YALSA Membership Meeting and President’s Program Overview

For those of you who couldn’t make it to NOLA for ALA’s Annual Conference (which, by the way, rocked!), here is a wrap-up of the Membership Meeting and President’s Program held Monday afternoon.

2010-2011 YALSA president Kim Patton hosted an inspiring program. Her first order of business was to ask members to speak briefly about recent success in YA librarianism. The speakers included: Continue reading

App of the Week: 3:15

Title: 3:15
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: First episode free, with subsequent ones 99 cents

App-based enhanced editions of On the Road and The Waste Land are finally pushing the boundaries of electronic texts, and young readers can have their own app-based literature experience with Patrick Carman’s 3:15 series.

The multimodal stories begin with a Rod Serling-esque narrative introduction, which unlocks a text that in turn leads to a video. The stories are creepy but never gory or gruesome, and they seem to tap into the terrors plaguing the tween psyche. Atmospheric music and visual effects are well-done, and the videos, while brief, are of high production value.
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Teens and Tech: Fighting the Bad Rap

Teens and their use of technology, whether cell phones, social media, gaming, or even plain old tv is getting a bad rap in the media and in advertisements.   Obesity has been associated with the amount of time a child spends in front of a screen.  There are studies showing the  association between technology and sleep deprivation.  A recent anti-drug campaign  offers parents help for teens who use their cell phone to access drugs  (The image of the cellphone on the table is reminiscent of the classic anti-drug ad with the single blunt).   Dateline has proved over  and over again that the Internet is full of predators.   I do not argue with any of these findings.   I worry, though, that technology gets too much of the blame.  Because of these negative associations, I think that teens’ use of technology becomes something that parents, teachers and librarians try to curb rather than try to encourage.  When we are bombarded with these studies and advertisements, adults can forget how much reading a teen does with technology and the positive influence technology has. As librarians we are in a position to help bring awareness to how technology can be dangerous; however,  we must remember that we have an equal if not more important role in helping teens use technology to get better information, to socialize, to play games and to read.
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Handling Rowdy Teens: Stop Trouble Before it Starts

Summertime, of course, means that with no school and after-school activities, more teens can come to the library. A problem occurs, though, because when teens are together, they engage in normal teen behavior, which isn’t always good library behavior. The question is, how do you enforce the rules without alienating your teens, and if you have to make them leave for a day, month, or whatever the time period, is it possible to reach those teens and bring them back – just more well-behaved?

My library’s conduct policy applies to all patrons and clearly defines the consequences for different behaviors, when a warning is sufficient or when warnings have to turn into an order for trespass, either temporary or not. Having a clear policy is a good first step, but I don’t think any of us really believe that teens or any other patron are actually going to read it, even if you have your rules of conduct displayed in a very prominent place. In fact, most teens probably won’t know that what they are doing is wrong until you give them that first warning.
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Tweets of the Week – June 24

I hope those of you in New Orleans or those headed there soon are having fun! I’m filling in for Linda Braun this week. Here’s a short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting (it’s a bit conference-heavy!):

Get the scoop on YALSA’s e-course, Navigating the Divide between Teens and Tweens

This summer YALSA is offering a newly revised online course!   Beth Gallaway and Alissa Lauzon, instructors for Navigating the Divide between Teens and Tweens, chatted with me about the course. This course runs from July 11- August 8th and is open for registration through the YALSA website.

Eve: You’re teaching a class for YALSA that starts in July. Tell us about Navigating the Divide between Teens and Tweens.

Beth & Alissa: The age range of patrons that young adult librarians serve is expanding. Although YALSA states that young adults are ages 12-18, the teens you serve in your library can range from 9-18 and they have very different needs from middle childhood to early adolescence to middle adolescence. We want to offer tools and resources that will help librarians better serve a wide range of library users.

Eve: What should students expect to learn from this course?

Beth & Alissa: Participants will become familiar with local, state, and national standards for service to tweens and teens. Students will identify three areas for institutional improvement based on standards observed and will complete a plan for an environmental scan of the library. In addition, participants will define differences between tweens and teens, and will identify methods to improve library marketing and communication to teens of different ages. Lastly, participants will evaluate current space and collection development policies in terms of local and national standards.

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App of the Week: Drawing Pad

Title: Drawing Pad
Platform:
Nook Color, Honeycomb Tablets, iPad (iOS 3.2 or later)
Cost:
$1.99

Barnes and NoblDrawing Pade recently introduced a collection of apps for Nook Color, and I enthusiastically downloaded a few to test out the features. Drawing Pad by Darren Murtha Design is one of the most downloaded and reviewed apps for Nook Color.  It is also available for a variety of other touch screen devices including iPad and Android tablets.

Drawing Pad’s collection of tools includes paintbrushes, color pencils, crayons, markers, stamps, background papers, stickers, and erasers.  I had fun testing out each instrument to create the image below.  The tools are easy to use and respond well to Nook’s touch screen.  There is a variety of colors available, and the different stroke types and  pre-made stickers makes this app a lot more fun than other simple graphic painting programs (e.g. MS Paint). It also allows you to save images to an art gallery or share via email, Facebook or other apps.

A few minor improvements could have made this application a lot more user-friendly.  The “pencil box” covers up a fraction of the art board. I did not realize part of my picture was blank until I went to save it. Fortunately, the tools can be slid shut by clicking the box’s handle. One of the major problems reported by reviewers on bn.com is that the program occasionally freezes when saving graphics. I did not experience this issue, but I did have trouble figuring out how to send images via email. When you click to share, Drawing Pad presents a list of apps that accept pictures. Rather than automatically attaching the image, you have to go into your Nook Gallery and select the image.  A YouTube video displaying the iPad version suggests that the process might be easier on Apple devices (i.e. there is actually a Facebook button on the latest version).

