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 Todd Krueger,Collection Development at Baltimore County Public Library and YALSA Division Counsilor.

 

What drew you to the Board?

I was drawn to the board by invitation after having served on a number of YALSA selection list and award committees. I had always been interested in the governance of the organization. Having served on the board of Capitol Choices (an organization promoting children’s and teen literature in the DC/Baltimore/NoVa region), this seemed like a good way to continue to promote teen services on a larger level.

What do you do on the Board?

I serve as the Division Councilor for YALSA, which is the conduit to ALA Council. As a voting member of ALA’s legislative body, I request input from my fellow board members whenever a vote comes before Council. I keep in mind the needs of librarians serving teens and youth in general, and most importantly, how any decision made by the ALA Council will affect teens using libraries. I work in tandem with the AASL and ALSC Councilors (the Youth Council Caucus) to ensure that resolutions and discussions brought before ALA Council are considered through the lens of our children and teen users of school and public libraries.

What is the Board doing for its members?

The Organizational Plan was recently adopted to focus YALSA staff and board’s efforts in three areas: Leading the Transformation of Teen Services; Advocacy for Teens; and Funder and Partner Development. I have been lucky to participate on the Funder and Partner Development committee, identifying grants, potential partnerships, and funding possibilities all the while keeping in mind the capacity required by our YALSA Staff and the volunteer time and efforts that those of us serving on the board can realistically provide. Making sure that connecting with partners will be fruitful and match the mission of the organization, and ensuring that grant and funding opportunities are worthwhile.

Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens?

As a proponent of the mirrors and windows school of readers’ advisory, I recently read a debut Australian teen novel, Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung. Lucy, an Asian-Australian, is an unforgettable character who defies ethnic, class and socioeconomic constriction to grow and thrive. I highly recommend it to readers looking to immerse themselves into a culture that is both familiar and unique. Lucy’s voice is exceptional and I look forward to what Alice Pung’s future writings.

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 Lainie Castle, Project Director, Public Programs Office American Library Association. Most specifically we talked about her work with the Great Stories Club.

1.How do you see theGreat Stories Club (GSC) as a way for librarians to work with underserved populations?

There are two important ways that we see the Great Stories Club (GSC) supporting librarians’ efforts to work with underserved young adults. First, we hope the grant opportunity provides an impetus for librarians to reach out to other community organizations that are deeply engaged with teens who are facing specific difficulties, such as detention or incarceration, homelessness, drug or alcohol treatment, or other disciplinary or academic challenges. Fostering and helping to sustain these outreach partnerships brings specialized literary programming services to young people who might not otherwise have that opportunity. Because the GSC is a national program, with the involvement of both ALA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, it can sometimes help make the case for new or reinvigorated outreach efforts.

Second, the GSC provides a tightly curated set of programming resources that are designed to support an in-depth reading and discussion experience grounded in humanities scholarship. Each series has been created to be more than just an average book club, going beyond more standard questions about characters and plot to facilitate readers’ personal exploration of universal humanities themes, like the role of art in making and coping with change. The program seeks to inspire teens to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it and, by offering programming space in which they can work through these questions with their peers and caring adults, to have a positive impact on self-concept. We want GSC readers to view themselves not just as readers, but also as thinkers and creators with important contributions to offer to the world around them.

2. Do you have some success stories of libraries that began working with a particular population/organization for theGreat Stories Club (GSC) and they continue to work together?

We are fortunate to work with many libraries that developed a new partnership in order to participate in the Great Stories Club, and are still working with those community organizations to serve teens, either in between GSC grants or after their grant term ended. Other GSC library programs have expanded with local support, due to initial participation in the grant. A few examples* include:

  • Sequoyah Regional Library System in Canton, Georgia developed an ongoing partnership with the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Berkeley Public Library and Berkeley Technology Academy renewed a lapsed partnership because of the GSC, and now work together on a locally funded weekly book club that’s ongoing.
  • Athens-Clarke County Library in Athens, Georgia partnered with the local jail, and now facilitates a twice-monthly book club there, funded by a private individual donor.
  • Glen Carbon Library in Illinois began partnering with the Madison County Detention Center through a GSC grant in 2009, and continued through several rounds of GSC grants while also developing other specialized programming including STEAM sessions and visits with therapy dogs.
  • Antelope Lending Library in Iowa City, Iowa partnered with the John McDonald Residential Treatment Center for Girls for the GSC, and has been able to continue reading and discussion programming with support from a local used bookstore that donated materials, and a local women’s reading group that donated funds to support travel (since the facility is about an hour away from the library).
  • The Juneau Public Library’s program with the Johnson Youth Center in Alaska was so successful with the treatment side of the juvenile justice facility that the librarian was invited to expand programming to the detention side.
  • The Hastings Ninth Grade Center in Houston, Texas has done several successful GSC series with their alternative campus (the Campus Learning Center), and the librarian presented a proposal to the school board this month, for expansion of the program district-wide to 11 other campuses.

