I had a conversation recently that gave me pause. Here’s how it went. I made a somewhat provocative comment that I frequently make, and said to a few librarians I was mingling with, “You know, I think libraries shouldn’t have any children’s librarians and only have teen librarians. Parents will bring their children to the library even if there isn’t a children’s librarian, but teens don’t come quite so easily.”

Before anyone sends me hate mail and posts hate comments on this blog, I don’t really believe that libraries shouldn’t have children’s librarians. But, I do think there is a disparity between the number of children’s librarians and teen librarians in libraries. (I don’t think anyone can fight me on that.) And, I do think, teens, and our communities, would be better served if there were more full-time librarians dedicated to serving teens – right along side full-time librarians dedicated to serving children. Read More →

YALSA recognizes that often small press or independent publishers are not able to afford to exhibit during ALA’s Annual Conference. This year, YALSA will be holding a program that will feature small press and diverse publishers that normally do not exhibit at ALA’s Annual Conference. The goal of this program is to provide information to YALSA members about how to purchase books for their libraries from small press, diverse, or independent publishers. YALSA is looking for publishers that have a focus on materials for underrepresented groups in mainstream ya lit.

The program, Strengthen Your YA Collection with Small Press/Diverse Publishers, will be held Sunday, July 12, 2009, from 3:30-5:30pm at McCormick Place West, W-196b. Come to this open house featuring publishers that focus on publishing for diverse YA populations, but that normally do not exhibit at the ALA conference. Tables will be set up around the room where publishers will feature YA titles and representatives will be available to chat about their latest titles.

Publishers interested in participating should contact YALSA Program Officer, Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org.

“…between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars…”

…and hither to this came…The Accidental Teen Book!

So our latest installment of ATB is not any particular book, but rather two legendary authors, and not even all that accidental, considering that we’re heading back to long before anyone ever thought about writing books just for teens.  And yet these two gentlemen, and their work, are always great to keep in mind for when that particular teen comes along.  They are, after all, the progenitors of both modern horror fiction, and the heroic sword-and-sorcery tale.  I speak, of course, of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Read More →

There’s this closet at work that I’m starting to clean out because it needs it. It’s been kind of funny tracking down where things came from in the first place as one person invariably leads me to and there’s usually a humorous story attached to it at the end. We’re also busy at work spring cleaning in a sense in the way we think about using things-particularly technology equipment. We’re taking into consideration how teens use it and what our own processes are in order to make some changes.
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Awesome author of young adult literature Neal Shusterman will be in Second Life today at 7 pm ET/4 pm to talk about writing and his books.  The presentation will be telecast into Teen Second Life so that those under 18 can talk to him, too.  If you’ve never visited Second Life before, this is a great opportunity to try it while attending an actual event.  I remember my first encounters in Second Life were very frustrating mostly because I wanted to see it in action.  I knew that people were doing awesome things in it, but every time I went, I didn’t feel that sense of community others were talking about.  Then I attended my first author visit, and it was completely different.  It takes a little time to set up your avatar and go through orientation.

The event in Second Life is being held at the USDLC Star Island.  In Teen Second Life, the event is at Sparta Island, which will be open 30 minutes before the event starts.  You can also use a slurl to find it at the Literacy 2 Learn page.  For the slurl and more info about the event, click here.

A few days ago I posted about why it is important to give teens a chance to have fun while learning. In that post I mentioned that in my work I was finding that there didn’t seem to be a “next big thing” to get excited about. It’s true, I am still looking for that next big thing, but that’s not to say there aren’t some good new tools that I’ve discovered that are great for you and teens to know about. These include:

  • unigo logoUnigo is a five-month old web site that uses real-live students to create content about what life is really like in college. These first-hand accounts (primary source really) give teens who are considering college information that is different than what they might receive via a college tour, in a college catalog, or in a brochure. The site has a useful search feature so potential students (and their parents) can look for specific programs, types of students, interests, and so on in order to discover exactly what an institution has to offer. Read More →

I’ve had some ideas floating around my brain the past couple of weeks and I realized today that they actually collide with each other.

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is the concept of fun as it relates to education. One reason for this line of thinking is a project in which I’m involved. For this project educators are being asked to think differently about homework, social networking, and student use of resources. There’s been some discussion among the project team about how teachers and librarians do not always realize that social tools aren’t simply about giving students a chance to have fun while learning. A point in integrating these tools is that they help make learning more meaningful to students. For many students using these tools is fun because it relates to their real lives and interests. As a result, students are more engaged in learning. When they are engaged they are more likely to understand content. Read More →

ALA requests that we ask our senators to support library funding and sign the “Dear Colleague” letter. This Action Alert explains that LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program are two important library service programs. The alert provides talking points, helps with composing a message, includes all the formalities. All you need to donate is a little of our time.

Please take a look at this alert and donate a small amount of time for advocacy today.

In February the YALSA blog sponsored the 28 Days of Advocacy series of posts. Every day during that month blog readers had a chance to find out about a particular aspect of library and/or teen advocacy. The full collection of those posts is available in PDF.

Looking through the compilation of posts from the 28 Days project, it’s clear that advocacy isn’t something that a librarian practices during one day, one week, or one month of a year. It’s an ongoing activity that can be integrated into all aspects of library work for, and with, teens.

For example: Read More →