this diverse and large community is made up of immigrant groups, with 130 languages spoken throughout the local schools.
    49% of this diverse and large community is made up of immigrant groups, with 130 languages spoken throughout the local schools.
  • Through a partnership with Planned Parenthood, staff at Queens Library branches have received training in how to handle questions on about everything from sexually transmitted infections to gender identity.
    Through a partnership with Planned Parenthood, staff at Queens Library branches have received training in how to handle questions on about everything from sexually transmitted infections to gender identity.
  • Tamara Michel, a community health co-ordinator at Queens Library, first came up with the idea to approach Planned Parenthood. Librarians would come up to her when they needed advice on tricky questions about health, sexuality and identity.
    Tamara Michel, a community health co-ordinator at Queens Library, first came up with the idea to approach Planned Parenthood. Librarians would come up to her when they needed advice on tricky questions about health, sexuality and identity.
  • Almost 200 staff from across the different branches have been trained by Planned Parenthood, including Gary Hawkins a Youth Counsellor.
    Almost 200 staff from across the different branches have been trained by Planned Parenthood, including Gary Hawkins a Youth Counsellor.
  • Mr Hawkins discovered his duties were much broader when a teenage girl approached him for help. Her boyfriend had been arrested and she believed she was pregnant.   "When they first hired me I was thinking about music mostly, I'm a youth counsellor so I expected to talk to the kids and help out with homework, I'm thinking music questions, but every day is different." says Gary.
    Mr Hawkins discovered his duties were much broader when a teenage girl approached him for help. Her boyfriend had been arrested and she believed she was pregnant. "When they first hired me I was thinking about music mostly, I'm a youth counsellor so I expected to talk to the kids and help out with homework, I'm thinking music questions, but every day is different." says Gary.
  • Kacper Jarecki, community library manager, says the partnership was simply an extension of the role played by libraries through history. "We are fans of having people educated and knowing what kinds of options and choices they have."
    Kacper Jarecki, community library manager, says the partnership was simply an extension of the role played by libraries through history. "We are fans of having people educated and knowing what kinds of options and choices they have."
  • Melissa Malanuk believes even internet-savvy New York teenagers need the human touch and a safe environment to ask questions.
    Melissa Malanuk believes even internet-savvy New York teenagers need the human touch and a safe environment to ask questions.
  • Randa Dean, Senior Director of Adult & Professional Services at Planned Parenthood of New York City, says the partnership was a natural fit.   "They may not know where to go for this information so they are going to the place they trust the most, and there's no reason why the staff at the library and librarians can't provide that basic information for them", says Randa.
    Randa Dean, Senior Director of Adult & Professional Services at Planned Parenthood of New York City, says the partnership was a natural fit. "They may not know where to go for this information so they are going to the place they trust the most, and there's no reason why the staff at the library and librarians can't provide that basic information for them", says Randa.

Planned Parenthood partners with Queens libraries to bring sex education out of the classroom and into the library. The partnership employs the library's traditional role as a source of information creating a safe space for today's teenagers to ask for support.