3.How do you see libraries doing more work outside of libraries with underserved and underrepresented populations and do you have any recommendations for doing so?

For those who are looking to do more work outside their library with underserved populations, there are some resources on the Great Stories Club website that might be helpful. We have complete information for three NEH-funded series and five Oprah’s Angel Network-funded series that include reading lists, framing essays, discussion questions, certificates of completion for teens, customizable posters and bookmarks, supplemental reading lists, and other general programming ideas such as tips on establishing an outreach partnership, a list of reference books about library service to at-risk teens, tips for managing challenges with reading levels and engagement, and more. In addition to our wonderful national project advisors (for current and future themes), ALA PPO is fortunate to have a closed discussion list with more than 100 librarians who work on GSC grants and are amazing sources of knowledge and experience. If you would like to pose a question to the group, please email it to publicprograms@ala.org and our staff would be happy to share it and return a response.

*With thanks to the GSC project directors who shared their stories for the post above, including Angela Glowcheski (Sequoyah Regional Library System), Andrea Mullarkey (Berkeley Public Library), Priscilla Lewis (Athens-Clarke County Library), Magi Henderson (Glen Carbon Library), Cassandra Elton (Antelope Lending Library), Amelia Jenkins (Juneau Public Library), and Charla Hollingsworth (Hastings Ninth Grade Center).

 

 

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 Heather Fisch, Associate Librarian, Outreach at the Hennepin County Library

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

Our outreach team coordinates monthly booktalks by library staff to the students at Hennepin County Home School (CHS), a residential treatment center for juveniles ages 13 to 20 who have been committed by the court. We update their library collection with new materials and provide books as requested by students and teachers. We also organize special programs for the students, such as author visits and writing workshops.

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

Last year, one of our librarians chose Kekla Magoon’s novel How It Went Down to book talk. Many of the students connected with the novel, so much so that one student persuaded the administration to buy a copy for every student and host a school-wide book club focused on the novel. Students facilitated the book club meetings, and a couple of us from the library attended. The students were really engaged and the book seemed to resonate deeply with them and sparked profound discussion.  It was really inspiring to witness.

This past October, we had the opportunity to bring the author, Kekla Magoon, to CHS to discuss the book with the students in person. The event took place in the auditorium, where the students had prepared questions and posted them on paper taped to the walls. The students listened intently to the author describe her journey to becoming a writer, the process of writing books, and the impetus behind How It Went Down, and then asked questions including:

  • “What is your honest opinion on Black on Black violence and White on Black violence? Why does society make White on Black violence a bigger deal?”
  • “Why do people make their perspectives and stereotypes come true?”

(Disclaimer: Not all days in Outreach are this overtly inspiring, but I feel grateful to have been there for this one!)

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

The best resource(s) I’ve discovered are the teens themselves. When I stop and listen, I’ve found that most teens will tell you what is meaningful to them, what incites their curiosity, and what inspires them to question the world around them. My colleagues have also been a trusted source for sharing best practices. In terms of where I turn when selecting titles for booktalks, I’ve had good luck with the following:

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

Some of my favorite things I’ve heard students say:

  • “Sometimes when I’m reading a book in my room at night, it feels like I’m watching TV!”
  • “I’m not always a fan of book trailers because they take away my freedom to imagine.”

(And lest we forget that some of our students are, after all, teenage boys):

Booktalker: “See No Color is about a 16-year-old baseball player whose body is growing in ways that make it difficult for her to continue playing ball.”

Student: “Growing? How?”

Booktalker: “She’s getting curves.”

Student: “Ooooo! I want that book!”

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 Jennifer Korn, TeenSpot Manager at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and YALSA Board of Directors Member-at-Large.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

The TLDR answer: Former YALSA Board members and leaders asked if I’d like to serve on Board!

YALSA Board was a long-term, nebulous-feeling goal for me. I certainly did not think I would serve on Board only five years into my YALSA involvement. I served on several YALSA committees and task forces as a member and as chair prior to serving on Board. Those experiences exposed me to a few of the many facets of YALSA’s work, and I found myself curious about the association’s other work. I also wanted to give back to YALSA in a more impactful way to thank YALSA for helping me grow my knowledge of serving teens and developing my leadership skills. I shared these sentiments with a few YALSA leaders and that’s when I got a friendly nudge to set my sights on Board sooner than I thought I would.

2. What do you do on the Board?

Like all Board members, I develop and present initiatives and propose changes and improvements that match with YALSA’s Strategic Plan, engage in discussions and make tough decisions about YALSA’s present work and future goals, and support our member’s work with teens.

I currently liaise with two very productive committees, Teen Tech Week and Legislation. Liaisons offer support to committee chairs and members so they can complete their task lists for the year.  I also serve on the Advocacy Standing Committee, which is identifying advocacy priorities in the short and long-term. I am also working with fellow Board member Diane Colson to develop a plan to invigorate and better support YALSA’s fantastic Interest Group opportunities.  One of my favorite aspects of Board work is collaborating with fellow Board members on Board documents and proposals in support of YALSA initiatives!


