Apply Now for the Libraries Ready to Code Grant!

Libraries Ready to Code

The application for Phase III of the Libraries Ready to Code Grant is open now through August 31, 2017.

The grant program, sponsored generously by Google, will fund a cohort of school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth. A total of 25-50 grants up to $25,000 each are available.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Public or school library (you do not need to be an ALA member to apply, but members will be given preference during the review process)
  • Library must be located in the United States or U.S. Territories
  • Program must be focused on computational thinking or computer science
  • Program must be completely free of cost to youth and their families, including deposits
  • Program must serve youth (anywhere on the Pre-K to grade 12 spectrum)
  • Must have prior approval from your library administration to implement the program (if grant funds are provided). Verification may be required upon request

Please note, you must meet all of the above eligibility requirements in order to apply for the grant. If you do not, your application will be disqualified.

A virtual information session about the grant program and application process will be held on Aug. 1 at 2:30pm EST. Reserve your seat here.  The recording of the session will be made available to those who can’t attend it live.  Additionally, before submitting an application, we encourage you to read the Request for Proposal and use it as a guide to filling out the application).  In addition, an FAQ, and list of resources including sample programs are on the Libraries Ready to Code site to inform your work as you prepare your grant application. Questions? Contact us.

Apply now through August 31, 2017.

Proposing a Program at ALA Annual

ALA’s Annual Conference is over for this year, and library workers are back home, energized and ready to dive into summer learning or planning for the coming school year.  It’s also time to sit back and reflect on what made a good annual conference this year, besides the obvious things (IMHO) like hearing Hillary Clinton as the closing speaker. What panels spoke out to you? Which ones did you feel gave you the most actionable know-how to take home and try out that very next week? And things we like to think less about here at YALSA, but what didn’t work so well? Why didn’t you like a certain panel? Were the panelists too rote? Too unimaginative?

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Melissa McBride, a School Librarian in Southhold, New York and a YALSA Board of Directors member and Organization & Bylaws Chair.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

I have been serving on YALSA committees since 2008, mostly on the process side, and I love seeing how the organization runs. I like thinking strategically and figuring out how YALSA can best help members. For years I had been saying that I would nominate myself to run for a Board position, but I kept chickening out. I was approached about a year and a half ago and was asked if I would serve as Chair of Organization & Bylaws, a committee that I had served on as a member twice. I love O&B and knew that as Chair I would be an Ex-Officio Board member, meaning I do everything a regular Board member does, I just don’t have a vote. I jumped at the opportunity because I absolutely love the behind the scenes committee work and it was a chance to get over my fear of putting my name on the ballot! The work is so rewarding, and so different from what I do as a school librarian. I have a chance to look at things holistically and organization wide; instead of focusing on the nitty gritty like I do in my small school.

  1. what do you do on the board?

As I mentioned before, I am Chair of Organization & Bylaws, which means we make recommendations on changes to: bylaws, committee functions, committee structure, and the organizational handbook. Basically, O&B helps to ensure that YALSA is running smoothly. We recently had two bylaws revisions put before membership on the March ballot. I am responsible for bringing the work my committee has done to the Board. I also participate in all Board meetings and discussions like a regular member. I try to bring an O&B perspective to the discussions when it is called for. My role as Chair of O&B definitely makes it easier to think about the organization as a whole and look at the big picture.

  1. What the board is doing for its members

Wow! So much is going on right now – it’s a very exciting time! O&B is going to start evaluating committees, juries and task forces to ensure that they are functioning the way they should and, more importantly, to make sure that volunteers are getting what they need out of the work they do for the committees. We are going to pilot the use of eARCs/ebooks for award committees and selected list bloggers. The committees and bloggers will also indicate on all lists/awards whether titles are readily available in languages other than English or in other formats, like Braille or large print. The Board agreed to begin transitioning YALS to an all digital format. These are just a few things that are happening, to see more check out Immediate Past President, Sarah Hill’s blog post.

