by Paulina Haduong
I’m an Ed.M. Candidate in Technology, Innovation, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This semester, I’ve been a student with Library Test Kitchen, a library innovation class at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I’m working on a class project right now that’s designed for teens and YA librarians, and I’d love to get some input!
For the last few months, I’ve been fascinated by the YA GoodReads community, and the recent trend of using GIFs in book reviews. To that end, I’ve been developing a kind of “photo booth” for use in a library’s teen room. The gist of the concept is that teens (or anyone, really), would be able to scan a book and make a selfie-GIF as a #bookfeel. I’m playing around with the idea here, and the outputs are on this Tumblr. In theory, the app would sit on a computer inside of a cardboard photo booth.
by author Jill Williamson
What’s a friend or family member to do when a loved one has gone astray? Should we speak up? Let them know what we think of their reckless behavior? Or do we avoid confrontation and simply try and be a good friend, waiting until our loved one is ready to ask for help or confide in us?
Is there an in-between for teens? Is there a perfect answer?
In my book Captives, Omar, the youngest of the Elias brothers, makes a deal with the enemy, hoping to carve out a better future for himself. But his plan backfires when Safe Lands enforcers kill dozens of his village people. Omar is left bearing the title of traitor, hated by many who were once his friends. This wasn’t how things were supposed to happen. The guilt is overwhelming.
by Stacy Katz
At Gann Academy, the language of the middot, soul traits like truth (emet) and humility (anavah), are used often to describe our habits of mind and habits of heart. But using those to describe how we read a book about a post-apocalyptic world? Apparently, that’s just how Gann Academy rolls.
For those of you who haven’t read Divergent, the bestselling young adult novel by Veronica Roth, here’s the short, not too spoilery synopsis. In a post-apocalyptic world, the population is divided into factions. The factions – Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite, were formed based on the evils that they saw in society, and in human nature. Those who blamed selfishness formed Abnegation; those who blamed aggression formed Amity, and so on and so forth. Everyone is born into a faction and then goes through an aptitude test at 16. They then must choose a faction and complete initiation into that faction, or risk becoming factionless. To be factionless is a fate worse than death since they abide by the mantra of “faction before blood.”
Most of us probably don’t read that synopsis and immediately think of “Mussar” or even Jewish values. But isn’t Abnegation the same as the middah of anavah (humility) or Amity as chesed (kindness), Candor as emet (truth), dauntless as zerizut (enthusiasm) and erudite as chochma (wisdom)? (more…)
on behalf of the MAE Award Jury
The MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens recognizes an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults. Learn more about the 2013 winner–you could be next!
Kristen Pelfrey, a teacher at Foothill Technology High School, won the 2013 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens with her program “Best Fiction (about) Young Adults Revolution.” She has continued the Revolution this school year, and spoke by email about her experiences with the MAE Award:
How did winning this award affect how you were viewed at your school or community? How did your students react?
My kids were not surprised at all. They were “Well, yeah, that’s cool” and then immediately made requests for books they want to read. I, on the other hand, went shrieking into the main office and danced down the hall with a copy of the notification email. The entire Underground Library is funded by grant money, and we always need more books. I think that winning this award has helped me get other grant monies. I asked for a matching grant from our parent organization, for example. People seem more inclined to award grants if they see how an organization like ALA/YALSA put the stamp of approval on it. (more…)
by author Jonathan Friesen
I awoke from my nap to this sight: My son, eight-years old, standing on the deck. I saw him through my bedroom window, and watched as he stared up at the sky.
He began to conduct. With large flourishes, that kid swept his arms to and fro, and the rain fell, soft at first and then harder and harder as he gestured with more drama. He was soaked, and he was in his glory. Finally, the rain slowed, and the wind died. He held his hands above his head for a good half minute, silencing the last drop. My son turned, paused and turned back, waving at the clouds, thanking the One who for five minutes gave him control of the sky.
He has absolutely no interest in dystopians.
My eight-year old stares with eyes of wonder at the everyday of life. Sudden storms, the new kittens, the old oak. He shrugs off the hundreds of controls placed on his very regulated existence: get up at seven, gather the chicken eggs, don a fresh shirt, etc. The rules and regulations that order his young world don’t bother him in the least. (more…)
Librarians can be modest about their accomplishments, but shining light on your great teen programs can be a great advocacy activity. And don’t you know someone who can use some recognition for their hard work for YALSA? The deadline for many of YALSA’s recognition and awards is fast approaching.
