As the Maker Movement gains momentum across the country in schools and libraries, YALSA’s Cultural Competence Task Force is encouraging organizers to think about ways to expand the scope of maker programs to broaden their appeal to all kids. Making isn’t just about robots and Legos, and it’s not just for the “nerdy” boy. In fact there are many developments and initiatives that are changing the definition of makers and making that we want to highlight. From Black Girls Code, New York City’s Mouse.org, DreamYard’s DIY Dream it Yourself, the Community Science Workshop Network, to programs like Able Gamers and the Washington D.C. Public Library’s “DIY Fair for People with (and without) Disabilities”, we are seeing a concerted effort to engage and include children from underserved communities so they may envision a future for themselves in the tech world.
Another important direction for the maker movement is to step away from the robots and find opportunities to include maker activities that tap into a broader range of cultures and traditions. A research group at MIT called High Low Tech is a wonderful source of information about this topic and offers tutorials for some amazing and unique projects. We take particular inspiration from Leah Buechley, a designer, engineer, and educator who likes to create tools and programs that mix together cutting edge technology with traditional art forms (her inventions include the Lilypad Arduino). A great discussion of equity and the maker movement, and a nice shout out to Buechley’s work, can also be found at Rafi Santo’s blog.
If you’ve been thinking about how you can incorporate the maker movement into your library programming, we encourage you to take some time to explore these resources and find ways to connect with kids who may not think “making” is for them.
submitted by YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force
The mission of the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force is to help you incorporate cultural competence into your everyday work, and to increase the relevance and value of our libraries as partners in our communities, especially in reaching traditionally underserved young adults. Kim Dare, 2014-2015 Chair
YALSA has released a new publication titled, Teen Services 101: A Practical Guide for Busy Library Staff, written by Megan Fink.
The new and down-to-earth publication aims to give library staff who are new or simply unfamiliar with serving teen patrons a realistic guide that can help them efficiently and effectively reach this segment of the community.
According to YALSA President Chris Shoemaker, “this new book fills a gap in the publishing world. We know from PLA’s 2012 PLDS Statistical Report that two-thirds of libraries do not have a teen services specialist on staff. This book is designed to help those libraries provide a core set of teen services, even if their resources are limited.”
Chapters within the guide cover real-world topics such as planning teen programs and making the library space welcoming to teens. The book also provides information about how libraries can increase their impact through community partnerships.
Teen Services 101: A Practical Guide for Busy Library Staff is on sale now for $40 in the ALA store. YALSA/ALA members receive a 10-percent discount. Learn more about YALSA’s other products and publications here.
Limited copies of the publication are available to LIS faculty for review. To request a copy, please fill out this form.
For the full press release see: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2015/02/new-yalsa-publication-teen-services-101-sale-now
The ALA Midwinter Meeting has ended, but the time to focus on YALSA's work has just begun. The YALSA Board of Directors voted at the Board II meeting to establish a YALSA Board Diversity Taskforce. This taskforce has a charge to analyze the current board recruitment and selection policies, procedures and resources, and recommend improvements in order to bring more ongoing diversity to the YALSA Board.
Chris Shoemaker, YALSA's President, is seeking members who are willing to serve on this new group. As a virtual group, there are no travel requirements to serve on this taskforce, and the group will conduct its work between March 2015 and June 2016. Find out more about the task force from the board document. If you're interested in serving, please fill out the volunteer form by no later than March 1st.
Have questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to YALSA President, Christopher Shoemaker at email@example.com.
We have all been in a situation where a manager or someone in a decision-making position makes a change that leaves everyone else saying, “What were they thinking? This is a mistake!” However, once the details of the decision process are learned, everyone usually agrees that it makes sense. The lack of information shared upfront when the change is announced can cause lots of unnecessary stress.
Change management was a phrase I have heard before and thought was corporate jargon. I started reading up on it to discuss it at the recent YALSA Exec Board fall meeting and realized how important it can be to lay a foundation for success. Change management is all about creating a well-thought out plan to see a change to fruition. One important part of that plan is communication. If the decision maker not only tells you what the change is, but also why it is happening, how it will be a positive change, the potential hazards of not making the change, and what everyone can do to help make the change happen smoothly, it can iron out the speed bumps created by misunderstanding and frustration.
In an effort to spread the idea of effective change management at a time when YALSA members are working to implement the ideas in The Future of Library Services For and With Teens report, the YALSA Board at Midwinter 2015 will be discussing a proposal to establish communication best practices. You can read the full document and all additional board docs on the YALSA governance page. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about this topic, please feel free to contact me, Carrie Kausch, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any other board member. If you will be attending Midwinter in Chicago, find us at the Saturday YALSA happy hour at Tavern Tap Pub at the Congress Plaza Hotel located at 520 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. Drop in any time between 5:30 and 7pm Saturday night!
