Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Teen Growth and Development

This year’s Presidential theme of Striving for Equity using YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, has provided a unique opportunity to examine the competencies and talk about some practical applications for both school and public library staff who work with teens. I’m hoping this post will provide you with some research and ideas to help you develop, practice, and transform your work regarding the first competency: Teen Growth and Development. If you haven’t already done so, please watch Linda Braun’s webinar on this topic!

While there are basic benchmarks that relate to teen development it is important to consider cultural differences that are unique to your community in order to best plan programs and evaluate library resources. The following bibliography is in no way a comprehensive list of resources available, rather, it is meant as a starting point to investigate ways you can meet the needs of your teens. Not all resources are library specific, these links are meant to not only provide ideas for immediate use, but also to provoke thought on this important topic. Please comment with any links that you think are relevant to this topic!

What the Research Says:

Afterschool Matters – Number 26, Fall 2017 This issue contains the article: Equity and Inclusion An Action Agenda for Youth Development Professionals which focuses on out-of-school time and what professionals who work with teens can do to make their environment more inclusive and welcoming.

Center for Parent and Teen Communication – while this website is meant to foster open communication between parents and teens, it has a lot of great ideas that we can implement in both school and public libraries.

Developmental Equity: Path to Student Success?Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D. – This article focuses on developmental equity in schools. 

Exploring Ethnic-Racial Identity – Leah Shafer discusses new research that shows the benefits of helping teens explore their background.

The Frameworks Institute – This non-profit think tank has extensive research on youth development. The site has links to various research done in this area. The think tank is also interested in helping youth advocates frame policy discussions.

Using Technology to Support Equity and Inclusion in Youth Library Programming: Current Practices and Future Opportunities – Mega Subramaniam, Ligaya Scaff, Saba Kawas, Kelly M. Hoffman, and Katie Davis

Youth as People: the Protective Aspects of Youth Development in After-School Settings – Heather Johnston Nicholson, Christopher Collins, Heidi Holmer – Discusses the importance of youth-centered programming that makes teens feel supported.

Programming Ideas:

ACT for Youth: Your Online Source for Positive Youth Development – This toolkit provides resources for understanding youth development, as well as activities and programming to use with teens.

The Compassionate Maker – This guide will show you how to support children and young adults as they explore societal themes, such as compassion, empathy, and social action through the creation of authentic content and products.

SLJ’s Teen Librarian Toolbox – From the website: Here are some pre packaged programs (that are easily adaptable) for you to use.  If you do use a program, or part of a program, please consider taking some pictures and dropping us a line to let us know. See also Tech Talk.

YALSA Teen Programming HQ – Use this website to find and share library programs for and with teens as well as to connect with others who plan, implement and evaluate teen programs. Programs featured on this site are those that align with the standards in YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines.

Books for Further Reading:

  • Differing Abilities and the Library:Fostering Equity for Patrons and Staff with Disabilities – Clayton A. Copeland, Editor
  • Equity Visits: A New Approach to Supporting Equity-Focused School and District Leadership – Rachel Roegman
  • Safe is Not Enough: Better Schools for LGBTQ Youth – Michael Sadowski
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race – Beverly Daniel Tatum Ph.D.
  • Why Gender Matters, Second Edition: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences – Leonard Sax M.D. Ph.D.

Melissa McBride is a YALSA Board Member. She currently works in a K-6 school on the North Fork of Long Island. She has also worked as a high school librarian and a teen services librarian at a local public library. In 2018, she was named the Suffolk School Library Media Association’s School Librarian of the Year. When she’s not in a library she can be found on her paddle board, at her local taco shop, or at a concert or music festival.

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