YALSA President’s Report – September 2011

Monthly President’s Report – September 2011

Below is a summary of activities that I have completed or am working on.

Completed Tasks

  • Committee Chairs:
    • Had phone conversations with several YALSA committee chairs about the work of their committees.
  • Board Activities:
    • Participated in September 7 Board chat on how the YALSA Board can be involved with Planned Giving and fundraising.
  • Continue reading

YALSA Update: Bundled Reg Ends, YA Forum & More!

Coming to Midwinter & Annual 2012? Bundled Reg Ends Oct. 2! If you’re planning to attend both ALA’s Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting in 2012, take advantage of the lowest pricing with bundled registration at www.alamidwinter.org. Registration starts at $333 for YALSA members, but hurry, as this pricing expires Oct. 2. See what YALSA has planned for Annual and Midwinter.

YA Forum: Calling all YALSA members! Next week, we’re talking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)’  in ALA Connect for the monthly YA Forum. Join YALSA for a discussion of what STEM is, and how you can incorporate it into your library. We’ll share ideas on STEM programming and how to build collaborative STEM partnerships with other organizations. We’ll also look toward the future and talk about how librarians can easily implement STEM initiatives during Teen Tech Week. This discussion will be moderated by Shannon Peterson, Youth Services Librarian at Kitsap Regional Library. Log on at http://connect.ala.org/yalsa.

Call for Proposals: Do you know what the Next Big Thing in YA lit is? Tell YALSA! Visit www.ala.org/yalitsymposium to submit your paper or program proposal for the 2012 Young Adult Literature Symposium, The Future of Young Adult Literature: Hit Me with the Next Big Thing, to be held Nov. 2-4 in St. Louis. Proposals are due by Nov. 15. Want updates on the symposium? Join the symposium mailing list. Questions? Contact Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org.

What Is That Thing? QR Codes Webinar: Find out how you can use QR Codes at your library in YALSA’s October webinar! Join Jennifer Velasquez on Oct. 21. Registration costs $29 for students, $39 for YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals and $195 for the group rate (applies to a’ group of people that will watch the webinar together in one location). Learn more and register at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

Teen Read Week Photo Contest: Teens ages 13-18 can enter YALSA’s Teen Read Week photo contest! TRW 2011 Spokesperson Jay Asher will judge the contest, in which teens can make a visual representation of their favorite book and post it to Flickr through Oct. 31. Contest details, including a tag and an entry form, are available at www.ala.org/teenread.

Summer Reading Funding: Apply now for a Summer Reading Grant from YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation! Twenty libraries will receive $1,000 for summer reading 2012. Applications due Jan. 1.

30 Days of How-To #30: How to Create a Teen Space Out of Nothing

You have the support of your library management, but you have no time, money, or space. How can you finally creating that teen space/center/area/room that you have been dreaming about?

Well it won’t be easy. As a matter of fact, it will be dusty and heavy and time-consuming. But all good things are worth the effort! Once you have secured approval from your boss the planning process can begin. Review the following ideas and mix-and-match to your heart’s content!

Idea #1: Ask the folks in Circulation for more shelf space for YA books. With their approval, shift adult books (or whatever is keeping you from expanding) away from the YA collection, giving yourself space to work with. Even if you don’t need the shelf space, you can use the more spread-out shelves to hold program flyers, set up book displays, hold bookmarks, display teen art work, and more. (Or perhaps the Director will walk through one day, notice the empty-ish shelves, and want to fill them? Or better yet, build you a Teen Center!)

If the idea of empty shelves scares you, ask a maintenance worker to help you take (some or all of) the actual shelves out of the shelving unit. Use that space to publicize events and put up larger displays.

Short on time?: Use volunteers! Teen volunteers are probably (hopefully?) the same teens that will be utilizing the Teen Space. Therefore, use them to help you shift. Offer volunteer/service hours or library card fine amnesty in return for their time.

