Back to School: The Future of Library Service for and with Teens

Welcome to August and the first in a series of YALSAblog posts all about getting ready for the new school year.

forum logoI don’t think there is a better way to get started thinking about going back to school then to check-in with YALSAblog readers about how you are implementing the ideas in the Future of Library Service for and with Teens: A Call to Action report published by YALSA in January of this year.

Thinking about the fall and the programs and services we’ll work on with and for teens during the school year is a great time to learn about what others are doing that connect to the ideas in YALSA’s report. At the YALSAblog we’d love to hear what you have made happen that connect to what’s outlined in the report. For example: Continue reading

YALSAblog Tweets of the Week: August 1, 2014

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 August 1 and August 7 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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YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Award & Selection Committees! Volunteer Form Deadline is October 1st!

Happy Summer! Hope you are all surviving and thriving as your summer reading programs come to an end this year. Don’t forget to look toward autumn, as YALSA’s Fall Appointments season approaches!

As President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a volunteer form by Oct. 1st. If you are appointed, service will begin on February 1, 2015.
  • For those who want to serve another year: If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (this is so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term).
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time: www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/participate
  • Questions: Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at candice (dot) yalsa at gmail (dot) com

Thanks for all the time and talent you share with YALSA!

District Days

Are you ready for a late summer tradition? It’s not the end of SRP or back to school shopping, it’s District Days. Not quite sure what District Days are or need a refresher?

District Days are when congressional representatives return home to their districts on recess. The recess this year is from August 2-September 7. It is during this time that representatives will have office hours at their local offices, attend town hall meetings, and meet with constituents to speak with them about their issues and concerns.

This is a great opportunity for you to advocate for libraries and teens! You can demonstrate to your representatives why libraries are a valuable asset to their constituents and communities. District Days provide you the ability to let your voice as a librarian be heard before the representatives head back to Washington, D.C.

Not sure what to do or how to get started? The Legislation Committee will be providing you with some ideas and tips throughout District Days. However, a great place to start is with the District Days wiki.

Need to find out who your congressional representative is for your district? Or where their local office is in the district? There’s an app for that or check out this website.

Some things to keep in mind, as you start to prepare for District Days.

  1. Keep it simple. You don’t have to create an event just for your congressional representative to attend. Invite them to a teen program, such as a summer reading wrap up party.
  2. Include the event details. Date, time, location, and type of event plus estimated attendance and who will be attending the event.
  3. Provide information about your library. Key statistics, demographics, etc. but keep it concise.
  4. Make sure to publicize the event! Send information to local news outlets along with using social media.
  5. Follow up after the invitation is sent. Call them a week after it’s sent, if you haven’t heard back from them.
  6. They can’t make it, then try going to them. Contact their local office to schedule an appointment, while they are at home in their district.
  7. Send a thank you note. Once the event is over, don’t forget to thank your representative for taking the time to visit your library!

Staci Terrell is the Teen Services Librarian for the Anderson Public Library in Anderson, IN.   She currently serves as the Chair for the Children’s and Young People’s Division of the Indiana Library Federation.  Staci is also the Chair of the YALSA Legislation and is a member of the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults selection committee.

App of the Week: Leafsnap

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Name: Leafsnap
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

Leafsnap has languished for years on my phone. The app represents the sort of big audacious online project that we as librarians need to know about. Merging geographic location with image recognition, it combines reports from the field to produce an interactive electronic guide.

For the end user, Leafsnap is designed to make a “best guess” about the species of a plant, based on an image of a leaf you upload or input through the camera. I hadn’t been able to use it before last week. It’s limitation? Spearheaded by the Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, Leafsnap is crowd-sourced, and a caveat warns that the database best reflects the northeasten U.S. for the time being (though there is a U.K. version, too). When I heard someone speculating about the name of a specific tree while I was in Massachusetts, I was happy to put the tool to work.
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Photobooth Program

Planning programs that will appeal to 12-14 year olds is really, really hard for me.  This is the age where kids start to get busy, where they start having to balance school and extracurriculars with other things: like library time.  If I’m being totally honest, this is where I start losing them.

So this summer, my amazing staff came up with an incredible program that all of my teens loved–especially that middle school demographic: an in-library photo booth.  If your tweens and teens are anything like mine, they’re glued to their smartphones with Instagram and Snapchat constantly open.  This program just gave them an opportunity to have some fun with their photos. We asked them to tag their pictures with the hashtag we usually use for our library stuff, and then let them loose on these fun props:

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It could not have been more fun! It was so simple–we made the props from paper and lollipop sticks, which you can get at any craft store. We didn’t have time to make a booth, so we just put up a crepe paper background. We printed out clip art, used scrapbook paper, and there were even some superhero masks that everyone loved. It was a hit beyond anything we could have imagined, and we’ll definitely be doing this one again (we laminated the props for easy reuse).  The kids loved not only the fact that it was fun, but also the freedom that they had to personalize it and own their pictures the way they wanted to. I’ve been having a lot of success in programs for tweens that aren’t overscheduled, that allow them to enjoy some of the freedom that’s starting to come with their age.

Have you tried anything similar at your library?

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Our cross-poster from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

The Summer Life of a School Librarian

While many of my public library colleagues are in the midst of their busiest season, I’ve only stepped in my library once since the school year ended (and even then I promptly stepped back out, since the library has no air conditioning). Summers “off” are one of the biggest perks to working in a school, but as any teacher will tell you it’s not all piña coladas and sunscreen. For many of us, summers are the only time we can do vital professional development, including summer courses; for others, summer is a time to pick up another job to make ends meet.

So what does summer look like for this school librarian?  Continue reading

YALSAblog Tweets of the Week: July 25, 2014

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 July 25 and July 31 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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App of the Week: Loop

Title:  Loop
Cost:  $0.99
Platform:  iOS

As a teen, most of my notebooks were full of stick-figure flip animations performing stunts on the page edges.   Loop is the digital equivalent of those over-doodled notebooks, allowing users to create hand-drawn, animated loops that can be exported as GIFs.

The app’s interface gives much of its screen space to a whiteboard-like drawing area with a grid of tools permanently situated at the lower edge.

Loop pic 1
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