Dollar General Grant Winner: Teen Interns @ Bartlett Public Library District

The Bartlett Public Library District had nine teen interns during the summer of 2018 which was made possible by the generosity of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA. The nine teen interns (Ayesha, Abby, Abigail, Andrew, Cailin, Emily, Ian, Safa, and Sakhee) learned about teamwork, problem solving, and customer service skills by working with and for library staff as the teens designed and facilitated programs for youth. The assistance of the teen interns made it possible to offer four more programs that did not require registration each week at the Bartlett Public Library.

Abigail shows off a puppet craft that she taught to youth.

The nine interns were split into different groups: one assisted library staff with a Readers’ Theater program, four were STEM/LEGO program interns, and four were Craft program interns. Each group had an hour each week for planning and preparation of their activity and then an hour to run the program. Each week, Ruth Anne Mielke and I (the direct supervisors’ for the interns) checked in with the teen interns to make sure that they had the supplies they needed and to see how comfortable they felt with how the program ran that day and if they had suggestions for the next week. This weekly check-in was an essential part of engaging with the teen interns and ensuring that their internship was beneficial to them and the library.

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YALSA Dollar General Grant Implementation and School Collaboration

This is my second year working as the children & youth services librarian at my small library in Bath County, Kentucky on the edge of Appalachia. Last year, it was nearly impossible to get teens into the library — I averaged one every two weeks! So in September 2017, I approached the high school librarian and proposed hosting a morning book club at the high school library. With her help promoting to students in school, we met with about 20 teens every Monday morning during their study zone. We covered many of the YA novels that were nominated for a 2017-2018 Kentucky Bluegrass Award and concluded the school year with a lesson on adulting (at the request of the teens!). Through this weekly book club, the teens began to get to know me and request books from the public library that I was able to check out to them using the mobile app for our library ILS.

Our final project for summer reading – a mental health display with inspirational quotes, random acts of kindness, and book suggestions.

I applied for the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning grant in the spring and when I received it, I knew exactly how I would get more than the 1 or 2 teens I had the previous summer. I started by offering my book club group the opportunity to form an advisory council at the public library and I lured them in with food. This got the teens into the library and gave them some ownership over the YA stacks. Of the twenty teens in the book club, five formed the Teen Advisory Council. Through their suggestions on programming needs and books, I was able to create a series of programs that would fit into the CSLP theme “Libraries Rock” and would provide the teens with much needed mental health and self-care resources.

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Dollar General Grant Winner: Using teen interns to bring more services to bilingual and underserved patrons

The Hall County Library System in Gainesville, Georgia serves a diverse community, with over 28% of the population Hispanic. The library system has made it a priority to better serve the county’s diverse community, as well as to provide more outreach services, especially in the eastern part of the county where the East Hall Branch had been closed due to budget cuts.

Allysa reviewing the children’s Spanish books with me. Photo by Deborah Hakes with GPLS.

HCLS received a generous grant from Dollar General to hire two bilingual interns to help during the 2018 Summer Reading Program. Their work would mainly focus on helping develop better library services to Hispanic youth and families. In addition, they would help assist at the summer pop up library and programs at the East Hall Community Center. One intern worked 16 hours a week in June and the second intern worked in July. Rising junior, Alyssa Ramos and rising senior, Doris Toledo were selected out of several applications. The first week of the summer reading program, Alyssa Ramos helped sign up patrons for library cards and the summer reading program at the Hispanic Alliance’s Health Fair. Alyssa and Doris also helped translate into Spanish new library marketing materials and community services information.
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Career Readiness Learning Day for our Summer Youth Leaders @ Pearl Bailey Library

We last checked into our Summer Youth Leaders @ Pearl Bailey Branch in Newport News here. Along with all of the training they get as part of the Wickham Avenue Alliance Youth Leadership Program and with their work helping us in our library, these teens also learn valuable skills related to joining the workforce. Using the Career Investigations Curriculum, and thanks to the generosity of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA, we designed an interactive day of activities to teach our Summer Youth Leaders (14-15 year olds) where to look to apply for jobs online, all of the rules regarding youth employment in the state of Virginia, help them to design a resume, and how to prepare for and participate in a job interview.

Career Readiness Training Day was a hit with our Summer Youth Leaders, thanks to the teaching and patience of Ms. Andreia Nelson of the C. Waldo Scott Center, a partner in the Wickham Avenue Alliance. They first took a short pre-test to see what they knew of workplace etiquette, then they worked together to correct mistakes in a sample resume. Everyone then took a Kahoot quiz (online or on their phones) on state labor laws or regulations, with a Dollar General gift card prize for the winner!