Idea #2: Have a Teen Center that pops up wherever you have space. If you can’t have permanent space in your building, plan a weekly pop-up in your library’s meeting room or children’s storytime room. Bring TVs and gaming systems, laptop computers, a cart of new YA books, craft supplies, etc. Move the day and time around as it suites the needs of your teens, but try to do this on a regular basis.

Idea #3: Take that pop-up Teen Center to a local community center or school. Load up your car with all of the necessary equipment and set up shop in the non-library space. Plan this alongside a school’s afterschool tutoring program (maybe to begin immediately after tutoring sessions) and watch your attendance sky-rocket. While the teens play games, tell them about the library and invite them to visit and say hello to you next time they visit. *Have a special treat to give to the teens that do visit the library and seek you out. If possible, give them a teen-friendly tour of the branch and maybe even introduce them to a couple co-workers. Prove to them that they are welcome.

Idea #4: You know all those computers and comfy chairs in the adult area? Teens like those, too. Move a couple of each closer to the teen shelves. This encourages the teens to be comfortable in their own space, even if it’s a mere 20 feet from the adult area. Put a sign over the computers and chairs informing customers that they are for teens only (during non-school hours). *This will likely result in angry adult users once in a while. The “my tax dollars” fight will begin, but if you and the entire staff stand your ground this won’t continue forever.

Idea #5: If you have a bit of spare money (or receive a grant? Or win the lottery? Or acquire a millionaire benefactor?) purchase teen-friendly furniture and computers (Macs?) instead of just taking away from the adult area (a la idea #4). Put a plaque on the wall near all of this new stuff describing the area as a teen space and thanking those who supported it (Board, director, etc.). That way the teens and the adults who scope out the area know who it is for and why it is there. *Using private funds such as a donation or grant for these items will allow you to say, “These were not purchased with tax dollars,” which is a great way to put the kibosh on the ol’ “my tax dollars!” argument.

Idea #6: Display YA books and program flyers in the places where the teens are (i.e computer banks, study carrels, etc.). Maybe the teens don’t know you own entire shelves of YA books, magazines, and audio books. A sign pointing them in the right direction will not only inform them, it will inform your community that your library cares for teens and wants to provide services specifically for them. Be creative with your displays (tape arrows to the floor to literally guide them to the materials).

Idea #7: Even if you cannot shift books, set up a teen-only computer station, or buy comfy furniture to put near the teen stacks, you can make the teen stacks stand out. Cover the shelving units in bright colored paper. Have the teens make posters to tape to the shelves or hang from the ceiling over the shelves. The possibilities go on and on. Paint the walls nearest to the stacks, even! Delineate the teen center from the rest of the library.

Whatever you choose to do, try to do it with a few teen volunteers. Making them a part of the library gives what you do that much more meaning.
Previous YALSA bloggers have posted great articles on teen centers/spaces. For more inspiration, read these:

Whose Space is it? By Linda Braun

Trading Spaces: visiting each other’s libraries by Erin Daly and Gretchen Kolderup


YALSA Blog Tweets of the Week – September 30, 2011

Here’s a short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting:

30 Days of How-To #29: Teen Read Week: TRW in schools/working with schools during TRW

Seize the opportunities!

Teen Read Week is a terrific opportunity to continue or begin a wonderful school and public library collaboration. October is a great month to implement good TRW programming as the school year starts to settle into its groove and students are interesting in getting involved. The sooner you plan your TRW program – even just brainstorming in the springtime, the better!

Some helpful tips for initiating that school and public library relationship:

  • Write a letter to your middle and high school librarians and school principals at the beginning of September.’  Introduce yourself if you are a new hire – and welcome everyone back to the school year! It will be a whirlwind for everyone in early September so allow ample time for response.
  • Follow up with a friendly email or phone call. Think of a good time to meet and enjoy a school/public librarian chat!
  • ‘  Remember: flexibility is key from the first phone call through the actual TRW programming!
  • ‘  If the school district has a librarians’ meeting, ask the coordinator or leader of the group if you may drop in and talk about the public library.

