I am pleased to announce the publication of a special themed issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA). Volume 6, Issue 4 features practice-based research, with five papers that showcase best practices for the application of research to public and school library services.
With her paper “Find Poetry: Using Found Poems in School and Public Libraries to Enhance Student Creativity and Writing,” Janet Hilbun suggests using found poetry with teens to create dynamic educational library programs. She provides guidelines for writing found poems and shows how writing found poems leads to increased critical thinking skills and creative thinking, and deepens teens’ engagement with written language. Hilbun concludes with suggestions for a host of library programs featuring found poetry activities.
Teen librarians have long used booktalks to excite teens about books and reading. In “Book Tweets and Snappy Reads: Booktalking to Engage Millennial Teens,” Vanessa Irvin offers a set of six new types of research-based booktalks that are likely to appeal to today’s teens. These booktalking techniques use social media and other technologies to excite teens about books and to encourage the development of lifelong reading habits. The six booktalking techniques include: the Book Tweet, the Wrap Back, the Open End, the Graphic Form, the Snap’n Read, and Power-Full Points. Each is suitable for use in a range of public and school library settings.
Based on classroom visits, library observation sessions, and interviews with teachers, librarians, and school administrators, Clayton Copeland and Karen Gavigan describe a case study of inclusive middle school library programming in their paper “Examining Inclusive Programming in a Middle School Library: A Case Study of Adolescents Who Are Differently- and Typically-Able.” They found educational benefits for both differently-able and typically-able students who took park in inclusive library programming as well as social skills and community building benefits for all student participants. The authors provide a list of recommendations for librarians who are interested in achieving a culture of inclusiveness in their own school or public libraries.
Public libraries are community centers, and as such, involving community members in the design of public library programs and services should be a core goal of effective teen library services. In “YouthStudio: Designing Public Library YA Spaces with Teens,” Colin Rhinesmith, Molly Dettmann, Michael Pierson, and Rebecca Spence describe their experiences in working with teens and librarians through a community/university partnership to redesign a public library teen space. Teens involved in the project wanted their library space to serve as a comfortable hangout space, a space for informal learning, and a place for community information exchange. They learned new technology skills as a part of project participation, and they developed new leadership skills. The study shows the value of including community members in action research projects, including both teens and librarians, to put into practice lessons learned from theory and research.
In “Future of Library and Museum Services Supporting Teen Learning: Perceptions of Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces,” June Abbas and Kyungwon Koh discuss the growing trend of opening learning spaces, such as makerspace and learning labs, in libraries and museums. Based on in-depth interviews with nine professionals working in learning spaces in U.S. libraries and museums, the authors describe key challenges, achievements, and goals in implementing and maintaining teen learning spaces. They also offer suggestions for better positioning library and information science (LIS) professional education to prepare students for successful work in running learning spaces and in working toward expanding the educational range and impact of library and museum services for teens.
JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.
Denise E. Agosto, editor, JRLYA