Have you wanted to serve on a selection committee, but couldn’t manage to attend both Midwinter and Annual conferences? You’re not alone! In the 2014 Member Survey, several members stated they were looking for ways to get involved with YALSA virtually. For the past two years, YALSA has piloted the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee and the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee as virtual committees. Virtual committees allow members who are not able to attend conferences to participate in selection committees, thereby making the organization stronger as more members are engaged in YALSA’s mission and work. Members of both committees were surveyed in April 2014 and their comments were mostly positive. Some members mentioned that communication on their virtual committees was more frequent than was their experience on traditional face-to-face committees. Board document #15 recommends that going forward, Margaret A. Edwards and PPYA should be virtual committees. The document also explores what other committees might be candidates for a future pilot and what additional support or training members of virtual committees might need. Remember, we’ll be live tweeting from board meetings, so please follow @yalsa for more details.
Questions, concerns or suggestions? Please send them to the following members of the YALSA Board Standing Committee on Membership:
Krista McKenzie (Chair)
By Nicola McDonald
My role as YALSA Board Fellow has been such a rewarding learning and sharing experience! This Midwinter will be my first official full meeting as a board member and I’m looking forward to it.
Over the past six months, in addition to some wonderful things I’ve been able to do like work with specific chairs to help their committee work run smoothly and participating in various board and topic discussions, I was also able to write a board proposal around diversity on the YALSA board. All recent board documents will be presented during the YALSA Board meeting in Chicago at ALA Midwinter.
Originating as a Mega Issue that was discussed during ALA's 2014 conference, I decided to continue with the topic as a part of my YALSA board project. I'm proposing that YALSA focuses on taking steps to increase and maintain diversity on the board.
If you're heading to Chicago, be sure to stop in and check out this and other topics that will be discussed and decided on. Check out YALSA events in Chicago during Midwinter. Even if you won't be joining us in Chicago, you can follow @YALSA for updates on board actions as there will be live Tweets from the meetings.
As of this morning, YALSA is $205 away from reaching our end-of-the year fundraising goal of $1,000. If we hit our goal, a donor has agreed to match it with a $1,000 donation of their own! Please consider making a donation to Friends of YALSA, which supports $16,000 worth of grants, scholarships and awards each year for library staff. Donations can be made online, and details are here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/givetoyalsa/give. Donations can also be made via text message. Simply, text ALA TEENALA to this number: 41518 to make a $10 donation to YALSA. Thank you for your support and have a wonderful new year!
In March of 2014, Albany Public Library was awarded a YALSA Teen Tech Week grant, supporting a music production program we were excited to try. We called it Build-A-Song, and the idea was to help teens create an original song from scratch, in just five days. Thanks to the YALSA grant, and with additional assistance from our local Guitar Center, we put together a mobile recording setup that included a Mac Mini with GarageBand and ProTools Express, PreSonus USB Audio Interface, two microphones with a stand and vocal pop filter, studio monitor speakers, headphones, and a MIDI keyboard. We already owned several guitars that we used for free music instruction programs, as well as several percussion instruments; with these and the software instruments available, we had all the ingredients for a full band. To actually build the song, we dedicated one day to each of the following: drums and bass, guitars and keyboards, electronic effects, vocals, and finally mixing and mastering. We also put out lyric prompts and a submission jar, and invited teens to write anything from a word to a couplet or even full song. These would provide material and inspiration when it came time to record vocals. We decided to record in the middle of our busy youth services room, valuing participation over pristine recording conditions.
We started the first day by showing teens the basics of the recording software. We decided to use GarageBand because of its easier learning curve and since we have several iPads for teen use that have it installed. Teens chose a tempo, and then collectively selected a pre-recorded beat to work from -- this was the only component of the final song not composed or played by teens. Next, they used the MIDI keyboard to trigger various drum and percussion sounds and create their own beats. The bassline came next, which was created by lowering the pitch of an electric guitar two octaves . Though they were encouraged to do so, none of the teens wanted to try playing the guitar themselves, so one of the youth services librarians became their hands and played notes and ultimately a full bass riff dictated by teens.
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Back in January YALSA released its report, "The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action." The report provides recommendations for ways libraries can evolve in order to better meet the needs of 21st century teens. YALSA would like to hear from the library community and beyond how this report has impacted you and your institution so far. What changes have you made in regards to serving teens or new things have you tried? What have been your successes and challenges up to now? What ideas did the report spark as you read it? Please take a moment to fill out a brief online form to tell us about what's been going on with you and your institution since the report came out. Some of the information we gather will be featured in upcoming issues of YALS.
Also, don't forget that you can access free resources to help you and your organization learn more about some of the key issues in the report, like connected learning, cultural competence, and more via YALSA's web site. We'll be adding even more resources there over the next few weeks, so check back often.