Brainstorm! Be sure to check out TRW activities and planning timeline!

  • Connect with teachers and librarians on judging a writing or “picture-it” contest. Allow time for creating the works, submission deadline and judging. Announce the winner(s) at a TRW party!
  • Hold a joint book discussion group after school at a library.
  • Present book talks in schools – have students film their own booktalks!
  • Public libraries and school libraries may be able to share resources such as equipment, meeting space, extra book copies for discussions, extra TRW bookmarks and posters, free books, whatever!
  • Host a joint author event! See if you can book the author for a two part program – a writing workshop at school and a large-scale author talk in a bigger meeting area (public library meeting room, school auditorium, teen rec center, etc.).
  • Teen Advisory Boards can bridge the gaps from the public library to the school library! TABs and teen school volunteers can help plan TRW events.
  • And one BIG incentive for teens: talk with teachers about offering extra credit on any TRW programs they attend.

Share what YOU are doing to make that school/public library connection during Teen Read Week.

Leave a comment and let everyone know!

30 Days of How-To #28: Fieldtrips for Teen Groups at the Public Library

Teens in your community may have the opportunity to take a fieldtrip to the nearest public library as a class or chaperone led group. Oftentimes they are there for a specific assignment they are researching but sometimes their instructor might bring them to the library for a general overview.

Besides planning your escape route or quickly hiding under the desk, if you see 30 + teens that you weren’t expecting, coming your way, what do you do? Continue reading

App of the Week: Animation Creator

Name: Animation Creator’ 

Platform: iOS 3.0 and later iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Cost: $ .99

Animation Creator is perfect for teens who like to draw and are into graphic design. I know teens at my Library who read Manga and watch anime; most every library has these teen patrons. From time to time they can be found sketching out drawings on the sides of binders and notebooks rendering their favorite characters in some crazy action pose. This app is also equally appealing to anyone who enjoys illustrating their own comics or zines. Continue reading

30 Days of How-To #27: How to find DIY Websites for programming

Finding new programming ideas for teens is tough, particularly when it comes to crafts.’  With them, the trends are changing so fast.’  I started to plan my Breaking Dawn party, only to find myself made fun of by most of my teens.’  Apparently, Twilight is over at my library.’  I was really excited to play Pin the Tail on Jacob, too.’  Then, I don’t know if this craft is good for boys and girls or if it’s too “babyish”.’  I have tried asking the kids for ideas, but, for the most part, I get the standard teen “I don’t know…” response.’  So what’s a teen librarian to do?’  Here are the options I have found.

  1. ‘ Listservs: are a godsend, especially YA-YAAC when it comes to programming and crafts.’ ‘  Someone on that list will have tried whatever you are thinking of and tell you how it worked out.’  All you librarians are a great sounding board for ideas and sometimes I check my email and think about how genius you all are.’  Plus, there is a circulating list of all the great YA programming sites, such as the4YA and Abby the Librarian (Not me, an even cooler Abby).
  2. ‘ Pinterest.com:’  Most of you have already found this website, I’m sure.’  I am on this thing daily.’  It is chock-full of easy ways to make crafts and fun things to do to entertain yourself’  or your patrons.’  It puts all of your favorite ideas (and everyone else’s) on to one easy-to-use website, with links back to the original sites.’  It’s a beautiful thing.’  Plus, it’s great for stress relief, because lots of people “pin” pretty clothes and cute dogs, too.
  3. Design*Sponge:’  Mostly aimed at adults, this website has tons of awesome DIY that you can cater to your teens.’  I tried the clothespin mirror myself and it was really easy and really cheap.’  And again, lots of pretty other things to look at to de-stress.’  Or stress, because you can’t afford that gorgeous $300 blanket from Malaysia.