  1. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

I am currently reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

YALSA @ ALA Annual 2017: Youth Development through Community Engagement

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend ALA Annual 2017 in Chicago last month, where YALSA-sponsored panels and sessions focused on everything from how to run a tech/makerspace to creative ways to engage teens inside the library and out. Regardless of what the specific topic of each panel was, I began noticing a common theme running throughout: the future of teen services lies squarely within the realm of community and civil engagement. Presenters kept returning to this theme of team-based and service driven learning; that teen development is tied to meaningful contributions to both peers and adults, empowering a positive self-image, and fostering a capacity to creatively problem solve. All of this sounds great, but what does this mean for your library, exactly?

Whether your library has a strong history of offering services and program to teens, or is struggling to get teens into your physical space, community engagement is the key to creating lasting meaningful experiences that teens need to develop and become successful adults. YALSA’s Teens First infographic pinpoints areas where library staff can focus their efforts no matter where your community’s teens are to be found. Are there teens in your library space? Utilize their presence to provide volunteer opportunities that impact social or environmental issues close to your teens’ hearts. Teen Advisory Groups are a gold mine of youth development opportunities, as you can harness the creativity and interests of these teens to plan programs that meet a specific community need. Teens will not only be invested in developing the program itself, but will take responsibility for its success and outcomes. In the meantime, teens develop self-worth, a sense of belonging, and ownership as they contribute to the group’s efforts, as well as learning how to effectively communicate their ideas to a larger group of peers. Are you like many libraries where teens are scarce? Team up with your local schools or community organizations to bring opportunities to teens where they are.

Last year, my coworker and I teamed up with the local school library staff to raise awareness about bullying during Anti-Bullying month in October. Teens brainstormed ways to promote a healthy self-image and came up with a riff on the Six Word Memoir. Each student wrote a simple messages about themselves on mini whiteboards and posted the selfies to their various social media profiles. Teens were able to promote a positive message about themselves and get other teens to think about why they were important and worthwhile, too. We encouraged them to tag both their school and the library as a way to demonstrate our involvement with the project. This simple partnership allowed the community’s youth to have a voice about a serious issue by sharing authentic content that they created; it also gave them the opportunity to use their social media platforms to positively impact their peers.

YALSA’s new President, Sandra Hughes-Hassell has also recognized community engagement as the key to bringing teens and youth into successful adulthood. In her recent announcement on the YALSAblog she stated that, as President, her goal is to support library staff to address the unique challenges of their community’s youth by “building teen leadership skills and amplifying their voices.” Over the coming year, she wants to promote YALSA events that aim to encourage and address youth development through community engagement, including One Book, One Community, Teen Tech Week, and more. Keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved with this campaign as the year progresses. In the meantime, If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out YALSA’s recent set of case studies that highlight how various libraries have already begun to think about programming in this way. Remember that this new paradigm shift doesn’t have to mean reinventing the programming/services wheel. Any program can be tweaked to highlight youth development, even if it doesn’t directly include a partnership or whether it takes place inside or out of your own library’s space. It’s just about putting teens first.

Future Ready with the Library: Apply for Cohort 2

In the spring YALSA began its second year of the three year Future Ready with the Library project. The focus of this IMLS funded work that is a partnership between YALSA and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries is to provide staff in small, rural, and tribal libraries the opportunity to build college career readiness services for middle school youth and their families. YALSA’s first cohort in this endeavor got to work in January of this year and now it’s time for those wanting to participate in the project to apply to be a part of the second cohort.

You can learn about the project and how to apply in this recording of an information session held last week.

