If you didn't know by now that the City of Roses (Portland, OR) has been named best city in the world for street food, now you do. However, these options will strictly focus on the non-food truck options. That being said, if the street food is good, the eateries without wheels have to be off the hook! Of course they are! Here's a smorgasbord of eats and drinks one can indulge during the #yalsa15 Symposium:

La Panza Cafe is good for breakfast/brunch and dinner, but this option should be reserved for when time can be spared because of possible long waits. According to our peer reviews, this is definitely a spot to experience for “True New Mexico Cuisine”.  The Waffle Window is an option if you are looking for your waffle fix.  The Darkest Desire, The Bee Sting, or The Whole Farm, but if those don’t convince you, then maybe a peanut butter chocolate dipped waffle will.

Considering a lunch pick-up? Call, email or drop by Elephants Delicatessen to pick a sack or box lunch. Add a little swankiness to your dinner and try Bamboo Sushi, because according to Willamette Week, it’s the best sushi in Portland! Or veg out at Veggie Grill. The dining choices in Portland are varied and the options nearly endless.

It’s been noted that Portland is known as Best Beer City in the world. They have a booming craft beer scene with many local breweries and brewpubs.  Not a fan of beer? Then have no fear, because there are plenty of other poisons to choose from. Here are a few mentionable watering holes--one is even referred to as a library: Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library, also known as “whiskey dreamland in beervana” is a great choice.  They even have a Friends of the (Whiskey) Library membership! If you’re thirsty for creative mixology, the Teardrop Lounge should not disappoint you.

There is another thing Portland is well known for: coffee!  Coffee and I go way back, hopefully besties for life. If you have the same connection, try these for your caffeine boost.  If you haven't registered yet for the YA Services Symposium, there's still time!

--Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

P.S. Can't attend this year?  Then mark your calendar for the next YA Services Symposium, which will be Nov. 4 - 6, 2016, in Pittsburgh, PA!


Want to offer more hands-on learning opportunities for and with the teens in your community?  3D Systems Corp., in partnership with YALSA, is giving away up to 250 3D printers to members of YALSA.  Learn more and apply online by Oct. 30th.  Are you not a YALSA/ALA member yet?  Membership starts at $60 per year.  Contact Letitia Smith at lsmith at ala dot org, or 312.280.4390, to get the best rate and to learn about paying in installments.  And don't forget to check out all of the great maker and connected learning resources on YALSA's wiki!

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

On page 8 of YALSA's The Future of Library Services for and with Teens it says, "... in many communities, opportunities for teens to connect to libraries is primarily limited to school-related work and activities. They use school and public libraries for homework and school-related research, but prospects for engagement beyond that are often lacking. This lack of engagement results in fewer opportunities for teens to connect to resources that support their personal independent growth—resources that allow them to explore their passions, connect with others who share their interests, and turn their learning into 'academic achievement, career possibilities, or civic engagement.'”

After a week-long celebration of the freedom to read, it is sobering to think that in many libraries around the country library services for teens is reduced to school-related research, and the freedom to explore interests and have FUN is seen as a burden on staff and library resources. This is often a very real reality for vulnerable teens in communities were access to the internet, technology, and creative space is very limited. WE must keep in mind that we are advocates for teens, and that although school-realted research is important, so is FUN!!! We must continue to be champions for young adults and facilitate spaces that are engaging, inspiring, and serve as incubators for connected learning. How are you facilitating fun in your library? Here are a few of the best examples on Instagram of libraries having pure unadulterated FUN this week! Enjoy!


In this podcast (click through to download or connect to online player), LeeAnna Mills, Former Legislative Chair and Past President of the Alabama School Library Association, librarian at Northside Middle School and District Library Media Coordinator for Tuscaloosa County Schools, discusses how you can use data to reach administrators, school board members, and legislators in support of library services for young people.  And, don't forget to check out YALSA's advocacy resources at www.ala.org/yalsa/advocacy

Wendy Stephens is a member of the YALSA Advocacy Resources Taskforce.

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The President of YALSA, Candice Mack, is focusing her year as President with an initiative, "3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services," which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA's wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian or staff working in teen services providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens. The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

Peggy Simmons is a Library Assistant for the Oakland Public Library at the Elmhurst Branch. The following comes from a phone call with her in August, 2015.

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The Young Adult Services Symposium is not only great for networking, broadening your horizons but as well as meeting great authors! The author I would like to talk a little about is Dhonielle Clayton. Clayton has recently released her first novel, which she wrote with Sona Charaipotra entitled, Tiny Pretty Things. Clayton will also be releasing a fantasy book series, The Belles, in 2016. I am certain that if you are a teen librarian, you have heard the hot topic about needing more diverse teen books. Well, that's where Dhonielle and Sona Charaipotra’s expertise comes in handy. They have cofounded CAKE Literacy. CAKE Literacy is described as a "commitment to creating delicious and diverse concepts for middle grade, teen and women’s fiction readers".

Why CAKE? Well, usually when these two ladies would meet to discuss books and writing, they always had a slice of cake with their discussions. CAKE Literacy came about because they both shared love for the TV series The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars and noticed how there wasn't any diversity in those shows. Come to think of it, nearly all the fantasy genre books I have read, also lack diversity. With that in mind, I agree with Dhonielle and Sona and support CAKE Literacy! If you haven't check out their website, please do! It's visually stimulating. Don’t forget to visit Dhonielle Clayton at the 2015 YA Services Symposium.

