28 Days of Teens & Tech #12: Staying in Touch with Teen Issues Online

I am an unemployed librarian. ‘ This is not surprising considering the country’s 9% unemployment rate, coupled with the recent chopping of local and state budgets across the country. ‘ But being unemployed doesn’t just mean that I am out of work; it means that I am out of touch with libraries, young adults, and the daily goings-on of public libraries. ‘ I am not interacting with my peers or choice customer base each work day, so I am losing my grip on the contemporary issues involving libraries and most importantly, teens in libraries. ‘ How can unemployed (or, non-library employed) librarians ensure that they are staying relevant?

Aside from volunteering and going to the library as often as you can possibly can (without looking like you stashed something in the non-fiction section), the Internet is where it’s at. ‘ Start a Bookmark folder, Delicious account, Google Bookmarks account (whichever tickles your fancy) and start saving useful links to professional websites and blogs that you can check anytime you have a free moment. ‘ I have collected for you a few of my personal favorites that have been very useful to me (and my sanity) during the past six weeks of unemployment.

– First and foremost, save the YALSA homepage and visit it often. ‘ From this site you will know what big events (Teen Tech Week, Teen Read Week, summer reading, etc.) are coming up, what their themes are, and what other YA librarians are doing for those events. ‘ From this website you will also learn about and access publications that are relevant to the field.

– Another YALSA-sponsored page, the YALSA blog. ‘ Here is where you will keep up on issues that are important, trendy/emerging, relevant, and fun. ‘ Recent posts include What Teens Don’t Know About Facebook and What’s the Digital Divide, both of which have a significant message for those working with teens in libraries.

– Chat. ‘ You can do this in a few places, including Facebook and ALA Connect. On both sites you can post links, send messages, chat, and have discussions with other professionals regarding topics of interest to you. ‘ It is imperative that those of us out of work still communicate with other librarians, because they are in libraries and know what is going on, on a daily basis.

To those of you so fortunate to be paid librarians, do your best to keep the rest of us informed! ‘ Blog about things that only those of you in libraries can know about. ‘ Maintain contact with old MLS friends. ‘ Post to your Facebook and ALA Connect pages so that we can keep up-to-date. ‘ To those of you out of work, good luck in landing that perfect job! ‘ Keep a strong online presence so that you can quickly access all that is available to you.