When 3rd Place is Good. Empowering Students in the Library.

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third_place

This photo, “First place, second place, third place” is copyright (c) 2009 Joe McCarthy/ gumption and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

One reason I love my high school  library job is that I don’t have to tell people what to do all day.  Sure, I’m always checking passes, giving instructions and directions, or pointing the way to obtain the desired outcome.  But, when a teen walks through the doors of our school library the decision about what to do next is totally up to them.  It is so unlike walking into a classroom where the next 90 minutes are highly structured and choices are circumscribed.  The ability to provide an intellectually stimulating environment where teens get to make the choice of what to do next is empowering for our young people and deserves to be protected.

The high school library is one of the few places where students are given decision-making power.  Sure, it is the decision-making power over their own actions, but, that is where empowerment starts.  When they walk through that library door, decisions await.  Where to sit, computer or table?  Do they need to work, or socialize a bit?  Should they listen to music while they work independently, or work with a group of classmates? Do they want to work with a group of our coders on the 3D printer or lounge in a comfy chair and read a magazine?  Perhaps they stayed up late studying last night and just need to take a nap. The library is one of the few places on the high school campus where students can be self-directed. Continue reading

President’s Report – July and August 2014

Greetings YALSA members! I hope all your back to school activities have gone well, and that you’re enjoying busy libraries and packed programs. I’m sending along a combined July / August President’s report this time around, but will be back to monthly reports after this.
Activities:

  • Attended ALA inauguration brunch following Annual 2014 closing Session
  • Conducted board orientation session for new board members
  • Conducted Board Development conversation regarding activities and duties of board standing committees
  • Finished appointments to 2016 Printz, Edwards, and Non-fiction committees
  • With executive Director, identified YALSA members to serve as liaisons or representatives to ALA Committees and Affiliate groups.
  • With YALSA Board, nominated YALSA representative for IFLA

Outreach and Media:

  • Spoke with Booklist, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes about YA literature and genre trends.
  • Presented Future of Library services for and with Teens to Suffolk Cooperative Library System administrators .

Thank yous:

  • Thanks to all the chairs, committee members, and board members who completed their terms on June 30th, 2014.
  • Thanks to all the members who attended the “Deciding” what’s next for YALSA” program at ALA Annual and provided feedback to help shape the next strategic plan.
  • An enormous thanks to Dollar General for funding the new Android Teen Book Finder app and additional literacy projects. See a video of the projects here.

Statistics:

  • At the end of July, YALSA membership was at 5,130, up 0.9% over July 2013.
  • In June, YALSA raised $7,306.50. In July, YALSA raised $180.

Upcoming events

App of the Week: Touch Van Gogh

Touch Van GoghName: Touch Van Gogh
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

Previously, Yours, Vincent has been featured as an App of the Week, but now the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has released another, equally impressive app devoted to Van Gogh’s work. Called Touch Van Gogh, this app gives users the ability to fully explore eight of Van Gogh’s famous pieces: The Cottage, View from Theo’s Apartment, The Bedroom, Seascape at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Garden of the Asylum, and Daubigny’s Garden.

For each of the images, users are encouraged to “touch” the image to learn more about it, whether this means rubbing the image to unearth more information about damage the painting had sustained, revealing side-by-side comparisons of the original color of the paint, viewing X-rays of other paintings hidden on the canvas, or even exploring the back of the canvas to see parts of the painting that are normally hidden away. In all instances, the images are gorgeous and offer the next best thing to a trip to Amsterdam to visit the paintings in person.

The app has been around for some time, even winning the 2014 Heritage In Motion Award, but recently the number of paintings included in the app was doubled, so even those who have already explored it will want to take another look. You can see the app in action in the video below:

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s App of the Week Archive.

Strategic Planning: Member Survey Closes Tomorrow

As you’ve no doubt heard, YALSA is currently conducting a survey to get member input on the next strategic plan. If you want to share your opinions with the Strategic Planning Task Force and YALSA’s Board of Directors, now is the time! Tomorrow (Wednesday, September 17) is the last day to fill out the 2014 member survey.

We can’t develop a strong strategic plan without hearing from as much of our membership as possible. Help YALSA help you by completing the survey online today. If you’ve already filled it out, take a moment to remind your YALSA peers to follow your awesome example by sharing the link with your network via email or social media.

And don’t forget, if you choose, you can enter your email address at the end of the survey for a chance to win a free teens and technology training kit (a $199 value).

