Catching Up on Current Research

There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.

Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.

This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.

Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.

Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.

Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy (1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.

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Middle Grade and Young Adult: An Author(s) Interview

It’s a holiday weekend, hooray! I hope everyone has had a most excellent Thanksgiving. I thought for a holiday weekend treat, we’d do something fun here today, so I asked a couple of authors to participate in an interview just for ALSC and YALSA blog readers!

The two authors I asked to participate have something in common: they write both middle grade and young adult books. As a librarian who works with all ages, and especially with the “tween” ages (where ALSC and YALSA’s services overlap!), I find myself needing to be familiar with both types of books.

The exact definitions of Middle Grade and Young Adult are subjective and amorphous. For the purposes of this post, we’ll just say that the intended audience for middle grade is slightly younger than the intended audience of YA, but both can be enjoyed by all ages.

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Annual 2015: San Francisco on the Cheap (Part 2)

(Did you miss part 1? Click here!)

This is a guest post by Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

As promised, here are even more great ways to enjoy what San Francisco has to offer–on a budget.

Neighborhoods and Landmarks

Twin Peaks
With the 25th anniversary of the television show imminent, why not use this as an excuse to visit a site 1,000 feet above S.F. and with a 360-degree view? It’s a great place to visit but can be windy and chilly, so bring a sweater.

Chinatown
Chinatown is a fantastic place to wander around in, whether you like to eat your way through a neighborhood or prefer to shop or people watch, Chinatown offers it all. It’s the oldest Chinatown in North America, and with its beautiful, historic buildings and landmarks it’s certainly one of San Francisco’s jewels.

The Mission
The Mission District runs along the parallel streets of Mission Street and Valencia. If artisanal coffee, award-winning burritos, fanciful ice-cream, local (and sometimes strange) boutiques, and public art interest you, then the Mission is definitely a place to spend an afternoon. Some highlights, La Taqueria, Humphrey Slocombe ice-cream, murals on Balmy and Clarion alleys, the beer-garden at Zeitgeist, and sitting in the grass at Dolores Park. Continue reading

San Francisco is calling!

ALSA and Baker and Taylor are proud to support the continuing education endeavors of librarians across the country. They offer not one, not two, but three great scholarships to help YALSA members who have never attended ALA Annual the opportunity to do so. And it is a wonderful opportunity. I was lucky enough to win in 2011 and be able to attend Annual in New Orleans. It was a very satisfying experience and allowed me to connect with my teen librarian colleagues and YALSA members in a way I never had via the online environments of list-servs and websites. That one conference gave me the confidence to continue to volunteer for YALSA committees and taskforces, Since 2011, I have had the opportunity to help YALSA’s strategic goals by serving on several different process and selection committees and it has been incredibly rewarding.

The criteria for these grants are pretty simple and available on the website. To paraphrase: you need to be a member of ALA/YALSA, one to ten years experience working with teens (for the Baker and Taylor scholarships only), and you have never attended an ALA Annual conference. For the Broderick scholarship (which is open to MLIS students), you must be currently enrolled in ALA accredited graduate MLIS program. The deadline for applying is December 1. Still not convinced that attending Annual is worth it? Here is what some of the previous years winners have to say.

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Introduction to the YALSA Research Committee

There are tons of committees, task forces and areas to work in YALSA. Everyone knows about the book award committees and some of the major task force, but there are a lot of smaller, less glamorous and flashy committees that are a part of YALSA as well. Did you know that YALSA has a Research Committee? Well, I didn’t either, until I decided to volunteer for YALSA and became a member of the research committee, which I currently chair. So what is the research committee? What exactly do we do?

The Research Committee has actually been around since 1968. The Research Committee’s purpose is “To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s Research Agenda as needed and to liaise with ALA’s Committee on Research & Statistics.”[1] So what does that entail? Well for starters, the Research Committee developed the YALSA National Research Agenda, which helps guide the direction and express needed research to “help guarantee that librarians serving young adults are able to provide the best service possible as well as advocate for funding and support in order to ensure that teens are served effectively by their libraries.”[2] The Research Committee also keeps this document up-to-date, which is one of this year’s current tasks. We are using The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action to ensure that the Research Agenda is up-to-date and on track.

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Annual 2015: San Francisco On the Cheap (Part 1)

This is a guest post from Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

San Francisco in the summer is beautiful. Clear, warm days and cool (okay, sometimes windy and cold) evenings make is a perfect city for the contemporary flaneur. Some may recall the “coldest winter was summer in S.F.” quote often attributed to Samuel Clemens, and while the authority control on that is in doubt, the sentiment is not. Make sure to pack light-yet-warm clothes that you can stuff into a knapsack during the day, and later don at night. it’s a gorgeous city, and you’ll want to walk it. Luckily, it’s not terribly large!

San Francisco is only seven by seven miles, but that area includes Gold Rush-era architecture, beautiful Victorians, breathtaking parks, pleasing urban parks , and lots of hills to trolley or walk. If you want to spend money here, it’s really easy–but if you like to travel a little lighter, and perhaps see the city as many of its residents do, then read on for a list of inexpensive and free activities in San Francisco (culled from an informal Facebook survey to ensure authenticity and from this writer’s experiences). Continue reading

Small Ways to Use The Future of Library Services For and with Teens: A Call to Action to Learn More and Begin Cultural Shifts at Your Library:

As you’ve dug into the report, you may have felt like it’s too big of a leap for you and your library to tackle all at once. Highlighted below are five small ways you can begin to #act4teens that can snowball into big impact.

  1. Begin to share appealing aspects of the report with other library or school staff. This is a great way to do a temperature check to see how people feel about different aspects of the report. It’s also a way to get people thinking about existing services and how they can be improved. You can do this by:
    • Sending weekly emails about teen or school library services and creating a section for report information. Ask staff for comments and feedback.
    • Sharing parts of the report at regular staff meetings.
    • Hosting brown bag discussions about school library or teen services that are framed around the report.
    • Creating engaging polls to see what parts of the report staff are most comfortable with and to solicit their ideas and feedback.

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My Teen Tech Week Grant Experience: Opening a dialogue with at-risk teens about how they use social media

My library is the closest library to public housing in my community. Most teens who visit the library are poor. Their city is unsafe, ranking 3 on a 1 to 100 scale, with 100 being safest. Their schools are failing. The public high school was forced to restructure after years of ranking in the lowest 5% of Michigan schools. Every week I see teens who are suspended, on probation with the juvenile system, homeless, or runaways.

Despite all this, the library’s Teen Zone is a mostly safe and positive space. Young people gather daily to use the computers for schoolwork, online games, and to catch up on what their friends are doing. Teens drop in and out of the library to see who’s hanging out. The space is abuzz with conversation and activity. We ask everyone to engage in a library activity–access the wireless, color the tattoo and mandala designs available on the table, play xbox. Anyone who learns something at a program can ask for the supplies anytime and continue creating. An active Teen Advisory Group (TAG) helps plan and host programs.

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However, providing quality programs that engage teens and allow them to experience new technology can be a challenge. As with many libraries in the U.S., the downturn in the economy saw property tax in-takes decline while the community’s needs increased. Grant money allows me to offer internships and unique programs of interest to TAG members I couldn’t otherwise, so I have applied for and received several YASLA and Michigan Arts grants. I’m always watching for grants that will allow me to provide something I hope will improve the lives of teens at my library.

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Putting Portable STEAM into Action

Winning one of YALSA’s 2014 Teen Tech Week Grants was both professionally and personally rewarding. It was my second foray into grant-writing and I was surprised that my plan for Exploring Arduino and the creation of a portable STEAM lab at my library branch had won. I was also excited to learn something new, something that “my” kids would think was fun, cool, and wanted to learn too. Of course, with any new challenge, there are degrees of success.

The overall challenge was the timeframe – only five weeks between notification that my branch had won and Teen Tech Week. ‘ Purchasing the equipment – three SparkFun Inventor’s kits and three laptops – didn’t go as planned. All the equipment used in my proposal no longer existed and were replaced by more expensive items. The Inventor’s Kits now available were upgraded, simplified, and cost $10 more each; this was a blessing in disguise as I wouldn’t have to solder anything and preparing the kits involved nothing more than taping two pieces together with double-sided tape. The bargain laptops? I now knew the reason they were such a bargain – discontinued for newer, faster models with greater memory capacity, and nearly double the price. So back to the Best Buy website for a laptop that fit my technology and price needs. Success! And, with the financial and logistical help of the Treasurer of my branch’s Friends, three laptops were acquired in record time. The next challenge was having the laptops ready to go which meant a phone call and email to our library system’s IT department. In four days, IT staff loaded anti-virus and administrative software before downloading the open-source Arduino code. The equipment that formed the basis of a portable STEAM lab was ready!

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Not SCARY scary

Halloween is this week. Isn’t that nuts? ‘ I’ve had kids in my department for weeks, asking for Halloween books, for ghost stories, for scary stories.

And then there are the kids that want something maybe creepy, maybe suspenseful but “not SCARY scary.” I love these kids. ‘ These kids are my kindred spirits because I hate being scared. I can’t watch a horror movie and I never read a Goosebumps book when i was younger. But I do enjoy suspense and a little gloom. ‘ Take a look at these books for your kids who want to have some Halloween reading but want to be able to sleep at night:

Source: Goodreads

The Theodosia Throckmorton series by R.L. LaFevers: Theodosia can see curses and get rid of them. This comes in handy as her’ parents work in a museum and there are artifacts with curses everywhere. ‘ This is a fantasy adventure and though there are some creepy parts, it’s mainly pure fun as Theo tries to save Britain from ancient Egyptian curses. ‘ There are four of these.

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