Why You should Care about the FCC’s Attack on Net Neutrality

In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after an outpouring of support from the public, put in place strict regulations to make sure  internet service providers (ISPs) could not do things like create fast lanes, or “throttle” online traffic.  They preserved an open internet where all traffic is treated equally online and where large corporations did not get preferential treatment over individuals or small institutions, like libraries or schools.  The American Library Association (ALA) has long been a supporter of net neutrality–keeping the Internet open and free to everyone–and has issued several statements on the topic.  Net neutrality aligns closely with libraries’ core value of providing free and open access to information for everyone.  You can learn more and keep up to date on developments from their District Dispatch blog.  This week, the Trump administration proposed rolling back those regulations with an ironically named “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal, and they are now accepting public comments about the proposal.  Continue reading

YALS Spring 2017 Resources – The Library’s Role in Protecting Teens’ Privacy

In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Mary K. Chelton’s recently accepted position paper describes the library’s role in protecting teens’ privacy. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

  1. Project Censored, “The Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016.” Intellectual Freedom News, (November 28, 2016) http://projectcensored.org/14-fbis-new-plan-spy-high-school-students-across-country/
  2. Office of Partner Engagement. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools. (January, 2016) https://info.publicintelligence.net/FBI-PreventingExtremismSchools.pdf.
  3. Homeland Security Committee. Final Report of the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel. (September, 2015) https://homeland.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/TaskForceFinalReport.pdf
  4. American Association of School Librarians. Standards for the 21st Century Learner http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/learning.
  5. Tucker, William and Amelia Vance, “School Surveillance: The Consequences for Equity and Privacy” Education Leaders Report Vol. 2, No. 4, (October, 2016) http://www.nasbe.org/education-leader/school-surveillance-the-consequences-for-equity-and-privacy/
  6. Hackman, Rose, “Is the Online Surveillance of Teenagers the New Stop and Frisk?” The Guardian (April 23, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/23/online-surveillance-black-teenagers-new-stop-and-frisk
  7. Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Adopted June 19, 2002, by the ALA Council; amended on July 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/privacy
  8. Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Adopted July 2, 1986, by the ALA Council; amended January 10, 1990; July 12, 2000; January 19, 2005; July 2, 2008; and July 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/accessresources
  9. Minors and Internet Activity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of RightsAdopted July 15, 2009, by the ALA Council%3B amended on July 1, 2014http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/minors-internet-activity
  10. “Social Responsibility,” in Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/core-professional-values-teen-services-profession

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YALS Spring 2017 Resources – Creating a Unique Brand for Your School Library

In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Kelsey Barker’s article on creating a unique brand for your school library explains why a brand is an important part of advocacy. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

“What Is Advocacy?” American Association of School Librarians. December 15, 2015. Accessed February 04, 2017. http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/definitions.

Young Adult Library Services Association,. 2017. YALSA Advocacy Toolkit 2017. PDF. Young Adult Library Services. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/2017%20Advocacy%20Toolkit.pdf.

YALS Spring 2017 Companion: Answering the Call for Middle School College and Career Readiness: YALS “Future Ready”

Laura Pitts, a librarian from The Scottsboro, Arizona Public Library shares how “rural, small, and tribal libraries are helping middle schoolers with college and career readiness” through YALSA’s first cohort of Future Ready with the Library funded by IMLS. The program’s mission is to “develop a way, through partnerships with community organizations or educational outlets, to address the issue of college and career readiness initiatives among middle school students.”

In her YALS article, Pitts mentions that “the workforce is moving towards 21st Century skills set that prides itself on encouraging students to look at various career, vocational, and educational opportunities that may be available to them in their own backyard.” Although working in the Future Ready program would be a great opportunity for any library, there are still many things a library can do to help middle schoolers on their own. Part of Pitt’s article discusses how it is important to work with your community, and this is extremely important. Libraries can reach out to local businesses and provide a Career Day program specific for middle school preteens. Preteens could come to their local library and meet local business owners, and learn about their career pathways, and what they do at their job.

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Contact your Senator to Support Library Funding

Last month library supporters were called on to contact their Rep in the House.  Now it’s the Senate’s turn!  Please email, Tweet and/or call the offices of your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on to the “dear appropriator” letters for two critical pieces of library funding: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).  Please share this widely and encourage your colleagues, coworkers, friends and family to contact the offices of their Senators as well.  This is an extremely tough budget year, and without huge grassroots support (i.e. thousands of voters contacting Congress), the nation’s libraries will lose this critical funding.  The deadline to sign the letter is May 19.

