Celebrating Teen Read Week at an Urban Independent School

I work as an independent school librarian in Brooklyn, NY. Our school serves grades PK-12 with two separate libraries. We have a PK-4 space and a space for grades 5-12. Our Non-Fiction is integrated with stickers signifying approximate age range. We have three separate fiction sections which are Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult.

As a school librarian, Teen Read Week is often blended into the background but that doesn’t mean it is not celebrated.  In October, we are just getting into the groove of being back at school, the book clubs have just begun gaining momentum and the bulletin boards are in their full display glory.

I often like to keep things on my desk because it sparks student interest. I have lot of tsotchkes that the kids often look at or ask to play around with. In that same vein I often keep signs, displays and bookmarks on my desk. I buy a lot of supplies from the ALA store and make sure to have those out at least a week before. I also buy extra things to give out to my book clubs.

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A Fresh Start

Warren, Ohio is deep in the rust belt. What was once a bustling factory town is now deeply impoverished, where every child qualifies for free breakfast and lunch at school each day. For these teens, just one manga replacement charge can render an account unusable. Once a card reaches five dollars in fines, it cannot be used to check anything out, and accounts are placed into collection once the $25 fine threshold is reached.

The Youth Services Manager and I felt this was unfairly punishing our teen population, especially since we don’t offer any way to work off their fines, either through reading or volunteering. All juvenile cards are the responsibility of the parents who signed up for them, and as any member of the family can use the card, oftentimes fines are accrued for items that teen didn’t check out. Personally, it breaks my heart each time a teen wants to check out books but can’t.

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New Pew Report on Younger Americans and Public Libraries

Today, the Pew Research Center released a new report titled “Younger Americans and Public Libraries: How those under 30 engage with libraries and think about libraries’ role in their lived and communities.” This report surveys younger Americans ages 16-29, which they found were three different generations, according to reading habits, library usage patterns, and attitudes about libraries. The youngest of the three generations is comprised of high schoolers (ages 16-17), the next generation is college-aged (18-24), and the third generation is 25-29. Library usage among these groups together is significantly higher than those of older generations with 50% reporting having used a library of bookmobile and 36% reporting having used a library website (this is up from 28% in 2012) within the previous 12 months.

Recent library Use

 

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Why We Love to Listen: YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Previously, you learned about what it takes to serve on the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. Here, some of the current Amazing Audiobooks committee members explain why they love to listen.

Sarah Hashimoto is serving on her first year as a committee member:

I remember listening to The Hunger Games when it first came out on audio in 2008. I was new to audios at the time and was unprepared for how much of an impact they can make. I was listening and gardening when I came to the scene just after Rue has died, when Katniss receives the bread from Rue’s people. It’s such a poignant scene, but the audio version really brought it to life for me. I ended up weeping into my garden gloves, creating a scene of my own!

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A Look at YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Committee

Each year after the Midwinter conference, YALSA releases a list of 25-30 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. The list is the result of hundreds of hours of listening, discussion and debate by the nine-member Amazing Audiobooks committee. The committee also names the top 10 best titles of the year. Committee members generally serve two year terms. We are librarians, professors, and retirees. We work for public libraries, universities, schools, and community colleges. In addition to the nine committee members, we have one extraordinarily hard-working administrative assistant who does not cast votes, but does receive titles and can listen as much as she chooses.

In February, the committee begins gathering possible titles for the next year’s list. We get audiobooks in a number of different ways. First, we make suggestions. Any audiobook published in the last two years with relevance for teens is eligible for the list, so we seek out recent titles. We love to get suggestions from other librarians! If you’d like to nominate a title for Amazing Audiobooks, the form is here. We also receive boxes (and boxes and boxes) of submissions directly from publishers.

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District Days 101: Planning an Event with a Politician

By: Annie Schutte is Director of Libraries and Center for Inquiry at the Maret School in Washington, DC.

Libraries are doing amazing work in our communities, so don’t you want your elected officials to know about it? Your senators and representatives are your direct link to federal policies that determine library funding, and they’re more likely to support programs when they have first-hand knowledge of how they work for their (and your) constituents. The best way to educate your elected officials is to invite them to an event at your library (see: District Days 101: How to Get an Elected Official to Your Library).