Following that contest, each of the youth leaders were given a free flash drive and worked together to create their own resume, geared toward a job that they might like to have. Following that, we provided them with materials and showed videos that demonstrated what to do (and not to do) in a job interview. All of the Youth Leaders had interesting questions about the process of getting a job, and asked both of us facilitators what we looked for when we interviewed a job candidate. The quick answer: someone who shows up on time, comes prepared, demonstrates that they care about fulfilling a customer’s needs and answering their questions, and isn’t afraid to ask questions of their own if they don’t get it. At first, they were confused by our “post-interview professional handshake” contest, but they all succeeded in the end.

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YALSA President’s Program: Supporting Youth Activism in Your Library

Each year the YALSA president’s program serves a two-fold purpose: it is a membership meeting providing members with updates and highlighting YALSA’s accomplishments for the year under the leadership of its president, and it includes a session encompassing the theme the YALSA president has selected for the year.

During the membership meeting, YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell, shared a long list of work put forth by YALSA this past year, much of which centered around equity, diversity and inclusion.

Some of the resources you can find through the YALSA website or created by YALSA around equity, diversity, and inclusion include:

During the panel presentation aligned with Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s theme of Youth Activism through Community Engagement, speakers presented on the social justice work being done for and with teens at their libraries. Presenters included Gabbie Barnes, YOUmedia Manager and Teen Services Librarian at Hartford Public Library (CT), Jose Cruz, Middle School Services Librarian at Oak Park Public Library (IL), and Julie Stivers, School Librarian at Mount Vernon Middle School (NC).

One of the projects that Gabbie highlighted was the teen-led “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad” unconference led by YOUmedia Hartford teens in partnership with Grow Hartford Youth Program and COMPASS Youth Peacebuilders. The teens heavily utilized the Black Panther’s 10-point plan. As Gabbie notes, “I’m most proud of the hard work that the teens who organized the event put forth. I’m proud of their desire to honor their elders with the 10-point plan. I’m proud that we were able to support their ideas and their goals with funds, space, and resources.”

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Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): More Information about ONE Access

The Collaboration Toolkit published this spring highlights successful collaborations between school and public libraries. One of these programs is ONE Access in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. As outlined in the toolkit, students in participating schools use their student ID numbers, rather than a library card, to access resources of the public library. School staff may use their employee IDs to access digital resources.

ONE Access began as a collaborative project between the library system and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a district serving over 140,000 students. In the following years individual charter and independent schools have joined ONE Access.

Creating access to resources alone, however, is insufficient to reach the goals of the program. In order to ensure success, Martha Link Yesowitch, the Educational Partnerships Manager for the Library, has created presentations and handouts that may be individually tailored to the needs of various stake holders. The library provides staff development for school personnel at the beginning of the academic year. Additionally, local branch liaisons visit schools to educate students about library resources and programming. The following examples illustrate some of the audience-specific presentations for teachers and students.

Lake Norman Charter School is a K-12 charter school located in the northern Mecklenburg County town of Huntersville. The humanities faculty of the high school were interested in the online resources that would support students as they engaged with language arts and social studies curriculum. The presentation created for this team focused on the following resources:

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#LibFive: Five Key Foundations for Building Inclusive Libraries

Written by Julie Stivers

Is there anyone more equipped to meaningfully speak on the concept of inclusive libraries than our students or patrons? Of course not. Of course not. To leverage students’ experience, perspective, and wisdom—and to create student-driven PD—I worked with three of our amazing 8th grade students at Mount Vernon Middle School to develop student-led training for librarians.

In April of this year, Jaida Morris, Cesar Falcon, Jose Gomez and I unveiled our #LibFive concept—Five Key Foundations for Building Inclusive Libraries—at our district conference, WCPSS Convergence. Several weeks ago, I was lucky to share our ideas at ALA’s National Conference during the YALSA Presidential Program, a Panel on Youth Activism.

My students and I continue to work on crafting this professional development, but we’d like to share the work that we’ve already completed in this forum.

Our project was based on an initiative from the Chapel Hill Blue Ribbon Mentors called the Student Six, which is a student led professional development for teachers centering on six culturally sustaining strategies for educators to use to better connect with their students of color. I had seen the wonderful teens and educator Teresa Bunner presenting on the Student Six and each time, a question came up from the audience of mostly librarians. [You can probably guess what it was.] What was your experience with school libraries? Well, the answers were lukewarm at best and none of the teens in attendance had meaningful, positive stories or experiences with their school libraries or librarians. Which was, and is, heartbreaking.
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Summer Youth Leaders @ Pearl Bailey Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

Thanks to the generosity of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA, this year Pearl Bailey Library has three summer Youth Leaders: Sari, Na’quan, and Alysse. These three will learn valuable workforce skills while helping us successfully pull off all of our Summer Reading activities and summer outreach events, as well as organizing the youth during programs and activities, and keeping the library organized as well. While in our Youth Leaders Program across the Wickham Avenue Alliance, they also receive career research training, learn teamwork skills and conflict resolution, all based on the Career Investigations Curriculum. The Youth Leaders also receive customer service training taught by experts from Starbucks, and they take money management workshops from Bayport Credit Union. 

Without further ado, let’s introduce you to the 2018 Youth Leaders at Pearl Bailey Library:

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Teens participate in BFYA Teen Feedback Session @ ALA Annual

A group of teens from the New Orleans area participated in YALSA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session during the ALA Annual Conference. They each read at least three books from this year’s list of BFYA nominations so far. The teens provided the BFYA blogging team with valuable insight about the “teen appeal” of the books. To reward the teens for their hard work and participation, YALSA generously provided them each with a pass to visit the exhibits and collect as many free books as they could carry! After visiting the exhibit hall, teens enjoyed a pizza lunch with nine popular YA authors. The event was a great success. But don’t take our word for it—here’s what some of the teens told us about their favorite part of the day!

We asked: “What was your favorite part of participating in the conference and what are you reading next?”

“I liked the part where you met the authors, because you got real insight on what they were thinking when they wrote the books.” –Sabian B.

What Sabian is reading next: What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee

“I think it was seeing how many people are here and so passionate and [in the feedback session] seeing what books everyone chose to read and how they interpreted them.” –Abigail D.

What Abigail is reading next: “I have no idea, I going to lay them all out and decide!”

“My favorite part was getting to walk around and meet new people.” –Carissa W.

What Carissa is reading next: Dry by Neal Shusterman

“I really liked meeting the authors, because you got to see some aspects of an author’s career. I also thought it was really cool to receive books before they were out!” –Tiyasha C.

What Tiyasha is reading next: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough or Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer

“The convention was exactly how I imagined heaven. Also, I expected the feedback session to be way more stressful, but it was actually really easy to just talk about the books. It’s so cool that we got the books before the Library of Congress got them!” –Laxmi J.

What Laxmi is reading next: “Well, I read The Schwa Was Here (by Neal Shusterman who I met yesterday!) for school summer reading, and I have to read Chains too, but after that I think I’m going to start Dry.”

This event was truly a team effort and would not have been possible without the collaboration and dedication of many people. Thanks to the teens who participated, the teachers, librarians and parents who prepared teens and arranged for them to come, the authors and publishers who sponsored and participated in the pizza lunch, and the BFYA blogging team for nominating thought-provoking titles and welcoming teen feedback.

Carolyn Vidmar is a Teen Services Librarian at the New Orleans Public Library.

YALSA 301 at ALA Annual 2018!

It’s almost time! ALA Annual is upon us and I’m so looking forward to seeing many of you at the awesome lineup of YALSA events.

It’s an exciting time to be a YALSA member! We’re released the New Teen Services Competencies, written a new report supporting librarians working with teens called Transforming Library Services through CE, and we’ve got so much more on the horizon.

This work could not be completed without the dedication of our members. Many of us volunteer our time to take on leadership roles within the organization. And serving in one is a win-win! YALSA benefits from your experiences and work on a common goal, and you gain leadership, team building, and career building skills.

Join us at our YALSA 301 session at ALA Annual to learn more about how you can take the next step in YALSA. YALSA 301 is on Saturday, June 23 at 9 a.m. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 214.  

Can’t make it to conference? I encourage you to contact me and the rest of the Board Development Task Force to learn more. Even if you aren’t ready to run for Board right now, we’d love to share the exciting opportunities that are available!

The Board Development Committee is:

Sarah Hill, Chair, gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com

Audra Caplan, audra.caplan@gmail.com

Frankin Escobedo, escobedo@ci.oceanside.ca.us

Mary Hastler, hastler@hcplonline.org

Sarah Sogigian, sarah@masslibsystem.org