  • Go here to contact your Senators’ offices: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home –ready to use messages are waiting for you!
  • Check up on your Senators after you contact them.  Use ALA’s easy tracking tool  to find out if your Senators signed the letters.  Then thank them if they did, or contact them again if they haven’t yet done so.
  • To learn more about the issue, read this ALA blog post.

Thank you for all that you do to support teens and libraries and don’t forget we have everything you need to be a part of National Library Legislative Day, May 2, on the wiki as well as 10 other ways you can take action right now to support libraries!

-Beth Yoke

P.S. If you’ve been trying by phone to reach your Senator and the lines are busy, try Resistbot instead

YALSA Board: Organization & Bylaws Committee Update

For a while now, the YALSA Board has been looking at the new Organizational plan and considering ways to move forward and best serve our members. One change that we have decided to implement is standardizing the way that members come to serve on Awards Committees. Historically, the Alex, Morris, and Odyssey committee members have been appointed to committees, while the Edwards, Printz, and Nonfiction members have been varied–some members were appointed while other were elected by YALSA members.

After a vote by YALSA membership, the change has become official: where Edwards, Printz, and Nonfiction committee members once had multiple paths to follow, now all committee members will be appointed.

What these changes mean:

  • There is now only one path to the award committees. Each member will now go through the same appointments process at the same time
  • There is no longer any need for an Awards Nominating Committee as well as the second round of appointments that now happens after the election is over
  • There will hopefully be less eligibility issues, because oftentimes members put their name forward both through the nominating committee process and via the Committee Volunteer form. In the past, the nominating committee has not always known what other award committees the candidate may have signed up for

This change will simplify the process of serving on an awards committee for our members, as well as for members at large.

Another change that the YALSA Board has decided to implement in accordance with our Organizational Plan is the refocusing and renaming of the Governance Nominating Committee to instead become a Board Development Committee. This refocused committee will take on the role of board training and assessment, and will cultivate new leaders in YALSA. This change will also shift the responsibilities of the Executive Committee, allowing them to give more emphasis to ALA relations and fiscal oversight.

The Board Development Committee will begin their work on January 1, 2018, and will be evaluated after a year of work in order to assess the success of these changes.

These changes are meant to make YALSA more aligned with our Organizational Plan, and to make our organization simpler to navigate and more efficient for our members.

Please contact Melissa McBride, Chair of Organization & Bylaws, at mcbride.melissa[@]gmail.com or Sarah Hill, YALSA President, at gsarahthelibrarian[@]gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

Kelsey Socha is a member of the Organization & Bylaws Committee, a SLIS Master’s Candidate at Simmons College, and a librarian at several libraries in the Boston area.

YALS Spring 2017: ADVOCACY: A FOCUS ON PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE

This post is an invitation to check the Research Roundup column in the Spring issue of YALS. The column focuses on advocacy, activism and technology and provides a short overview on three resources and some ideas about how you might integrate the findings and recommendations into your work with youth.

Although I wrote the print column back in January, the column’s topic could not be more relevant. As I have been re-writing this post, both ALA and YALSA’s efforts to create awareness and action about the cuts in funding reveal the different forms that advocacy takes as well as its importance for libraries. At the same time, Congress decided not to pass a set of rules that would give consumers more control over what happens to the data regularly collected by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While the exact consequences of this decision are not yet clear, this setback highlights the many challenges related to internet privacy. Coincidently, also in January, esteemed colleague Dr. Chelton published a Position Paper for YALSA on the protection of teens’ privacy from government surveillance. The paper examined the potential threats of a set of FBI guidelines that recommend the surveillance of Internet use by at-risk students in secondary schools in connection with recruitment by terrorist organizations. Among her suggestions, I would like to highlight the following two:

  • Take advantage of technology that protects library patrons’ privacy
  • Identify and work with community partners who are also committed to protecting teens’ rights

These two suggestions are directly connected to this month’s Research Roundup column and the two projects and the researcher that I invited teen librarians to explore. The two projects I discuss offer a manageable starting point for information professionals; easy for newbies and for those already involved in this type of tech-focused advocacy. Hopefully they will also strengthen teen librarians’ knowledge about privacy protection and data surveillance issues to feel more comfortable creating events and activities for and with teens about these topics.