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

The YALSA Strategic Planning Task Force

Let it Go…the End of a Partnership

Creating and sustaining a partnership between your library and another community organization can be a feather in your professional cap; both the entities meet their goals, you get to shine in the eyes of administrators, and future possibilities seem endless.  Then…Something changes.  Communication fades.  The project that went so smoothly one week/month/year ago seems to suddenly be covered in obstacles.  Cue hair-tearing and a bevy of emotions connected to what we think should be happening.  Should I have written more email?  Less email?  Should I have set different goals?  Should I just wait and see if things get better?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, guilt or fear of failure needn’t keep you from an eyes-wide-open assessment that could lead to the end of the partnership or project.  Linda Braun’s recent YALSA Blog article on how to fail offers particular insight: “…at the end of the process look at what worked and didn’t work and then decide next steps. What were you looking for in the partnership and did you achieve that – why/why not?”

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Celebrating Teen Read Week at an Urban Independent School

I work as an independent school librarian in Brooklyn, NY. Our school serves grades PK-12 with two separate libraries. We have a PK-4 space and a space for grades 5-12. Our Non-Fiction is integrated with stickers signifying approximate age range. We have three separate fiction sections which are Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult.

As a school librarian, Teen Read Week is often blended into the background but that doesn’t mean it is not celebrated.  In October, we are just getting into the groove of being back at school, the book clubs have just begun gaining momentum and the bulletin boards are in their full display glory.

I often like to keep things on my desk because it sparks student interest. I have lot of tsotchkes that the kids often look at or ask to play around with. In that same vein I often keep signs, displays and bookmarks on my desk. I buy a lot of supplies from the ALA store and make sure to have those out at least a week before. I also buy extra things to give out to my book clubs.

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YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – September 12, 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 September 12 – September 18 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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So You Want to Start a TAB?

At the library I have had a hard time connecting with teens because Youth Services is downstairs, but the YA section is upstairs. My office is located downstairs, where I spend much of my time. To combat this, I have placed a whiteboard/paper pad easel in the area where their books are. This seemed to help. When I asked what they wanted from the library, they said “Water Balloon Fight”. That totally happened as a BYOB (Bring Your Own Balloons). Providing sponges was cheaper and easier to clean up.

Another way to better connect with the teens is by starting a TAB. With our first meeting a success, I think I have made an impact on the teens.

Following basic guidelines for starting a TAB, I was sure to include key phrases when presenting this option. “Meeting with snacks” worked like a charm. Teens are always hungry. I’ve had a few come to my office bragging about how much they can eat. One teen boy says he can eat a whole pizza. Challenge accepted! A total of six teens met for the first meeting. With the promise of pizza next month, I’m sure more will make their way over to the library.

My library is renovating the entire Youth Services area (not including the YA area on the upper level). The area will include a kitchen! The TAB is excited to learn that we will be able to make food when it opens in October. They were more than willing to provide food ideas to the agenda. Some suggested pizza (of course), sushi, and cheesecake (I’ll have to find a quick bake recipe for that one).

Additionally, I’ve requested that the teens be able to volunteer 10 hours per month as a TAB member. This should help with implementing prep for programming, especially in regards to the kitchen. In the agenda, I included a “new ideas” section. One of the new TAB members is interested in teaching Cantonese at our library!! Bonus for her since it counts as volunteer hours.

App of the Week: Hyperlapse

Title: Hyperlapse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

A couple of weeks ago Instragram released its new app, Hyperlapse. What does Hyperlapse do? It enables users to shoot time-lapse videos. And, while you might have other apps on your iDevices that already do that, Hyperlapse has the added benefit of a stabalizer so that hand-held time-lapse creations actually look pretty good. Take a look at the video below to get some idea of what I mean.

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Don’t Forget About Art

Ballerino

Ballerino. Photo from flickr user Scooter Lowrimore via Creative Commons license

The other night I dropped my son off for his first dance class. It was heart warming to see him so fully engaged in something new, a positive activity that will undoubtedly help him build self-confidence and an appreciation of art. I had a fun reminder of his enthusiasm for the performing arts this morning when I saw a post by the Teen Librarian Toolbox about books for dance lovers, and I made a connection between my experience as a parent and what we do as librarians. The TLT blog author points out that we shouldn’t forget the arts in the mix of all the new STEM projects we host at the library. In fact, I have heard many librarians refer to the acronym STEAM which throws art in the mix, right beside the hot topics in science, technology, engineering and math. As you build your programs for this fall and winter, don’t forget about art. Continue reading