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

This week we're focusing on school libraries and media centers. From board games to book dominos and book clubs to volunteer opportunities, school libraries can provide a place for students to have fun and unwind during free periods or before and after school. Prominent displays are one way to grab students' attention and connect them with books and library services with which they may unfamiliar. Book themed bulletin boards can also call attention to library materials or can drum up interest for upcoming events.

We've included a few examples below, but we want to hear from you! Do you offer before and after school programs for your students? What's the coolest display you've put together? Which bulletin board theme has been most popular? Do your teens give you input or decorate for you?

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Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Last week we talked about finding your perfect community partner, the one who can make all your dreams come true. Once you’ve met a few potential partners and really gotten to know them, you may be ready to choose one and move forward on a shared program or project.

As you’re working with the partner to formulate the project, here are some questions to consider. Read More →

Since ALA Mid-Winter was conveniently located in Chicago this January, I decided to make the trip and attend the conference on Saturday. I had been to professional conferences before, but all for writing centers, not libraries. My first thought upon walking into the conference center was the same familiar feeling I got in writing center conferences: a bunch of people who are all passionate about one thing: libraries. I always love the energy at conferences; the energy that helps renew your passions and reminds you why you do what you do day in and day out.

My focus at Mid-Winter was seeing how ALA and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation worked together to promote libraries to work with their communities to affect social change. They believe that public libraries should use their position in a community to help facilitate conversations that could lead to effective change. This is all under the ALA umbrella of Transforming Libraries. I was interested in these sessions because during my first semester in graduate school, I found myself drawn to and working with communities (both talking about community ideas in class and then working with a community for my assistantship). I’m currently taking a community engagement class and was interested to see Harwood’s spin on engagement.

After some freight congestion, I was able to attend two out of the four sessions: intentionality and sustaining yourself. Intentionality focused on the three As: authenticity, authority, and accountability. They wanted to make sure you deeply knew the community you were working with and followed through on promises. The final session, on sustaining yourself, focused on knowing personally what keeps you going (ways to destress and relax) and who you can talk to about frustrations and triumphs. Both sessions stressed small group discussion, which gave me the opportunity to meet other librarians (in all variety of roles). There was good discussion all afternoon however I left wishing I could have heard more from the pilot libraries who were coached by Harwood. Two different libraries gave short intros to start the sessions, but in five minutes, you can’t learn much about all the successes (and also the roadblocks).

In some ways, I felt out of my element at ALA. I was simply a student, one who didn’t have any long term experience in libraries. I could listen to conversations but sometimes felt I had nothing to add. However, at the same time, I got this great sneak peak into the professional world I’m preparing to jump with two feet into. Public libraries and communities are a big deal right now and if I can present a resume with experience in working with and for communities, then I help to separate myself from the rest of my peers competing for the job opening. What ALA and Harwood are picking up on isn’t a new concept — public libraries have been working with communities since they first began. These sessions serve as reminders that we as librarians are serving our community and should be an open, safe place to have tough conversations and conversations that begin to work towards social change.

Name:  Nutshell Camera
Platform:  iOS
Cost:  Free

Nutshell CameraNutshell Camera, from the creators of Prezi, allows users to create tiny stories with a unique combination of video, photos, text, and animation.

Hit the plus sign on the opening screen and you're met with a giant camera button, three numbered circles, and a prompt to take three photos.  After the three photos are taken (filling each corresponding circle,) you're taken back to the first photo to add text and animated overlays such as sunbursts and arrows.  After repeating the process with all three photos, hit the play button to see the magic happen -- because while you were taking the photos, the app was also recording video, and the result is a super short, documentary-style video with a Ken Burns effect that can be shared via email, text, or social media.

The lack of ability to import media and the sometimes wonky sound quality on the videos are issues for future updates, but the simplicity and fun of the app makes it a perfect tool for book trailers, digital storytelling assignments, promoting programs and services, or just as a fun addition to your photo app arsenal.

Check out more Apps of the Week in our Archive. Know an app you'd like to see featured? Let us know.

So you’re ready to embark on a micro partnership. You’ve done your community analysis, so you’re familiar with current demographic information in your area. You’ve considered which audiences you’d like to target to promote equity. Now all you need is a partner organization.

But how to choose? It’s a little bit like (very platonic) dating: who’s your perfect match?