It is really amazing how much is out there, now that I have started looking.’  Again, I think you all are the best resources, so emailing each other for more websites (since I am sure there are quite a few I missed) and ideas will probably give you more crafts than you ever needed.

Bigger than the Arch!? Young Adult Literature Symposium Hits St. Louis!

Mark your calendars!’  St. Louis will be hosting the YALSA 2012 Symposium November 2-4.’  The theme is “The Future of Young Adult Literature:’  Hit Me with the Next Big Thing.”

There is still plenty of time to send in your proposals for programs or paper presentations.’  We want to know what you believe will be the developing and evolving trends in young adult literature.’  Let your voice be heard about why and how the youth of today will interact with new materials and formats.

Enhance your experience by visiting http://yalitsymposium12.ning.com/ Updates about the symposium will be posted as they become available.’ ‘  Continue to look for information posted on the YALSA Blog and The Hub.

While in St. Louis, find time to see some of the Downtown attractions, including the Gateway Arch, City Museum’ and St. Louis Union Station.’  If you have extra time to explore, take in the grandeur of Forest Park and its many free museums, Missouri Botanical Garden or The Delmar Loop.

30 Days of How-To #26: Welcome the Reluctant Patron

Whether you are in a school or public library, you have probably had to work with a patron that was required to visit the library. Sometimes they come in groups or sometimes they come alone. Sometimes they are happy to be there but often the fact that their presence in the library is a requirement makes them reluctant or resentful patrons. ‘ Here are some steps that I take to avoid making a tough situation worse and help make the patron feel at home in the library. ‘ I came to all of theses conclusions by trail and error–lots of errors.

  1. Be Prepared‘ In a perfect world the teacher who has required students to visit the library has told you that they are coming but my how to steps are designed for the real world. Teens often come to the library for ‘ a specific project or for generic library instruction. Have a brief (no more than 5-8min) introduction to the library and how to use the library in ready in your head. ‘ It helps to have pamphlets on hand to for these unexpected visits. ‘ The handouts will most likely end up in the trash (recycling bin if you are lucky) but it will help keep you on point. ‘ I have found that the best handout is generic enough that it helps with basic search tips’ and highlights your awesome gaming collection.
  2. Understand their Position I have had to sign sheets that confirm that a student has received library instruction and assistance on projects. ‘ If I feel like a parole officer, I can only imagine how they feel in this situation. ‘ One teen reported that this made her feel like a “child.” It is important than to remember to treat them as intelligent young adults. Show them that the library is a place that respects them.
  3. Lose the Librarian Talk and Be Natural‘ Nothing makes a resentful patron more resentful than strange vocabulary and being talked down too. ‘ This is so difficult to remember. My library is working on a list of words that we are trying not too use around patrons. We are thinking of making a donation jar–drop quarter when you say a bad librarian word! ‘ Along the same line, we are trying to be aware of how we speak to teens. When we started evaluating each other, we were shocked to find that we often asked questions like “Do you know what an abstract is?” Out of context, we were able to hear how condescending we sound. ‘ By evaluating each other, we have been able to help reduce how often we say these annoying phrases.
  4. Handle the Attitude and Sell the Library‘ This is especially tough when you are working with a group of teens who are required to listen to you. They don’t want to be there–they think libraries are outdated, unfriendly and that you are a total nerd (and not in a good way!). I find the best way to handle this is to start off by asking them what their impressions and feeling are about libraries. ‘ Encourage honesty and be prepared to hear horror stories. As they tell you how librarians are unfriendly, acknowledge their past experiences and ask them to give us another chance. ‘ Show them how technically advanced your library is and be prepared to show them the coolest aspect of your collection or something unique about your library. The teens may not want to be there but don’t lose the opportunity to win them over.
  5. Have Candy‘ I know this comes up all the time… but it works! Having candy can really help with that awkward moment when you have to scramble to get ready for the unexpected group .