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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Warren, Ohio is deep in the rust belt. What was once a bustling factory town is now deeply impoverished, where every child qualifies for free breakfast and lunch at school each day. For these teens, just one manga replacement charge can render an account unusable. Once a card reaches five dollars in fines, it cannot be used to check anything out, and accounts are placed into collection once the $25 fine threshold is reached.
The Youth Services Manager and I felt this was unfairly punishing our teen population, especially since we don’t offer any way to work off their fines, either through reading or volunteering. All juvenile cards are the responsibility of the parents who signed up for them, and as any member of the family can use the card, oftentimes fines are accrued for items that teen didn’t check out. Personally, it breaks my heart each time a teen wants to check out books but can’t.
Today, the Pew Research Center released a new report titled “Younger Americans and Public Libraries: How those under 30 engage with libraries and think about libraries’ role in their lived and communities.” This report surveys younger Americans ages 16-29, which they found were three different generations, according to reading habits, library usage patterns, and attitudes about libraries. The youngest of the three generations is comprised of high schoolers (ages 16-17), the next generation is college-aged (18-24), and the third generation is 25-29. Library usage among these groups together is significantly higher than those of older generations with 50% reporting having used a library of bookmobile and 36% reporting having used a library website (this is up from 28% in 2012) within the previous 12 months.
Utter the phrase “Strategic Planning” and many of us cringe a little at the daunting process these words imply. YALSA is at the beginning stages of this task and needs your feedback in our member survey. The information you provide will be used to help the YALSA Board of Directors develop the association’s next strategic plan.
Being a member driven organization, your opinion matters! What services, tools, or resources do you need to be best librarian you can be? Are there challenges you are encountering in serving teens and young adults in your library? How can YALSA continue to be relevant to you and the profession? Help us answer these questions and more, by taking a few minutes to answer a few questions in our member survey.
The member survey will be open for just one more week, until September 17, so take time now to complete it. Also, 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).
We look forward to your feedback and your awesome ideas!
The YALSA Strategic Planning Task Force
Fourteen thousand three hundred acres of forested area destroyed. Five hundred nine homes turned to nothing more than ash and rubble. Two lives consumed by smoke. It is still hard to believe that, just over thirteen months ago, the first spark of the Black Forest fire ignited. The flames may have only raged for nine days, but the impacts it left will remain for years to come, not merely due to the fields upon fields of smoky tree limbs it left in its wake, or the barren earth it helped to reveal. Not even because of the hordes of homes it brought to the ground. The impact goes much deeper than the visible—the smoky plume that licked the sky for days inexplicably changed every life involved. Mine included.
June 11th had started like any other day. It was summer, so I was free to do as I pleased. At around noon, my younger sister, Jess, and I decided to go out for a walk. Being summer, the bees were buzzing, the trees around me were a vibrant green, and the sky was a cloudless blue—so deeply blue, I remember. As I walked through this summer paradise, Jess was next to me talking about something, I don’t recall what.