The dating game

Choosing community partners:  almost nothing like The Dating Game.

 

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Happy Monday, amazing YALSA members!

Can you believe it's already near the end of February?

For those who've made New Year's resolutions to be more involved in the profession, it's not too late!

The deadline to apply to join a YALSA strategic committee, jury, or taskforce is this Sunday, March 1st!

You can see the full list of committees and juries here.

Strategic committees are a great way to get involved with YALSA, as they are virtual committees. Or, if you are a new member and looking to try committee work for the first time, the strategic committees are a great way to learn about YALSA, connect with teen service professionals from around the country, and help you develop your virtual work skills and teen expertise. So, if travel and conference attendance aren't an option for you this year, please take a minute to fill out the volunteer form here and send it in before March 1st!

My Appointments Taskforce and I will begin the process to fill the over 200 open positions that help YALSA accomplish the work of the strategic plan and the work that moves the association and members forward immediately after March 1st, so please be sure to get your application in before then.

I strongly encourage all YALSA members to apply - it is an easy and great way to get more involved in this amazing association, especially if you are interested in joining a YALSA selection or award committee in the future.

Please feel free to contact me at candice.yalsa (at) gmail.com if you have any questions!

This is a guest post by Kristine Macalalad, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

Why do we attend conferences? Getting ourselves there - from making the case, finding the funding, pinning down all the details of travel and accommodations, leaving work in the middle of summer reading...all the way down to schlepping all those cardigans with us across a great distance - can be no small feat. So, why do we do it? Is it all that great swag? Is it the marvelous learning opportunities? Some might argue it’s all about the networking!

Some things are just done best in person, and one of those things is networking. For newbies and seasoned professionals alike, networking affords a chance to make beneficial connections. Imagine: hundreds of like-minded folks, many passionate about the same things, many friendly and wanting to help, and all under the same roof. Magic happens! Ideas are bounced around, brains are picked, burning questions are answered, and connections are made that can have lasting effects long after we return home.

How to do it? Read More →

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

This past Thursday, February 19 marked the beginning of the 2015 Chinese New Year. Also referred to as the Spring Festival and based on a lunar calendar, each New Year is associated with an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Due to different translations, 2015 is either represented as the year of the sheep, ram, or goat. Regardless of which animal they opted to go for, many libraries participated in this year's celebrations by offering a spectrum of community programs ranging from storytime for kids, activities and crafts for teens, author visits, and large-scale celebrations. Through collaborations with local businesses and organizations, some libraries and museums offered in-house festivities complete with dragon or lion dances, music, food, performers, artists, and red envelopes or oranges for good luck. Did your library host a Chinese New Year program or event this past week? What types of activities were offered and how did you get your teens involved? Share with us in the comments section below.

In addition to Chinese New Year celebrations, February has also brought with it some frosty weather that has us counting down the days until summer. While the photo-based nature of Instagram makes it a great platform for engaging patrons in conversation about shared weather experiences, it also doubles as a way to quickly and easily inform patrons about delayed openings or closures. What ways have you found to be most successful in disseminating weather-related information to your patrons? Read the captions below to see the catching ways that some libraries have informed patrons of changes to their hours of operation.

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In 2012 and 2013 through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, YALSA embarked on an ambitious journey to create the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. Its culmination was The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, or Futures Report for short. The report’s purpose is to provide a roadmap for 21st century teen library services. Its hashtag, #act4teens, boldly reinforces the report’s subtitle. For me, #act4teens is akin to the Yoda quote, “Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” We must act to move teen services in our libraries forward.

YALSA and the Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce created several #act4teens resources that can be found on the National Forum on Libraries and Teens’ shared resources page, which directs you to three types of tools designed to help you #act4teens at your library and in your community.

You’ll find:

  1. One-page fact sheets to give to a variety of different audiences to raise awareness and excitement about the future of library services for and with teens. Factsheets are geared to the following audiences:
    • Community members, partners, and advocates
    • Faculty and researches at library and information science schools
    • Library staff
    • School administrators and principles
    • Library trustees
  2. Canned presentations to use when you present the report to others and again can be used with a variety of audiences.
  3. A tip sheet geared specifically to help you bring the ideas of the Futures Report to administrators. The tip sheet provides strategies for starting a dialogue with your supervisor about the report and its implications. It also provides steps on how to start moving forward to reimagine services for and with teens in your community.

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