Instagram of the Week – September 29

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we explore posts that serve to educate and excite patrons about about a few of those important annual library themes — Banned Books Week (September 21-27), Library Card Sign-Up Month (September), and this year’s teen summer reading theme, Spark A Reaction. While there is no shortage of summer reading posts to be found, the posts below spotlight teens in action or showcase a unique reading motivator. Would you eat crickets if your teens outread you?

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – September 26

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between September 26 – October 2 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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Using Technology to Help At-Risk Teens

Public libraries are, as ALA President Courtney Young said in a July 2014 Comcast Newsmaker interview, “digital learning centers.”  We are able to provide access to computers, wireless capabilities, and also a space to learn. Access to technology becomes even more important to our “at-risk” teens; the library becomes a safe spot to use these resources. The question becomes how do we help them use this technology and learn from it? Earlier this month, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) published a report titled “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning.” This brief defines “at-risk” students as high schoolers with personal and academic factors that would could cause them to fail classes or drop out of school all together. They give three variables for success, real-life examples to why these variables work, and then recommend policies to help achieve these variables. While the article was geared towards schools, these variables are important to keep in mind as we work with the teens in our libraries.

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Getting Ready For Annual 2015 – It’s Never Too Early

The YALSA Local Arrangements Committee is super excited that ALA15 will be in San Francisco. We hope you’re looking forward to coming to the city by the bay and would like to offer some tips on how to make that happen!

First things first: secure your conference registration. If your supervisor needs a gentle nudge to offer support, ALA has some tips for you.

Additionally, the programs that YALSA sponsors will undoubtedly keep you on the leading edge of your profession. Other perks like free and cheap books, unparalleled networking, and vendor discounts may sway your supervisor. Continue reading

Learning from Teens: Thoughts for Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week is coming up October 12-18, and libraries are encouraged to use the theme “Turn Dreams into Reality” to share our knowledge, resources, services, and collections with teens in an effort to promote reading for fun. As professionals working with teens in the library, each of us curates our own personal collection—in folders and binders, dog-eared books and browser bookmarks, or just in our haphazardly cataloged heads—of resources that guide us in promoting reading. Yet as we inform our patrons about the epic books in our collection, the multiple formats in which they can check out our materials, and the research on the college success of avid readers, let’s not forget that some of our greatest resources are the very subjects of our resource-sharing: the teens themselves.

It’s an easy thing to forget since, as library professionals, we like to think of ourselves as the experts. In many things, we are. And in some, we aren’t. You know that book that won dozens of awards but you just can’t get any teens to pick up? How about the poorly-written piece of fluff that they can’t get enough of? In the end, we can only guess at what will go over well. Each person has his or her own individual taste, but more often than not, teens’ tastes will be more similar to one another’s than adults’ tastes will be to teens’.

Our goal during Teen Read Week is to promote reading for pleasure, and the only way to do that is to help connect teens with books they like. There may be a time and place for encouraging teens to read “healthier” books than the ones they want—that’s up for debate. But this week isn’t that time. If we want teens to learn that reading is fun, we need to think like teens. And while we can’t entirely re-wire our brains (and probably wouldn’t want to, having been through that angsty stage of life once already), many of us are lucky enough to spend enough time around teens that we have easy access to two simple techniques: observe and ask. Continue reading

GLBT Round Table News and Resources

Want to find out what the GLBT Round Table is up to and the latest LGBTQA news in general? Sign up for the new GLBTRT News! It’s easy: go to http://www.glbtrt.ala.org/news , scroll down, and sign up. You’ll get in-depth news stories, learn more about how the GLBT Round Table works, and gain access to great book reviews! You can even contact the GLBT Round Table News Committee and submit news of your own.
Speaking of great LGBTQA resources, why not also check out the newly updated Professional Tools page to access a whole slew of bibliographies and other resources for librarians. Brought to you by the GLBT Round Table Resources Committee.

Developmental relationships: what are they and why should library staff have them with teens?

For years, library staff working with teens have used the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents to demonstrate how library programs and services can contribute to youth becoming successful adults. Other youth-serving organizations also use the language of assets and asset development, so describing library teen services in terms of assets can help align that work with broader community-wide efforts to prepare teens for constructive and fulfilling adult lives.

However, when it comes to the day-to-day interactions individual staff members have with teens, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what assets are being built, and how best to guide staff to be more intentional about fostering positive youth development.

The Search Institute has created a new framework which can help staff internalize practices that contribute to youth success — and benefit adults, too! The Institute defines a developmental relationship as “a close connection between a young person and an adult or between a young person and a peer that powerfully and positively shapes the young person’s identity.” Developmental relationships involve expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities.The complete framework, including 20 specific actions and more background, is available at the Institute’s website.

Sara Ryan for the Administrator Resources Taskforce

App of the Week: The Photo Cookbook

Name:  The Photo Cookbook
Cost:  Free
Platform:  iOS

photo cookbook

As much as I would love to offer cooking programs for teens at my library (other than the Iron Chef/Top Chef/Cupcake War-type snack challenges) I am hampered by two very important things:  the absence of kitchen appliances in our building and a complete lack of culinary ability on my part.  Thankfully, there are apps like The Photo Cookbook for me to recommend to my future Bobby Flays and Rachael Rays.

The Photo Cookbook app offers 84 recipes in four categories —  “Quick & Easy,” “Italian,” “Asian,” and “Baking” — each containing recipes for a variety of tastes and skill levels.

Click on a recipe and you’re met with a minimalist group photo of the ingredients that looks like those you’d find on popular food blogs or in your Pinterest feed, followed by a guide to how the recipe will look at each step along the way.   Continue reading

Instagram of the Week – September 22

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we explore “theme of the day” posts, contests, and good old #libraryshelfies.

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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YALSA Board Fellow Program

My term as YALSA Board Fellow began on the last day of ALA conference 2014 when I, among others, was officially welcomed on the board. It was a hot and humid day in Las Vegas, yet a happy one filled with conference goers walking briskly to their desired programs/meetings, going back to their hotel with stacks of books, or preparing to head back home.

Since then, I’ve met with my board assigned mentor to brainstorm project ideas and get feedback on board ethics, as well as actively participated in board duties that include:

  • Meeting with the committee chairs to which I am a board liaison to discuss their roles and provide initial support towards managing their committees
  • Participating in discussion around the member recruitment standing committee
  • Attending a couple of board related conference calls and meetings
  • Sending personalized welcome greetings to new YALSA members
  • Brainstorming and beginning my diversity related YALSA project

No doubt it all seems like quite a bit of work in just two months. But my experience has already been so great and fulfilling wrapped with lots of support from Executive Director, Beth and the board members.

In addition to grasping new skills and strengthening others, considering YALSA new report Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I’ve been able to contribute my knowledge and time to YALSA’s great mission to “expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18.” I am glad to be a part of this team that make a difference in the lives of teens everywhere via impactful decisions that give YA services professionals the tools and resources to help teens access college information, access to technology, written resources, recreational activities, safe library environments, among other things.

I am so grateful to have been selected as the Board Fellow this year and plan to continue to use my time to advocate for teens through YALSA.

The new application period is underway and closes on December 1st. Here’s a link to the application http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsa_fellows_program, and I’m very happy to answer any questions you may have about YALSA or the Board Fellow program. Feel free to email me at nicolamcdonaldwriter@gmail.com and follow @YALSA and me @nicolalmcdonald on Twitter for the latest YALSA updates.

I hope you’ll consider applying for this great opportunity!