YALSA Snack Break: Youth Engagement & Leadership

YALSA’s February 2018 webinar focused on how informal learning institutions can support teen leadership development by engaging with youth in community action projects. In this webinar clip, Eli Weiss, the webinar facilitator, discusses the Youth Engagement Pyramid (developed by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality) and the importance of using a framework like this when designing and assessing youth led projects and activities.


While watching the webinar I, and other participants, noted key takeaways:

  • It’s important to look at where youth are going in out of school time in order to be engaged. It’s the engagement that is valuable. And, by discovering where youth are engaged libraries can connect with potential community partners and teen interests.
  • Listening to youth is key in determining how to support their needs and interests. The listening needs to be active and needs to allow for flexibility in planning and responsiveness to what teens are saying, suggesting, etc.
  • Library staff need to reflect on what they and others mean when using the phrase “safe space.” Who are adults focused on when using that phrase? What is the cost to certain communities when thinking about and referring to safe spaces?
  • What we name the group(s) of teens with whom we provide leadership opportunities is important. For example, calling a teen group a teen action network sends a specific and important message.

Those are just a few of the webinar takeaways. Members can access the full session (login required). Non-members may purchase the full webinar. Don’t forget that all of YALSA’s webinars for the rest of 2018 are free to everyone and focus on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library staff. Learn more.

About 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.
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