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Light Up April for National Autism Awareness Month

Every April the nation celebrates National Autism Awareness Month to promote “autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life”1. As teen library staff, we assist teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) whether it’s through reference interactions, programs, and/or volunteer opportunities. If staff has yet to interact with this population, celebrating National Autism Awareness Month is a gateway to connecting with this community. Not only is this an exciting opportunity, we, as teen library staff, are charged with “reach[ing] out to and serve ALL teens in the community no matter what their backgrounds, interests, needs, or abilities, and whether or not they frequent the library space2.

So how exactly do we participate in National Autism Awareness Month?  There is a variety of things we can do to spread awareness and invite teens with ASD into the library!  Here is a simple idea from The Autism Society3 that all libraries can implement as a starting point:

Put on the Puzzle! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture – and educate folks on the potential of people with autism!

By wearing these ribbons, we can make a statement that will not only show support and solidarity for these teens, but start great conversations with patrons who are not familiar with National Autism Awareness Month. Another great way to promote Autism Awareness is to create book displays, pathfinders, ans/or Libguides featuring characters with ASD and nonfiction titles specifically for teens with ASD.  YALSA’s The Hub has a great archive of postings that focus on both fiction and nonfiction titles for teens so definitely take a look at some of those posts. Along with great book displays and a diversified collections, why not get our teen book clubs involved by reading and discussing a book featuring a teen with ASD. Here is a great handout to give to teens to read before the book club in case they have any questions. If possible, work with community partners, or medical experts, to participate in the conversation so they can answer any questions teens may have regarding ASD.

Another great way to bring awareness to ASD is to actually connect with local organizations that provide services to teens with ASD.  By creating these partnerships, not only are we bridging a huge gap in services to this group of teens, we are letting our communities know that we are excited to provide specialized or inclusive programs and services for these teens. When communicating with these organizations, find out what these teens would like to see in the library and discuss these ideas with our Teen Advisory Boards (TAB). By proposing to our TAB that the library would like to provide services to teens with Autism, and we would like their help, we are providing them with the chance to give back to their community in yet another meaningful way. If this is something that your library may not be able to do (just yet), try adapting current programming to include teens with ASD with the help of these organizations.

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Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Expanding Partnerships

I’ve been fortunate to be part of Limitless Libraries, Nashville’s groundbreaking collaboration between school and public libraries, from both the school and public library perspectives.  Students and teachers in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are automatically enrolled in Limitless Libraries, meaning their student and teacher ID numbers are also public library card numbers.  They can access all of Nashville Public Library’s (NPL’s) digital resources, and request physical materials that arrive through school delivery.  Additionally, Limitless Libraries supplements local schools’ library budgets to ensure all MNPS libraries have recent and relevant collections.

Shortly after Limitless Libraries began, a private donor, inspired by the collaborative spirit of the program, donated $1 million through the Nashville Public Library Foundation to renovate two MNPS libraries—one high school and one middle school.  NPL’s funding and renovation experience combined with MNPS’s knowledge of their students and best school library practices to produce welcoming and functional school libraries. As the librarian at the selected middle school, I worked with MNPS and NPL to create a student-centered, flexible-use space to meet the needs of our school.  We surveyed students and teachers to find out what they wanted in their library; their responses became part of the architect’s design.  Students selected the color scheme.  They told us they wanted a place to hang out in comfy chairs.  When the library opened the following school year, students saw how much their input mattered, and how integral they were to the design.  Needless to say, they LOVED it.

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YALS Spring 2017 – Advocacy

Any day now YALSA members and YALS subscribers should find in their mailboxes the latest issue of YALS. (The digital edition is already available on the Members Only section of the YALSA website.) The Spring 2017 theme is Advocacy and includes articles on:

  • Using media literacy to combat youth extremism
  • Supporting teens understanding privacy and surveillance in digital spaces
  • Teaching Hip Hop as a way of life and a means to empower youth
  • Advocating for teens in public libraries
  • Creating a unique brand for your school library
  • The library as a refuge for marginalized youth
  • Moving from passivity to activism
  • Making a case for teens services

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