YALSA Volunteer of the Year Awards
This was new last year and acknowledges the contributions of YALSA members who have demonstrated outstanding service to the mission, goals and work of YALSA during a given service year. There are three categories:
- Chair: leadership of an advisory board, jury, committee or task force
- Appointed Member: contributions within an advisory board, jury, committee or task force
- Group: work conducted as a whole by an advisory board, jury, committee or task force (more…)
by Mirele Davis and Elizabeth Savopoulos
In order to spark more interest in recreational reading, our school library decided to throw an Ender’s Game party in anticipation of the release of the Ender’s Game movie. Our library at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School had never had an event like this in its history, and we were proud to be the pioneers. The goal, we decided, was to stimulate student interest in reading the book and in reading for pleasure in general. We began preparing a month in advance, posting announcements on our website, putting up flyers around the school, and making special announcements during lunch-time and advisory meetings.
We selected a student who was enthusiastic about the project to take on a formal participatory role in planning the event. He attended planning meetings, helped with advertising, and contributed to the overall vision and goals of the event. We advertised a space-themed party that would include neon snacks, space-themed video games, a spaceship Lego building contest, and a simulated laser-tag battle based on the tournaments in Ender’s Game. (more…)
by Eleanor Guldbeck
Have you been running teen events for years at your library but want to try something bigger? Would you love to see hundreds of teens invade your library? Are you ready to shake up your library a bit and have a completely new event? Do you want an excuse to have a rock band play at your library, have a zombie walk, and have a karaoke contest on the same day? Young adult librarians all have experience putting together fun, quirky and amazing programs for teens. The trick is to bundle these activities together on one day, make them bigger, better, and louder and add a few extra special events.
As Young Adult Librarians know, there aren’t many places teens can hang out, much less attend a safe and fun all-day festivals. There are many Family Festivals out there but very few festivals just for teens. The Miami–Dade Public Library System has been attracting over 1,000 teens to the Teen Zone Festival for the past five years. Over the years we have featured teen rock bands, speed haiku, video gaming tournaments, manga giveaways, Hunger Game Crafts, book discussions, Cosplay contests, story slams, Steampunk crafts, zombie walks and more.
I want to share with you some of the tips we have learned over the years.
Prepare a Timeline
You already know that you are better off planning this event months in advance. There are a lot of decisions that you will need to make right away, like the date, the location, the budget, and the staffing level. Plus, there may be many deadlines that you can’t control such as marketing, permits, contacting authors or booking a local band. (more…)
On behalf of the MAE Award Jury
Do you run a spectacular teen book club that engages underserved audiences? Did your summer reading program or literature festival connect teens with literature in an innovative way? Have you connected teens to literature or helped them gain literacy skills via some other exciting means? If so, you could win $500 for yourself and an additional $500 for your library by applying for award. Individual library branches may apply.
YALSA members who have run an exceptional reading or literature program in the 12 months leading up to Dec. 1, 2013 are eligible to apply for the MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, which recognizes an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults.
The MAE Award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Applications and additional information about the award are available online. Applications must be submitted online by Dec. 1, 2013. For questions about the award, please contact the jury chair, Laurie Amster-Burton. The winner will be announced the week of Feb. 9, 2014.
Not a member of YALSA yet? It’s not too late to join so you can be eligible for this award. You can do so by contacting YALSA’s Membership Marketing Specialist, Letitia Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390.
Recognize the great work you are doing to bring teens together with literature and apply today
Everyone’s talking about STEM (or the arts-added version showcased in the October issue of School Library Journal), and YALSA’s STEM task force produced an updated toolkit earlier this year to provide 41 pages of STEM programming resources just for young adult librarians.
If you’re stumped for ideas and looking how to integrate science, technology, engineering and math into your program schedule, look no further than YALSA’s STEM Toolkit.
It includes step-by-step program plans, advocacy information if you need to justify your program plans, resources, and dozens of ideas to get your program going. Chock-full of research on best practices and “why” STEM should be a priority for library professionals, the toolkit highlights the importance of developing a thorough program plan and guides you through initial brainstorming efforts to an adaptable teenprogram evaluation. Passive and active programming ideas from around the country are included,including three immediately replicable projects.
Check it out today! And thanks to STEM Task Force Member Jennifer Knight for the heads-up on this great resource.