Follow these eight easy steps, and you should be well on your way to hosting a successful event for your elected official, your patrons, and your library.

1. Start with a pre-existing event. You don’t need to create something special for your elected official. Pick an event you’re already doing that would give you an opportunity to show off a library program or educate your Congressperson about the type of work your library is doing. An example would be asking a Congressperson to participate in the culminating summer reading event at your library.

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District Days 101: How to Get an Elected Official to Your Library

By: Annie Schutte is Director of Libraries and Center for Inquiry at the Maret School in Washington, DC.

It’s August in Washington, DC–four glorious weeks when the nation’s capitol empties out as congressional staffers sneak off for vacation and their bosses head back home to shake hands, kiss babies, and maybe even visit your library. But how do you get an elected to agree to come to an event at your library? Just follow these five easy steps:

1. Remember that elected officials work for you. Members of Congress may spend a lot of time off in Washington, but they’re there to represent you and your library patrons. They get long stretches of time away from DC so that they can connect with their constituents back home. One of the best ways for them to do that is to attend local events, but they’re probably not going to come to yours unless you extend an invitation. So what are you waiting for? Find out who your elected officials are and how to contact their local offices here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/

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ALA Annual 2014: Great Graphic Novels For Teens

GGNFT-ThomasTraci

Among the many selection and award committees choosing books at ALA Annual in Las Vegas this year, Traci Glass and I (pictured) served on Great Graphic Novels For Teens June 28-29 and put together this Q&A to give people an idea of what selection committees are like.

Rather than come up with our own questions, I asked some of my library’s Teen Center residents to prompt us. As it turns out, they didn’t know quite what to ask. I rephrased the task: “Imagine I just told you I was one of eleven people to vote on the Oscars. What would you want to know?” The following questions were rapidly delivered.

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Planning for District Days

By: Rachel McDonald

As teen-serving library staff, we see the value of libraries in our communities every day. Whether it’s through job readiness workshops, STEM programs, or book clubs, we can attest to the ways in which our programs engage teens, offer them safe spaces, and prepare them for adulthood. But how often do we think to share our successes with our elected officials? District Days is our opportunity to do just that.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t thinking about District Days way back in March when my manager emailed asking me to identify two summer programs that I thought would be good events to invite our local representatives to. He explained that the best events are ones that you will personally attend, where you expect good attendance, and will generate photo ops. I chose the two robotics workshops for tweens that our library was offering in partnership with a local FIRST robotics team (yay, Skunkworks 1983!). Since the workshops had been super successful at other libraries and we were requiring patrons to register, there was no chance of an elected official showing up to an empty room. My manager gathered program information from all the children’s and teen librarians across four libraries, compiled it, and sent invitations to our elected officials, from the mayor to our state representatives.

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YALSA’s 2014 Maker Contest

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By: Amy Boese, Member of Makerspace Resources Taskforce

Summer is so full of riches – sunshine and gardens and summer reading programs are all happening fast and furious. So share the wealth!

You can’t send everyone a jar of your grandma’s dilly beans, but you can certainly tell the YALSA world what went down with your latest and greatest making project. Ready to go? You can find all the details here.

Making in the library comes in all shapes and sizes. From basic circuitry and LED-infused clothing, to building bridges out of rubber bands and robots out of toothbrushes, you’re making some amazing things out there in libraryland.

Often for me, the pieces of a great idea comes from a tweet or a fleeting image on Instagram, (I’m forever grateful, paper rollercoaster pioneers!) but filling in the substance of those programs can require more work. The YALSA Maker Contest 2014 wants to pull all the greatest making ideas together so we can send out the details and *everyone* can be more successful.

Plus, you can win fabulous prizes and the accolades of your peers!

To sum up, here are the basic criteria:
– Did you introduce making in your library? (See the Making in the Library Toolkit)
– Were you specifically reaching young adults? (ages 12-18 years)
– Did your program happen this summer? (June-August 2014)
– Did your program demonstrate an innovative approach to engaging teens through making?

You have until Sept. 1, 2014 to submit your application.

I am so excited to see what you’ve made with your summer!