Week of Making: Making on a Shoestring

It’s hard to get excited about makerspaces when you don’t have ANY budget for materials. Installing and maintaining the software to run a 3D printer might seem a logistical impossibility when you don’t even have permissions to run the Windows updates on your public computers. But there are a number of ways to establish a maker culture with things you might already have lying around your library.

Use your graveyard of equipment for a hardware tear-down. Our digital natives may never have had the opportunity to peak inside a tower or under the keyboard of a laptop. Showing them how to upgrade the RAM or swap out other bits attached to a motherboard is a real-world skill that makes computers more useful for longer. Back when I sponsored a high school technology team, one of the most impressive student projects I saw involved a student daisy-chaining a set of old CPUs together to create a robust machine. Before adding to the e-waste explosion, offer your deaccessioned hardware to your teens, along with screwdrivers, clamps, and other basic tools. If your patrons see you playing with this sort of stuff, you may receive donations…

Photo: https://twitter.com/shk_le_shka

Photo: https://twitter.com/shk_le_shka

Hack their old toys.In a similar vein, one of my Alabama colleagues demonstrated how you can eviscerate a thrift-store Tickle Me Elmo to produce your own weird sound effects, a project certain to delight most teens.
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Week of Making: The Future of Making

When I read this the other day I thought, this is a call to action for library staff:

“The Department of Education (ED) and Alliance for Excellent Education are announcing the launch of Future Ready Librarians, an expansion of the Future Ready initiative aimed at raising awareness among district and school leaders about the valuable role librarians can play in supporting the Future Ready goals of their school and district. Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches who work side by side with teachers. In addition, a network of nationally recognized librarians, with support from Follett, will provide input on the development of strategies aligned with the Future Ready Framework, and five Future Ready Summits will be held in regional locations throughout the country and will include librarian-designed and facilitated sessions for district leadership teams on designing collaborative learning spaces. – From the White House Fact Sheet on the President’s Nation of Makers initiative.

I think that announcement is a pretty exciting one and not just because libraries are called out. (Yes, that’s awesome.) Also notice there is a strong focus on the impacts that making activities facilitated with, through, and by libraries. Read this again:

“Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches…”

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YALSA Board @ ALA 2016: YALSA Councilor Update

Greetings from your YALSA Councilor!

Here is an update of ALA Council highlights since the 2016 Midwinter meeting in Boston:

  • Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Councilor, announced the cancellation of the ALSC Institute slated to take place in Charlotte NC in September. The background and details of this decision can be found at http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/alsc-board-votes-cancelnational-institute-charlotte/
  • Diane Chen, AASL Councilor, has created an ALA Connect Member Community called Equity for All to School Libraries. Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Councilor and Todd Krueger, YALSA Councilor, among a number of other Councilors and interested parties, are supporting Diane in this resolution. The Resolution in its current state can be found at http://connect.ala.org/node/254174 . We will be working together to bring this resolution to the floor of Council, with input from Councilors at Council Forum.
  • Andrew Hart, ALCTS Division Councilor, submitted a resolution titled “Resolution in Support of the Professional Cataloging Processes and Determinations of the Library of Congress.” A recent U.S. House of Representatives appropriations bill included an amendment to force the Library of Congress to return to the “aliens” and “illegal aliens” subject headings – headings ALA Council urged the Library of Congress to change (resolution 2015-2016 ALA CD#34_11216_FINAL). The legislation has not been embraced by the U.S. Senate but is nonetheless a disturbing YALSA Board of Directors – Annual 2016 Pre-Meeting Division Councilor Report action. This resolution calls on ALA to advocate on behalf of the Library of Congress and respect for the non-partisan professional work of librarianship. This resolution has been formally endorsed by ALCTS and reflects work by the Committee on Legislation and the ALA Washington Office.
  • Keri Cascio, Executive Director, ALCTS updated Council on the ongoing LCSH illegal aliens issue:

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Week of Making: Bringing makerspaces to teens

CC: SJPL Pop-Up Mobile Maker's Space by San Jose Library

CC Image courtesy of San José Library on Flickr

Just over a month ago I became the first STEAM Librarian at the San José Public Library, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. While my title is new, STEAM programming is far from new to my urban library system. Surrounded by so many technology resources and partners, we are lucky to have passionate library staff leading STEAMstacks programs and participating in worldwide events like Hour of Code.

Before my position was even created our Innovations Manager brainstormed ways to extend STEAM programming to the city’s underserved neighborhoods. Part of the envisioned future stated in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action is for library staff to “leave the physical school library or public library space regularly and provide services to targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other in school locations) where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.” The Maker[Space]Ship, a mobile makerspace, is designed to do just that.

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YALSA Board @ Annual: Revitalizing Interest Groups

Would you like increased networking opportunities? What about member-driven knowledge and idea-sharing? How about opportunities to contribute to our profession’s growth and success on your own terms?  Did you know you can do all of this and more with YALSA’s Interest Groups?

YALSA interest groups are developed and led entirely by YALSA members and can cover any relevant topic without the formality of a Strategic Committee, Task Force, or Selection or Award committee. All members are welcome to opt in and opt out of Interest Groups as their capacity allows.  Interest Groups can be focused on teen service trends, academic research, and more. Or, Interest Groups can focus on particular populations or geographic regions.  Work is conducted virtually and informally.  Members can use the information gained in the way they best see fit. Maybe that’s implementing a new program at your work, or maybe it’s submitting a proposal to present at conference or writing a YALSA blog post! Interest Groups have incredible potential to support member needs and provide meaningful and achievable engagement opportunities, but they are currently underutilized.

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YALSA Board @ ALA Annual 2016: YALSA @ ALA Highlights

Happy LGBTQIA Pride Month & Happy National Week of Making!

YALSA’s Board has been hard at work since their last meeting in Boston: finalizing and adopting a new organizational plan, continuing the roll-out of activities related to the Futures Report, and planning for ALA Annual in Orlando!

Now, the Annual Conference is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to the Printz Ceremony on Friday night, honoring David Levithan at the Edwards Award Brunch on Saturday morning, talking with members at Saturday’s Member Happy Hour and at our Membership Meeting and President’s Program and so much more! You can find the details about these events and many more YALSA activities on the YALSA wiki.

The Board agenda is up online, and nearly all of the documents have been posted. Members can check them out in advance and send comments or feedback to me at candice.yalsa@gmail.com. If you’ll be in Orlando for the conference, the first ten minutes of each of our board meetings are open to public comment. If you have a question for a particular board member about a document they’ve written, you can reach out to them here.

At Annual, the board will spend most of its time discussing how the Board needs to be re-envisioned in order to be well-positioned to achieve the work laid out in the new organizational plan. This is a first step in a bigger process of organizational realignment. It makes sense for the Board to get its own house in order before looking outward to the rest of YALSA.  The Board will be thinking about what needs to change about its own structure and processes, as well as what knowledge and skills will Board members need to gain in order to best lead YALSA and support its members.

Also on the agenda for Annual

You can stay up to date with all the conversations by following Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights. In addition, there will be follow-up blog posts explaining decisions and board actions once the conference is done.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an awesome association, safe travels and hope to see you in Orlando!

YALSA Board @ Annual 2016 – Board Self-Assessment

#alaannual16 is almost here!  YALSA leaders have been busy preparing for Annual Conference–you can find the agenda and documents here. On Saturday, June 24, at YALSA Board I, the Board will discuss the future of board self-assessments. Not sure what a board self-assessment is? Take a look at the Board Document–the currently approved Self-Assessment starts on Page 2.  The objective of board self-assessment is to help board members build a stronger understanding of their roles and responsibilities and to gain skills to increase their effectiveness as leaders in association governance.  Often, the feedback received from first-year board members is that they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  The self-assessment was intended to give new board members a focus for their professional development throughout the year. Then, after new board members take the self-assessment, they complete the Learning Plan (found on Page 12 of the Board Document) to map out activities to strengthen their role in association leadership.

The Board hasn’t used the Self-Assessment and Learning Plan in a few years, but after attending ASAE’s Symposium for Chief Executive & Chief Elected Officers with YALSA’s Executive Director Beth Yoke earlier this year, I understand the importance of reinstating the process.  I’m a firm believer in using assessment results to instigate positive institutional change, so I wanted to bring this document to the Board. At the meeting, Board members will discuss the Questions to Consider (listed in the Board Document) and determine the next steps.  I’m looking forward to the discussion! And don’t forget that you are welcome to attend any of the YALSA Board meetings at conference–find out all the details at the YALSA wiki.

Week of Making: Budget Friendly Technology for YA Programming

Today’s teens, as many know, are more about interacting and being hands-on at the local library than ever before. A major reason for this is due to advances in technology, which has assisted in helping the local library evolve into a better, more interactive place for our customers. There are many amazing resources for teen programming, when it comes to technology, but some of these can be expensive. Now that it is the time when we are at the end of our budget year, I have researched budget friendly STEM and technology ideas that are great for programming. Some great YALSA resources are Making in the Library Toolkit and YALSA’s STEM Wiki.

In the past, my department has done a few STEM programs for teens that were extremely cheap and/or free. The first program that we held was when we used virtual reality (VR) cardboard glasses, so teens could participate in VR worlds. VR cardboard glasses are fairly cheap, running from $4 – $15, depending on the brand. We used both the Google branded ones and a set from Light in the Box.

VR cardboard glasses

Courtesy: Paste Magazine

The best part about this program? Teens just need to bring in a smartphone and download free apps. I have done a little research and made a list VR Cardboard Apps but the teens that came to the programs found a lot of new ones as well. There are some apps you can purchase, but library staff and teens utilized free ones.  Continue reading

YALSA Board @ Annual 2016: Communicating Change

Extra! Extra!You have been hearing about the new organizational plan for months and that is not by accident or happenstance. When the YALSA Board began working on the new organizational plan, we made a commitment to emphasize communicating that work out to YALSA members and stakeholders. In every step along the way, the Board has been carefully and intentionally planning the ways we can best reach members to ask, inform and engage them around the new plan.

As we reach the last step of the organizational planning process (not to be mistaken with the last step of the plan itself, we still have a long way to go!), we wanted to look back on the past few months and evaluate the ways we have reached out to members. Here are few highlights of what Board members and YALSA staff have done to spread the word about the new organizational plan.

  • 11 blog posts from Board members and YALSA Blog contributors with over 800 cumulative views
  • Over 1,000 unique page views on the organizational plan website
  • Mentions in YALS President’s Column, Editor’s Column and special highlights article from President-Elect, Sarah Hill, in the Spring issue
  • Engaging in conversations with stakeholders and committee chairs (95% of chairs surveyed were familiar with the plan by mid-May)
  • Too many social media posts to count!

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Rethinking YALSA: Learning Agenda

On April 27, 2016, the YALSA Board adopted a 3-year organization plan for 2016-2018. If you haven’t had a chance to look at this document, I would highly recommend that you take some time to read about the future direction for YALSA as a division. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of how YALSA is evolving based on its report, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call for Action. As part of the organization plan, the Board discussed the Theory of Change and its influence over this plan, an intended impact statement, three major priorities of the plan, and finally, the learning agenda.

In this blog post, I will delve a little bit deeper into the learning agenda and highlight some areas of this section within the organization plan that particularly interested me. The different elements of this plan will involve YALSA researching further into areas that are otherwise unknown or new to the division. In order to achieve the goals of the plan, YALSA board, staff, and volunteers will need to take more time to research the priority areas laid out in the plan. These areas include leading the transformation of teen library services, advocacy, and funder and partner development. Each of these areas is critical for determining the success of the plan.   

Learning is an on-going process that can be approached in many different ways. This learning agenda highlights three: “on the job” learning, using the wealth of existing knowledge of YALSA members and library staff, and continuing education. All three of these approaches help support the learning that is necessary for the three priority areas of the organization plan. The learning agenda is an impressive step in the right direction for YALSA. A plan of this magnitude cannot succeed with constant learning and research by the division. By incorporating a learning agenda into the organization plan, YALSA is demonstrating the importance of education and research to the division.

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