In 2012 and 2013 through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, YALSA embarked on an ambitious journey to create the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. Its culmination was The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, or Futures Report for short. The report’s purpose is to provide a roadmap for 21st century teen library services. Its hashtag, #act4teens, boldly reinforces the report’s subtitle. For me, #act4teens is akin to the Yoda quote, “Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” We must act to move teen services in our libraries forward.
YALSA and the Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce created several #act4teens resources that can be found on the National Forum on Libraries and Teens’ shared resources page, which directs you to three types of tools designed to help you #act4teens at your library and in your community.
- One-page fact sheets to give to a variety of different audiences to raise awareness and excitement about the future of library services for and with teens. Factsheets are geared to the following audiences:
- Community members, partners, and advocates
- Faculty and researches at library and information science schools
- Library staff
- School administrators and principles
- Library trustees
- Canned presentations to use when you present the report to others and again can be used with a variety of audiences.
- A tip sheet geared specifically to help you bring the ideas of the Futures Report to administrators. The tip sheet provides strategies for starting a dialogue with your supervisor about the report and its implications. It also provides steps on how to start moving forward to reimagine services for and with teens in your community.
You Are Important in Helping Move the Future of Library Services for Teens Forward
The only way the recommendations of YALSA’s Futures Report will become a reality is if library staff work to make change happen. Therefore, YOU play a key role in moving teen services forward. You can do this by: talking with others about the report, highlighting small steps you’ve taken along with being honest about the challenges you face can help move #act4teens forward. Talking about the Futures Report is, quite possibly, the best way to spread the movements it calls for forward beyond your community. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ways to begin:
- Use social media using #act4teens. Tell @yalsa what you have been up to directly through Twitter or through the “How I #act4teens” form.
- Challenge yourself to do one small thing to #act4teens. Then, share what you did with others.
- Discuss the Futures Report with colleagues. Talk about how to act as well as your challenges through email, social media, phone calls, a virtual hangout, or in person.
- Talk about the Futures Report at conferences. Host an unconference discussion or present on your #act4teens story at a conference.
- Use the new resources mentioned above to talk to others about the report.
The more we let each other know what we are doing and how we are moving teen services forward, the easier it is to implement reimagined services within our communities. Your tiny victory may be an aha moment for someone else, or your challenge might be a common one that–when discussed with others–leads to strong solutions. Not every #act4teens moment needs to be transformative, but each tiny one that we share can have a snowball effect that leads to better teen services at our libraries.