The 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium will take place November 6-8, 2015 at the Hilton Portland & Executive tower. Register today!

--Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

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 October 2 and October 9 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

How do students’ research skills turn into love of inquiry?  The answer is HackHealth!  I work in a middle school library with grades six through eight.  Because I serve a population of over 1,000 students, it is challenging to see all of my students on a regular basis.  When I did see them, their research skills were very basic and most of them knew only Google.  Although I love Google myself, I know that there is so much more that goes into research.  How can I teach these skills to students with the limited time that I have with them?

The Beginning

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park came to me with the idea to form a weekly after-school program, HackHealth, to teach students how to research health topics that interest them.  I jumped at the opportunity.  My first step was to recruit students.  There are several very effective ways to do this, but I will focus on the method that I used because it worked so well for me.  I approached my school’s science team.  I told them about the HackHealth program and asked them to recommend students who were interested and would benefit from this program.  I received responses back from almost 20 students who were interested.  We had an initial meeting with approximately 12 interested students where the program was introduced by the UMD researchers.

Implementing the Program

The HackHealth program at my school lasted for 12 weeks.  During the first session, I talked with them about choosing a topic.  Our students viewed short videos introducing them to the program. The next step was to explore possible sources for their research.  Students brainstormed sources which they would use to find credible information.  For example, would they use the Internet, ask a family member, read a newspaper?  They discussed the pros and cons of each of these sources based on prior knowledge.

How to Take Notes

sandwich boardsUMD researchers and I went over notetaking skills.  Three skills were introduced:  Mind-mapping, tables, and making lists.  The students were introduced to each method and then formed groups to practice these methods.  At the end, they were asked to present their assigned note-taking strategy to the group.  The group discussed which method is most effective for which circumstances.

Credibility Screenshot Activity

postit1 postit2

We used posters of various health-related Web pages for this activity.  The posters included: WebMD, Dr. Oz, Wikipedia, a government website (alzheimers.gov), a blog (“Sharing my life with Lewy Body Dementia”) and a kids health website (KidsHealth.org).  The students were given red and green post-its.  The red represented not credible.  The green represented credible.  The students wrote why they felt the website was credible or not on their post-its. We got together at the end of this activity to discuss the differences in opinion and how to handle the “grey” areas on assessing credibility of online information.

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Title: Superimpose
Cost: .99
Platform: iOS or Android

superimpose logoThere are a lot of photo editing apps available. But, sometimes I find that they are confusing to use because they offer a wide assortment of tools for accomplishing a variety of tasks. With Superimpose that's not the case. This app gives users the chance to do one thing - superimpose one image on to another. And, it makes it pretty easy to do that without adding lots of extra bells and whistles.

The basic way that it works is that a user selects a background image. Then selects a foreground image. And then marries the two by creating a mask for the foreground image and using filters to blend things together as much as desired.

The 10 minute screencast below shows you the basics of how Superimpose works. You can then read on to learn about even more features and possibilities.

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As a public librarian, I’ve found that book talks for state-wide award list titles are a great opportunity to collaborate with school librarians, teachers, and staff at the beginning of each school year. Teaming up to promote the lists aligns with ALSC’s core competencies by collaborating with other agencies serving children (6.4) and the programming guidelines established from YALSA’s Future of Library Services report by engaging teens via outreach to schools (3.2) and developing rich, mutually beneficial partnerships between public libraries and schools (5.0).

Many states sponsor young readers’ choice awards that provide many benefits to young readers, such as the opportunity to discover and read books that they will enjoy. The lists typically include a diverse selection of genres and voices. Deciding on titles to vote for presents opportunities for open discussion among students, library staff, and teachers.

Students in Illinois are served from kindergarten through twelfth grade by four different awards, all sponsored by the Illinois School Library Media Association. As a teen librarian, I read and book talk the nominees for the Rebecca Caudill Book Award at two different middle schools. This list includes 20 titles, so sharing the book talking load with other librarians saves my time and voice. At one school we split the list 50/50 (top half/bottom half), while at the other we just agree to read as many as we can.

Book talking together helps us to learn book talking techniques from each other. I openly admit to memorizing the best, most interesting bits from other peoples’ book talks to use whenever I am book talking on my own. The diversity of the Caudill list means there are always a few titles that I love, and a few that just don’t appeal to me. I can’t fake enthusiasm for a book, but another person’s enthusiasm – whether it comes from listening to their book talk or talking with them between talks about what they like about the book – is often contagious. At the very least, I can truthfully tell students that I know another great reader who loved the book.

Finally, collaborative book talking is a fantastic opportunity to introduce students to staff from both school and public libraries, while supporting and promoting each other’s library collections. If a title is checked out at one library, then we can invite students seek it at the other.

Since we are always pressed for time, here are some time-saving techniques:

  1.   Arrange the books so that the students can see the covers, and let them choose what titles get talked.
  2.   Have a 30-second “elevator pitch” prepared for each book, so that you can cram any that aren’t picked into the last few minutes of your talk.
  3.   Ask the class whether they’ve read popular books on the list like Hunger Games or Cinder. If they have, then skip those and segue into a similar title: “If you liked that one, then you may like this one…”

Donna Block is a teen librarian at Niles (Ill.) Public Library District and a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation.

Posted originally: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2015/09/gimme-a-c-for-collaboration-collaborative-book-talks/