Connect, Create, Collaborate: National YA Forum on Teens & Libraries Is the Next Big Thing

National Forum on Libraries & Teens logoHave you heard? YALSA received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to facilitate a year-long project. What’s the project about? It brings together library staff that work with teens, educators, library educators, youth development experts, technology experts, and stakeholders to talk about the future of YA services. All leading to a white paper that will outline where teen services should go in the future and how best to support teens in libraries and communities.

There are two key pieces to the Forum that lead to the white paper:

  • A Summit that will be held in Seattle, WA just before the ALA Midwinter meetings. This Summit is going to be facilitated by ALA President Maureen Sullivan. It features a jam-packed agenda of speakers and small group discussions. Confirmed speakers include Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and George Needham, Vice President, OCLC Global and Regional Councils. Other speakers will include those from the world of technology, education, and libraries. All of the speakers will help attendees to think about and answer three specific questions:
    • Who are teens in the 21st century?
    • How can libraries support the needs of 21st century teens?
    • What is the future of library services to teens?
  • Attendees at the Summit include the project Advisory Board and invited guests including museum educators, youth development experts, experts in digital media and learning, high school teachers and college professors, library directors, and library school faculty. Along with the project Board and invited attendees, 15 applicants were selected (from a pool of 68) to attend. These applicants are from a range of settings including school and public libraries, state libraries, and out-of-school time programs.

  • A set of virtual town hall meetings that will follow-up on discussions from the Summit. These virtual town halls will take place in March, April, and May of 2013 and will give a wide number of people – from YALSA members, to teen advocates, to youth development experts, to teens – the opportunity to speak-up about the role of libraries in teen lives and in communities in the 21st century. Participants in the virtual town halls will be asked to Tweet, blog, and post on Facebook about the events in order to bring in as many voices as possible. YALSA will also host discussions related to the virtual town halls via their social media channels.

This project gives YALSA the opportunity to connect, create, and collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders in teen library services. The white paper that will be published at the end of the project (and which will be open to comment prior to publication) will outline the next big thing for libraries, teens, and communities.

You can keep up with information on the project via its website.

Published by

Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.