OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed Monnee Tong, Service Area Manager of Sciences at the San Diego Central Library. previously she was the Manager of the Pauline Foster Teen Center of the San Diego Public Library.

1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

While I was Manager of the Pauline Foster Teen Center, our outreach was targeted to teachers and schools to reach students. We were able to network and create relationships with teachers, which helped inform what outreach services we offered.  After receiving some feedback from teachers about what was needed for their classes, we developed a variety of different workshops that introduced teens to library services: articles and databases, catalog overview, introduction to the San Diego Public Library, and credible resources. Each workshop was about a half an hour, and we would usually play a game at the end of each one to test knowledge and have an excuse to give out candy and prizes.

My team and I would travel to classes to give these workshops, but many of them were given at the library along with a tour, and sometimes the workshops were tailored to what the class was learning. A typical visit to the library for a class would last about two hours, which included a tour of our beautiful library and a workshop. We are a popular field trip destination!

2. What are some of the outreach partners that have been created through your work at the San Diego Public Library?

One of the partners we had the pleasure of working with on an ongoing basis was the Monarch School, a K-12 school for students experiencing homelessness. We worked closely with the eighth grade class and saw them for a scheduled monthly visit. Sometimes we would visit their classroom, and sometimes they would come to the library. This past year, each month focused on a different topic that the students could research using library resources, and the year before that the students worked on creating videos using YouTube Editor in our multimedia lab. Having consistent visits like this was so valuable; we became part of the students’ community and they became part of ours. Many of them visited the library after school, and knowing them from class helped so much in building a rapport with them after school.

3. Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

Before the day-of, I like to prepare by going over my presentation, printing any handouts for the class, putting together SWAG or prize bags, processing library cards if needed, and confirming with the teacher. On the day-of, I try to arrive early so I can find parking and the classroom, and to give myself time to set my presentation up and pass out any handouts that are needed. If I’m passing out candy or anything else that’s edible, I ask the teacher if it’s OK. I start out by introducing myself and showing everyone a photo of the library and telling them where it is before diving into my main content.

At the end I usually give a little quiz and give out candy to correct answers. One time I had leftover full candy bars from an event and decided to give those out. It got a little competitive in there…but I hope they all learned a little about choosing credible sources after that!

4. What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

One of my favorite resources is Infopeople, which provides continuing education and professional development opportunities. California library folks may already be familiar with Infopeople since it’s based here, but it’s available to anyone. They have free archived webinars on a variety of topics, including outreach.  It’s a great place to start if you’re new to a topic or need a refresher course.

5. What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

An encounter I had recently with a student was a tender “I love being a librarian” moment. I was invited to speak at a school for Career Day about being a librarian (which I love–I bust all sorts of stereotypes!) One classroom from the school had previously been at the library for a tour, so I was a little familiar with the school. At this recent visit, I had finished speaking to the classes and was about to say goodbye. The teacher then spoke up and thanked one of the students in the class, who was the one who requested that I come to their school. The teacher told me that she had liked the tour I had given at the library so much that she requested that I come to Career Day so I could meet the whole school. I was glowing from the comment. It’s easy to go through the motions and not realize who you may be impacting. The moment the teacher told me that and I made eye contact with the student, I felt like I had successfully done my job in connecting with the community and teaching people about what the library can do for them.

This is why outreach is important. You have so much to give outside of the walls of the library–the rest of the world should know about it.

Meet the YALSA Board of DIrectors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
– establishing a clear organizational mission
– forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
– overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
– hiring a competent executive director
– providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Derek Ivie, Youth Services Coordinator for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System

What drew you to the Board?

I have been a part of YALSA since I was a student in library school and have always wanted to be involved. As a student, I used it as a resource to stay on top of trends in library services for teens. Once I graduated and became a full-fledged librarian my roles have been solely on Award and Selection committees – once chairing Quick Picks and most recently as a member of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award committee. Just this past year I realized that I wanted to be more involved in bringing those things I found so valuable to fruition and decided to run for a position.

What do you do on the board?

My role on the Board is Board Member at Large. I participate in monthly online chats, meetings at Annual and Midwinter, am part of the Advocacy Standing Committee, and act as Liaison to two different taskforces: the YA Symposium Taskforce and the Annual Conference Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce. So far it has been a great learning about what is happening nationally in libraries and services for teens. Being Board Member at Large is a fantastic way to connect with YALSA members from throughout the country.

What is the board doing for its members?

YALSA’s Board and staff are constantly working on bringing powerful programming to its members (virtually and in person at ALA Conferences and at the Literature Symposium), creating helpful tools (like our Advocacy Toolkit and brand new Teen Literacies Toolkit), as well as working hard to advocate on behalf of young adult librarians and the importance of our services to teens on a national level (see how you can get involved in District Days).

What I’m Reading:

I am currently listening to Avenged by Amy Tintera which is the sequel to the fantasy Ruined.

 

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed Jody Gray, Director, ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services.

1. What is your name and title?
Jody Gray, Director, ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

2. How does the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services define outreach?
As we are an office of the American Library Association, we use the same definition for outreach; providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library. Our office has the term “outreach” in the title, but we are not the only part of ALA that has an interest in outreach. Instead, our office looks at outreach efforts as they apply to social justice and access.

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
– establishing a clear organizational mission
– forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
– overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
– hiring a competent executive director
– providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Library and YALSA Board of Directors member.

What drew you to the Board?
I became interested in board work when I was chair of the Financial Advancement Committee (this was before FAC chair was an ex-officio member of the board). My board liaison, Pam Spencer Holly, was someone I really looked up to. She asked me if running for the Board was something I was interested in, and to be honest, I hadn’t considered it at all. But once Pam put that bug in my ear, I started exploring what the board did, following more board actions and documents and decided this was something I wanted to work toward. I had been on many YALSA committees and chaired my fair share as well. I was ready to take on the next challenge and I really wanted to give back to an organization that had given me so many opportunities for development and growth.

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
– establishing a clear organizational mission
– forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
– overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
– hiring a competent executive director
– providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland.

What drew you to the Board? 

I debated a lot with myself before I decided to run as a YALSA board member. I wanted to make sure that I have enough knowledge, skills, and time to contribute to the wonderful things that the YALSA leadership was already doing. I was drawn to the Board because I wanted to inspire interdisciplinary experiences and interactions that transform the nature of services that youth librarians provide to youth. I was already impressed with the YALSA leadership and really felt connected with the changes in the organization plan (upcoming at that time), especially the leading the transformation of teen services priority area. I wanted to encourage research and professional development experiences that inspire youth services librarians to understand their role as change agents in youth development, by paying attention to the technical and societal changes that impact the everyday lives of youth. Being on the Board as a researcher and LIS educator helps me to channel what I have done in my research into practice. This opportunity is the ideal research-practice partnership that I have been aspiring to do for a long time. It is incredibly rewarding, and I enjoy it! Continue reading

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed April Witteveen, Community and Teen Services Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in Central Oregon.

  1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

My outreach is currently pretty simple and straightforward—but very, very consistent, which is so important. Most of these relationships have existed for longer than the 12 years I’ve been with my library system.

I currently visit our Juvenile Justice facility every other week. The building holds two populations in separate “pods”: teens that are serving short criminal sentences or are awaiting trial (the general “locked down” juvenile justice population,) as well as a program for court-involved teen males who enter a non-profit therapeutic program called J Bar J. The J Bar J teens in the secure facility are either working their way up, behaviorally, to get placed at a residential facility (J Bar J Boys Ranch) or have been removed from the Ranch due to behavior to spend time in the secure facility.

I do booktalks year-round to the juvenile justice students when they are in their classroom time, and I try to read the room while doing so to see if I think a discussion of what they’re reading right now could work—it doesn’t every time and I’ve had to cut and run. I also offer the summer reading program, in a modified format, to these teens. They have the opportunity to earn free books with reading time, and many of them are surprised these are books they get to keep and take home when they are released. I’ve seen some incredible generosity here too—“I’m picking something for my sister, it’s her birthday next week,” “can I donate this to the classroom for others to read when I’m done?” etc.

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Melissa McBride, a School Librarian in Southhold, New York and a YALSA Board of Directors member and Organization & Bylaws Chair.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

I have been serving on YALSA committees since 2008, mostly on the process side, and I love seeing how the organization runs. I like thinking strategically and figuring out how YALSA can best help members. For years I had been saying that I would nominate myself to run for a Board position, but I kept chickening out. I was approached about a year and a half ago and was asked if I would serve as Chair of Organization & Bylaws, a committee that I had served on as a member twice. I love O&B and knew that as Chair I would be an Ex-Officio Board member, meaning I do everything a regular Board member does, I just don’t have a vote. I jumped at the opportunity because I absolutely love the behind the scenes committee work and it was a chance to get over my fear of putting my name on the ballot! The work is so rewarding, and so different from what I do as a school librarian. I have a chance to look at things holistically and organization wide; instead of focusing on the nitty gritty like I do in my small school.

  1. what do you do on the board?

As I mentioned before, I am Chair of Organization & Bylaws, which means we make recommendations on changes to: bylaws, committee functions, committee structure, and the organizational handbook. Basically, O&B helps to ensure that YALSA is running smoothly. We recently had two bylaws revisions put before membership on the March ballot. I am responsible for bringing the work my committee has done to the Board. I also participate in all Board meetings and discussions like a regular member. I try to bring an O&B perspective to the discussions when it is called for. My role as Chair of O&B definitely makes it easier to think about the organization as a whole and look at the big picture.

  1. What the board is doing for its members

Wow! So much is going on right now – it’s a very exciting time! O&B is going to start evaluating committees, juries and task forces to ensure that they are functioning the way they should and, more importantly, to make sure that volunteers are getting what they need out of the work they do for the committees. We are going to pilot the use of eARCs/ebooks for award committees and selected list bloggers. The committees and bloggers will also indicate on all lists/awards whether titles are readily available in languages other than English or in other formats, like Braille or large print. The Board agreed to begin transitioning YALS to an all digital format. These are just a few things that are happening, to see more check out Immediate Past President, Sarah Hill’s blog post.

  1. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

I am currently reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

Board Doc #19: Pura Belpre Award Expansion

The YALSA Board met on June 24, 2017 to discuss the possibility of Pura Belpre Award expansion, see board doc number 19 . Some of the proposed changes are;

Age Range: Expand to preschool through age 18, Committee Composition includes individuals with appropriate backgrounds in relationship to Latinx literature as follows: 3 appointed by ALSC, 3 appointed by YALSA , 3 appointed by REFORMA

Chair position rotates as follows: 1 year by REFORMA, 2nd year by ALSC, 3rd year by YALSA, and so on.

This proposal would need to go to ALSC and to REFORMA before this can move forward,

YALSA would like to accept the idea in item #19 and direct the Executive Director to speak with Executive Director with both ALSC and REFORMA.

Other Board documents that have been approved can be seen here

If you are traveling to Annual, make sure to stop by the YALSA booth!

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Crystle Martin, Postdoctoral Researcher Digital Media and Learning Research Hub University of California, Irvine.

1. What drew you to the Board?

I started out my work with YALSA managing the YALSAblog. This gave me a great perspective on the needs and interests of members and what YALSA does as an association, which inspired me to contribute to YALSA more. When the Governance Nominating Committee approached me about running for the Board I was very enthusiastic.

2. what do you do on the board?

I am the Secretary of the YALSA Board and the Chair of the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee. The Secretary is a member of the Executive Committee and is responsible for ensuring that accurate documentation exists of both Board meetings and Executive Committee meetings. The Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee is responsible for advancing the priority area of the same name in the Organization Plan. This year I was elected President-Elect for YALSA.

3. What the board is doing for its members

The board is always looking to make YALSA better for its members. We want to create opportunities for professional learning, access to content, and volunteering that are focused on the needs library staff have to serve youth today and in the future. To see what the Board and YALSA as a whole has been up to, check out the current projects page. One of the changes that the Board has undertaken recently that I have been very excited about is the transition of the Selection Lists to The Hub, which is making nominations for selected lists available to members as they are selected instead of all together at the end of the year. So keep an eye on the Awards and Selection List Category on The Hub to see Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, and Popular Paperbacks nominees as they are posted, and look for a compiled list at the end of the year. 

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Gretchen Kolderup, Youth Librarian at the St. Helens Public Library in Oregon


What drew you to the Board?

I’d really enjoyed the committee work that I’d done with YALSA and at some point I started sitting in on board meetings and conference calls and thought the work the board was doing was really engaging and something I could contribute to. I’d gotten a lot out of my time with YALSA up to that point, and it seemed like a good opportunity to lend my time and talents to the organization. I also appreciated that board service gave me the chance to work with awesome people, to develop skills I didn’t already have, and to broaden my perspective on libraries to a national level.

What do you do on the board?

Like all board members, I liaise with chairs of member committees and task forces and contribute to our monthly board chats and our meetings at conferences. Board members are responsible for monitoring the financial health of the organization and attending to governance issues.

In my three years on the board, I’ve been on three different standing committees: Continuing Education, Research and Best Practices, and Advocacy. As part of those groups, I’ve helped bring documents to the board for consideration during meetings.

My term on the board also happened during a time when we’ve been very focused on strategic planning, and I think my experience in suburban, urban, and rural libraries has been helpful there. Board work is much more nebulous than committee work; it sort of reminds me of being a supervisor vs a front-line staff member.

What is the board doing for members?

Over the last year, the board (and YALSA’s Executive Director and staff) have been working on better aligning what the organization does to its organizational plan. There isn’t infinite staff time or infinite money, so we want what we’re doing to be as useful to members as possible!

For example, there’s been a renewed focus on supporting members as they create and run interest groups so that people who are working on similar projects or who have similar focus areas can come together and exchange information and ideas (for example, there are teen mental health and DC- and LA-area interest groups).

The board also directed the president to create a task force that’s been reviewing member grants and how members are recognized for excellent work; we’ll discuss their recommendations at Annual and that’ll lead to better grant and recognition opportunities for members.

We’ve also been looking at how to measure how effective different member groups are and what members get out of being on committees and task forces so we can make that experience even better.

All of this — and more! — will be on the agenda for Annual, so stop by a meeting if you can!

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