Why should you care about Drawing Pad? Besides being a lot of fun and supporting creative expression, this app has a lot of potential for programs. For example, you could invite teens to draw up alternative book covers to share on the library’s Facebook page.  You could also prompt teens to create images for characters as part of a summer book club exercise.  You might also test out the app just because some of the young adults at your library likely use it. A testament to its quality and popularity, Apple named Drawing Pad the “iPad App of the Week” in December 2010.

When It’s Good to be Passive

My library is extremely busy during the summer. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can keep our patrons this engaged with the library all year long. In a way, summer is easy. Although our teens have vacations and other summer activities, they also have a lot more down time than during the school year. They love air conditioning (don’t we all!) and having a free place to hang out. Programs in the summer fill up fast, and they are a popular way for teens to spend their time.

However, during the school year, many teens are overscheduled and overbooked. Even if a program looks interesting to a teen, many don’t have the time to carve an hour out of their day to come to a program. How can we keep teens excited about coming to the library, even if they don’t have time to pencil us in to their busy schedules? One idea I’d like to try out more is passive programming.

According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), passive programming, “promotes the library and its materials and services without providing a formal program at a specific time or date.” Passive programs are informal and allow for teens to complete the program at their own pace and on their own schedule.

In January my library system had a “Valentines for Veterans” table at each of our branches. Patrons could create Valentine’s Day cards—there was paper, glue sticks, cut out shapes appropriate for Valentine’s Day, markers, stickers, and more. It was wildly successful. People of all ages enjoyed getting to take time to make a card for a veteran—some people spent 2 minutes, some people spent 20, but we had an overwhelmingly positive response.

Although this program wasn’t geared specifically at teens, the teens at my branch enjoyed it immensely. It gave them a break to do something fun and it didn’t take a lot of time. I like the idea of having more passive programs, in addition to normal programming, throughout the year to engage more teen patrons. The TSLAC suggests many other great passive programs you can do: writing a story using prompts, book swap shelf, scavenger hunts, and video reviews.

Have you tried passive programming at your library? What passive program ideas can you share?

Back to the Future

When faced with the chance to build a teen section from the ground up, most teen librarians would jump at the opportunity to create the perfect teen-centric, state-of-the-art space filled with ample, comfortable seating, the latest in technology and resources, and, most importantly, teenagers. To craft such a space is practically every teen librarian’s dream, and many library professionals agree that having an innovative, separate, and distinct teen space is one of many factors linked to teens wanting to use the library more.

Most of us who work with teens in a library-setting already know that they need a place to call their very own, so why state the obvious? It seems that a new trend in library design for youth may be emerging, which focuses on a “whole youth” approach to space and service. While not necessarily a new idea, this more traditional approach creates a youth space that moves from one stage of development to the next and provides patrons from birth to young adult with a continuity of service from a team of youth librarians. In this model, the teen space is once again situated near or, in some cases, in the youth (i.e. children’s) department, and a teen librarian may spend most of the day assisting pre-teens. Yes, there will still be a dedicated space for teens, but its proximity to all things children may diminish its favor among young adults. As Kimberly Bolan (2009) so aptly states in Teen Spaces (2nd ed.), “Teenagers do not want to be associated with little kids” (p. 30).

It appears that the advances Bolan and others have advocated for and gained on behalf of teen librarians and their customers may be in danger of becoming the exception to the rule once again. Will teen services become diminished as a whole youth approach to library services and design takes root? Will teens continue to use the library once their separate space is integrated into the youth section? Only time will tell.

Teen Advocacy

Want to know how to bring in and keep teen advocates in your library? Have teens that want to help but aren’t sure how to focus the effort? Are set with talking points but aren’t quite clear on where to go from there?

Then join the YALSA Legislation Committee for it’s panel presentation titled “Teen Advocacy.”

Teens as Advocates

Articulating the value of your library’s programs and services for teens is more important than ever.  You have the data and the talking points, but you need more.  Learn how teens can become passionate and effective advocates for teen services. Explore strategies for working with your Teen Advisory Group on community engagement, including library advocacy.

Date: Monday, June 27, 2011

Time: 10:30-12:00

Location:  Room 356 in the Convention Center

Featured panelists will be:

  •  Lauren Comito, an Outreach Librarian for Queens Library, an ALA Emerging Leader who has been instrumental in being a digital activist and grassroots campaigner for young adults and libraries.
  • Christian Zabriskie, an Assistant Coordinator of Young Adult Services for Queens Library and the Founder of Urban Librarians Unite. He is one of the authors of Grassroots Library Advocacy: A Special Report, an ALA publication.
  • Franklin Escobedo, a Branch Manager at the Mission Branch Library in Oceanside. He started out as Young Adult Librarian and continues his advocacy efforts within his library community and within YALSA seving on several committees and being the GLBT-RT Liasion to YALSA.
  • Patty Wong, a County Librarian/Chief Archivist at the Yolo Library in California. She serves as Co-Chair of ALA President-Elect Molly Raphael’s Presidential Initiative-Empowering Voices: Communities Speak Out for Libraries and was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers in 2007.
  • Danielle Driggers,  grand prize winner of the 13-15  year old division of the “Why I Need My Library” video contest sponsored by ALA. Watch her video here. She will be able to share first hand insights on how to involve teens in library advocacy efforts.

This panel will share stories, tips, and ideas. Today, advocacy for libraries is more important than ever. Join us for this valuable session!