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YALS Summer 2017 Companion: Mentoring Thoughts

In the summer issue of YALS the article “Learning from Each Other: Successful Mentoring/Protege Relationships” provides an overview of the skills and knowledge that successful mentors and protégés bring to mentoring relationships. Ideas include that:

  • Both mentors and protégés have to be self-reflective and understand their own skills and needs as they get ready to mentor someone else and/or seek support from another person.
  • Mentors need to know how to facilitate thinking while protégés need to listen and know how to ask good questions.
  • Mentors need to be open to learning from their protégés and protégés have to be open to failure and learning from that failure.

Readers of YALS most likely have some ideas of their own about successful relationships of this kind with experiences that highlight what works and doesn’t work. Now is the time to let others know – from your perspective what does a successful mentor/protege relationship entail?

Add your thoughts, ideas, questions, and comments on this topic in the comments. (You may also want to respond to the thoughts, ideas, questions, and comments that others post.)

YALSA members and YALS subscribers can read the article (and the full issue) online in the Summer 2017 digital edition (Login required).

YALS 2017 Summer Resources: Learning From Each Other: Successful Mentoring/Protege Relationships

In the Summer 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Linda Braun’s article describes what makes a quality mentoring/protege relationship from both the mentor and the protege perspective. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/MentoringReboot_MW17.pdf

http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2017/07/01/yals-summer-2017-mentoring-thoughts/

Next Library 2017: An International Library Conference

This summer I had the pleasure of attending Next Library 2017, an annual gathering of library professionals and innovators from around the world with a vested interest in furthering the work of libraries everywhere. With more than 38 countries represented, the conference offers a sneak peek into the inner workings and successes of libraries all over the world. As I found out, it seems libraries, regardless of type and region, seem to share many of the same core challenges: funding, understanding community needs, generating program ideas, staying current with technology, and making connections with those we serve. In many ways, this conference is a celebration of diverse libraries and the great strides they are making despite these challenges and how other libraries can benefit.

Dokk1 Library in Aarhus, Denmark

Here are the highlights:

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YALSA Intellectual Freedom Liaison Report

As the YALSA Liaison to the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), I’d like to  highlight several issues that were discussed by the IFC at ALA annual that are particularly pertinent to YALSA members.

First, hate crimes and materials challenges have increased this past year. The Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) staff is always ready to help librarians and libraries work through these issues, as desired by the local institution.  The Office is urging any library that experiences a hate crime or a challenge to report it to the Office. The more complete the reporting is the better the profession and ALA can work to combat these issues.  To report challenges use this link: http://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/report

Second, there are two new initiatives from OIF that YALSA members will want to know about.

Our Voices – Founded in 2016 by OIF and ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Our Voices continues to work to build a foundation of publishers, authors, and partnerships to bring diverse, quality content to library shelves. The goal of Our Voices is to provide librarians with “diverse content with one click.” It will connect libraries with electronic and in-print content from small, independent publisher and authors. The Our Voices Council will use BiblioLabs as the platform to submit, review, and gather metadata on diverse literature. The books will be distributed through Independent Publisher’s Group. Our Voices is now recruiting librarians to review small, independent publisher and author content.

Intellectual Freedom Boot Camp – First piloted in the fall of 2016, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Office for Library Advocacy continue to offer Intellectual Freedom and Advocacy Boot Camp at pre-conferences around the country in cooperation with library chapters. Four Advocacy Boot Camps took place in 2017, and five are slotted for the fall of 2017. Led by OIF Director James LaRue and OLA Director Marci Merola, the training sessions address the four new, key messages of ALA:

  1. Libraries transform lives.
  2. Libraries transform communities.
  3. Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning.
  4. Libraries are a smart investment.

Attendees craft the beginning of an advocacy plan and are given practical tips on messaging, networking, community engagement, and Intellectual Freedom as the core value and brand of librarianship.

Finally, two new Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights were passed by Council at the last session:  “Politics in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and  “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.”

To find out about all the issues IFC discussed, read IFC Chair Pam Klipsch’s report to ALA Council  Council. http://connect.ala.org/node/268218

Ma’lis Wendt

mwendt@nyc.rr.com

 

 

YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading