Putting Teens First in Library Services: An Interview with Ryan Moniz

Shannon Peterson and Linda Braun talk with Ryan Moniz, community librarian at the Markham Library. Ryan talks about how he and his colleagues engage with youth and community to design responsive and flexible programs and services.

You can learn more about Ryan’s work in the YALSA webinar, No Hammer Required: Overcoming Barriers Between Teens and Library staff. Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap is available for purchase in the ALA store.

YALSA Seeks Member Manager for Teen Programming HQ

A huge thank you goes out to Angela Veizaga for all her great work the past year as member manager of the HQ. Thanks, Angela!

YALSA is seeking a Member Manager for its programming web site, Teen Programming HQ for a one year term starting January 1, 2018. Apply by November 15.

The mission of the site is to provide a one-stop-shop for finding and sharing information about library programs of all kinds for and with teens. The site promotes best practices in programming by featuring user-submitted programs that align with YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines,  Futures Report and Mission Statement. Additionally, the site enables members and the library community to connect with one another to support and display their efforts to continuously improve their teen programs.

The Member Manager will work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist to ensure the site is relevant, interactive, engaging and meeting member needs for information about innovation in teen programming, as well as participates in the maintenance of the site and work within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Member Manager drives the recruitment of experts and the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; obtains, analyzes and uses member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing; and ensures programming related activities, news and resources from YALSA are integrated in the site, and vice versa.

List of Qualifications for the Member Manager:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  5. Experience in web site maintenance
  6. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  7. Knowledge of best practices in teen programming, as outlined in YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines, Futures Report, and Mission Statement
  8. Ability to work well in a team environment
  9. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Skype, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  10. Membership in YALSA and a passion for YALSA’s mission
  11. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

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What is Youth Voice?

On October 19 at 2PM Eastern YALSA’s webinar will be on the topic of youth voice. Juan Rubio, author of the chapter “Working Together: Youth-Adult Partnerships to Enhance Youth Voice,” in YALSA’s book, Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap, will facilitate the session. This will be a highly participatory webinar that will include time for talking about challenges and opportunities that youth voice brings to teen library services. Participants will hear about real-life examples of youth voice in libraries and get to brainstorm ways to bring it to their own institutions.

Quotes from Rubio’s Putting Teens First chapter provide a good idea of what will be covered in the webinar:

Unless learning institutions such as libraries begin to incorporate youth voice
as an integral part of their offerings, youth, and especially minority youth, will continue consuming and producing media that frequently has nothing to do with how they conceive of their world and their community.

The best way to achieve outcomes that incorporate a strong youth voice component are library programs that take place through a series of workshops where teens and adults come together for several sessions. Meaningful social bonds are more likely to develop if young people are engaged in a series taking place over longer periods of time. When this occurs, teens develop affinity with the adult facilitator(s) and with the institution as a whole. Creating an opportunity to connect in these ways provides youth with an implicit incentive to be part of the program and to fully engage, which will enable a richer and more productive experience.

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Speak Up for Teens!

Two great opportunities are on the horizon for advocates for teens.

ALA Policy Corps

ALA President Jim Neal has launched a new initiative that is committed to building a small and passionate crew of library advocates. The 10 to 12 ALA members selected for this impactful group will become experts in explaining the importance of libraries to colleagues, legislators, funders and influencers. Policy Corps members will be provided specialized training in speaking to these constituents and will be coached into becoming advocacy experts.

This is an amazing opportunity to highlight how libraries help teens overcome the challenges they face! Check out ALA’s website to learn more about the qualities of an ideal candidate and apply by November 3.

District Days Taskforce

The District Days Taskforce is seeking member volunteers for work April-September 2018. If you are interested in advocacy and want to be a leader without having to travel, please volunteer for the District Days Taskforce.

District Days is YALSA’s August initiative to encourage members to advocate for and with teens through local engagement with elected officials (including members of Congress who are on recess). Studies show that in-person meetings with informed constituents can have a huge impact on legislative decisions. Help provide YALSA members with the statistics, resources, training, tools and best practices they need to build relationships with elected officials around the critical role libraries play in supporting successful teens.

Learn more and volunteer by December 1!

Bringing the BFYA Teen Feedback Session to Kansas City

For any YALSA member, the Teen Feedback Session of Best Fiction for Young Adults is a highlight of attending ALA’s Annual Conference or Midwinter Meeting. It isn’t just getting the feedback on what titles teens liked from this year’s publishing cycle…but seeing teens up at the mic, sharing their thoughts with marketers, editors, agents and library staff. It’s empowering and reminds us why we do what we do. After experiencing the Midwinter 2017 BFYA Teen Feedback Session, we began to think about how we could get our teens to the conference at Annual.

Chicago and Denver are the closest ALA’s conference ever comes to Kansas City (although KC is a large city, we don’t have the conference facilities to host ALA)  That means our teens will never have the chance to experience and reap the benefits of  the BFYA Teen Feedback Session. They will never have the awesome power of addressing the committee and a room of library staff and publishers. And on a late spring day in Kansas City…we decided to change that.

Three YALSA members from two library systems – Amanda Barnhart from Kansas City Public Library (MO), and Peggy Hendershot and Kate McNair from Johnson County Library (KS) – came together to talk about the BFYA Teen Feedback Session. Our grand idea was to figure out a way to take teens to Chicago and get them on the mic…but soon learned that there are ample teens in Chicago waiting their turn and we wouldn’t steal their moment to speak up. We still wanted to empower our teens and give them the opportunity to speak out and be heard, so we went back to the drawing table and came up with an idea that would impact more teens than we could have fit into a van on a roadtrip to Chicago…

Talk Book To Me was born. In line with YALSA’s Futures Report goal of designing programs with teens’ passions and interests at the heart that are strongly connected to academic and career achievement, we identified four goals for the program. 1) Give teens the tools to analyze a book and express their thoughts in the form of a review. 2) Amplify their voices to BFYA committee members, editors, agents and library staff. 3) Unlock opportunities for teens to build a portfolio of accomplishments.

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TRW 2017: Unleashing Teen Stories through Community Engagement

Teen Read Week 2017 has begun! This year’s theme, Unleash Your Story, centers around the power of the story and how they can be used to communicate identity, discover the world, and share personal experiences. During this week, our goal as library staff is to encourage teens to tell their own stories and find the stories of others. Whether that’s hosting programs that center around creative writing, providing reader’s advisory, or hosting an author visit, this initiative can also give you the opportunity to encourage teen participation in the stories of their communities through activism and involvement.

Each and every one of your library’s teens has a story that affects their view of the world and their place in it. Right now, our political climate is rife with division and uncertainty and teens want to speak out about the issues and causes that matter to them, but many may not have the resources or skills to take action. As library staff, we have the privilege of serving as a connector between these teen voices and the communities that they belong to. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, President of YALSA, has laid out her presidential theme for the 2017-2018 year that will help empower library professionals aid teens in finding their voices and develop the competencies needed to become potential community builders and activists. This theme, Youth Activism through Community Engagement, is the perfect springboard for this year’s Teen Read Week theme because they both involve highlighting the voices and stories of our youth and sending these voices out into the world to make a difference.

The next step forward is determining how to become that connector between teen voices and their communities. Right from the start, we should strive to listen to our teens and observe them using the library space. Teens are the experts when it comes to the issues facing them and by interacting with them in your teen space or reference desk, you will quickly realize what they are concerned with or passionate about. Last year, our library hosted several Open Mic Nights for teens; at first, many simply covered their favorite songs or performed dance routines that they had seen in music videos. However, as the program progressed, they started to open up and began performing original poetry or improvising on the spot. Many of their performances discussed struggling with bullying, being victims of homophobia, and poverty. Not only was it incredibly moving, but it reminded me as community participant, that teens need a space to simply share their stories with their peers. The act of speaking and being heard was a powerful yet simple way to empower teens and reinforce positive peer interaction with others in their immediate community.

If teens are concerned with issues on a more national level, connect them to resources that can help them address it. In my library’s local community, we have a high number of Latino families that are uncertain about their futures what with the recent news about the Trump administration’s plan for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students and what that means for their families. Our goal has been to encourage not only Latino teens, but teens from all backgrounds, to become literate in the rights and struggles that others are facing. During Teen Read Week, reader’s advisory can be a powerful tool that connects teens to voices outside of their own experiences and perspectives. If you need some titles to keep handy, YALSA’s The Hub blog recently featured a great booklist that highlights teen activism. On a programming level, provide teens with resources that lead them to data about immigrant issues and help them start a social media campaign targeting to students in their schools and community to raise awareness. When teens have the facts to back up their voices, they can be empowered to take their stories out to their community at large and begin their journey towards becoming a powerful community builder!

For more information on how to host a successful Teen Read Week at your library, check out YALSA’s ning page for outreach resources, program planning, and more. If you need inspiration on how to encourage teens to unleash their stories this week, check out the Teen Programming HQ to see how other libraries are engaging in this year’s theme. Do you have a program or outreach initiative that you are excited about? Share it with YALSA members on the Teen Programming HQ site! Finally, let everyone know what you are doing for Teen Read Week on social media by using @yalsa and #TRW17.

YALSA Executive Committee & Board Work Virtually

Hello, YALSA Colleagues-

Did you know that the YALSA Executive Committee and the Board work year round?  We do! Virtually – just like many of YALSA’s committees and taskforces.

As part of YALSA’s new organizational plan we decided to hold our Fall Quarterly Executive Committee meeting virtually. This shift allowed us to save money & time (both for YALSA and for individual executive committee members) and to take advantage of 21st Century technologies. At our September 25th meeting, we discussed YALSA finances and building stronger relationships with ALA offices and divisions.

The YALSA Board also works virtually. This allows us to continue our work throughout the year and to be able to address topics that impact teens and our members in a more timely and efficient manner. To see what we’ve been discussing since Annual, take a look at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents. Here you will see the items we have discussed or acted on so far this Fall, including items related to the ALA Executive Director Search and Advancing Diversity within YALSA, one component of our organizational plan.

If you have questions about the work of the Executive Committee or the Board please leave them in the comments! Or send them directly to me.

Thanks for all you do for YALSA and for teens!

Best,
Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018
@Bridge2Lit

YALSA President’s Report – September 2017

Colleagues-

Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to this month as YALSA president.

Accomplishments

  • Appointed Amanda Barnhart to be YALSA’s ALA liaison to various ALA groups and committees
  • Reached out to YALSA members in Puerto Rico and Houston who were impacted by recent hurricanes
  • Communicated with YALSA leaders, chairs, members, and ALSC & AASL presidents
  • Prepared and lead YALSA Executive Committee meeting
  • Lead Joint AASL/ALSC/YALA Executive Committee meeting
  • Prepared for October Board chat and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Media and Outreach

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in Aug. = $1,631
  • Member stats for Aug. = 4,765 (down 4.2% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

Thank You!

  • To the members of the YALSA Nominating Governance committee (Sarah Sogigian, Vicki Emery, Jennifer Korn, Candace Mack, & Abigail Philips) for developing the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To the YALSA members who have agreed to be on the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

Ready to Code Update

In June 2017, the American Library Association (ALA) announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of school and public libraries to develop resources to help get U.S. libraries “Ready To Code”. Libraries Ready to Code is an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure expert library professionals are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. The educational toolkit will consist of computer science resources that libraries find most useful for designing and implementing youth computer science programming. YALSA is administering the program on behalf of ALA. A committee comprised of nine members from AASL, ALSC, OITP and YALSA are currently working toward selecting 50 libraries, out of the 396 that have applied, to receive funding. The selected libraries will be announced in late October. If you want to promote CS and CT in your library you can access the available resources and library case studies.

Are You Ready for Teen Read Week?

Teen Read Week starts next week, but don’t panic! If you need some inspiration for programs, visit the 2017 TRW Pinterest board. There is even more information available at http://teenreadweek.ning.com/. If you haven’t downloaded the Teen Read Week Manual, it is still available.

Let everyone know what you are doing for Teen Read Week on social media by using @yalsa and #TRW17

Stay calm, and have a great 2017 Teen Read Week!