3. What the board is doing for its members?

The Board is always looking for ways to better support our members so our members can better support teens in their communities. 

I’m currently really excited about the new short-term volunteer and engagement opportunities for our members. These opportunities are mindful of our members’ heavy workloads and ever-changing life responsibilities.  Members can join a short-term task force or committee for a couple of months rather than an entire year, or they can devote a day or two to a resource retreat.  Members can also start or join Interest Groups, a more flexible way to connect with learn from other members.  These opportunities let members actively participate in YALSA, connect with other members, and develop leadership skills in a way that matches their availability at a particular time.


4. Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens?

My favorite program, and the teens’ favorite program, is Teen Chef. We teach teens how to cook simple, healthy, and tasty food with easy to find and inexpensive ingredients. The teens conduct recipe research and collaborate with each other in all parts of the prep, cooking, and clean up. Of course the teens get to eat what they cook too! We do not have a kitchen in our library, so we’ve collected portable burners, pots, and utensils from thrift stores, yard sales, and donations. Popular recipes have included veggie stir fry, DIY Chipotle, and Panera’s broccoli cheese soup. We also try to host local chefs a few times each year as out budget allows.

Emilio Estevez recently directed and acted in a film shot in the Library where I work, which included several scenes in our Teen Department. I shamelessly asked him for the included photo when he stopped by to check out the space. He was also incredibly kind to the teens who asked him for photos and autographs throughout the shoot.

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 Sophie Maier, Immigrant Services Librarian at the Louisville Free Public Library.

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

I am in the immigrant services librarian but I work with many, many teens. I visit schools. I have a cadre of teen volunteers who help with our English Conversation Club, Homework Help and programming.

If you have a moment to peek at this article: http://loumag.epubxp.com/i/516132-jun-2015/31

2. Describe a day in the life of you providing outreach

Last Saturday I  had a program that brought together teens from Rwanda, Congo, Kenya, Burundi , Tanzania – the event was facilitated by the youth.   Music and dance and food from Africa. Teens talked about they needed support in offering alternatives to newcomers who struggle, to all teens.  Songs included voices of experience being exposed to violence in their home countries and HERE. This was followed by our English Conversation Club – teens volunteer and some come to learn! See below.

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

Get to know the young people, listen to them, take direction from them, let them lead.  Instill a respect of elders and the past while acknowledging all they have to offer.

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

These are interviews with some of our teens talking about why they engage with the library :

https://srlnewamericans.tumblr.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs4yOSggiYU&feature=youtu.be

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 Sarah Hill, President of YALSA 2016-2017, YALSA Board Member and Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois

1. What drew you to the Board?

When I was a high school librarian, I attended the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) conference every year, even when I had to pay for it myself. While serving on ISLMA’s high school book award committee, I was asked to participate in a weekend retreat to help write a strategic plan for the organization, and I enjoyed it! The ISLMA board members were energetic, dedicated to their students, and sincerely trying to improve the atmosphere for students and school librarians in Illinois.  I didn’t need much encouragement to run for the ISLMA board, and I loved it.  I then served as treasurer and president.  Serving on my state organization board prepared me to serve on a national level. While I was an active leader in ISLMA, I also participated on award and selection committees for YALSA and attended ALA conferences. Serving on the YALSA board allows me to give back to my professional community, to which I owe so much.  Because I’ve always worked in rural communities, my face-to-face interactions with librarians are limited, but YALSA has allowed me to expand my learning network, grow professionally, and improve the lives of teens in my community.
 
2. What do you do on the board?
 

I’m the current YALSA president, which means that I’m in the middle year of my three-year commitment to the board.  You can see what I do by reading the monthly reports on the YALSA blog.  If I had to give a one sentence summary of what I do, I’d say that I partner with Beth Yoke, the YALSA Executive Director, to help the Board lead the organization for our members.  I answer questions, lead the in-person meetings at Midwinter and Annual and plan the board’s monthly chats.  I strive to make sure that the board is advancing the goals of the organizational plan, as well as meeting the organization’s mission and vision.  

 
3. What is the board doing for its members?
 
You can check out what the board is up to by visiting the Current Projects page and by reading the board documents that are posted online.  The board does work virtually between ALA conferences, and recently the board voted to improve the current YALSA mentoring program by making it more short-term to match the members’ needs. The Board has been creating more short-term volunteer opportunities, like these three new task forces, and matching the length of the task force to the time it takes to finish the project.  The Board is also gearing up for National Library Legislative Day–look for more information coming soon from the YALSA Legislation Committee! Legislation and advocacy aren’t dirty words–it’s important for all of us to improve the world around our teens and to empower teens to speak for themselves! If you’d like to discuss this further, check out the YALSA Town Hall that is happening Feb. 28 at 2 pm ET. See your YALSA enews for login information. 
 
4. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.
 
I’m currently Neal Shusterman’s Scythe since it won a Printz Honor award.  I don’t read many books for young children now that my daughter is fourteen, but I try to read the Caldecott and Newbery winners to stay in the loop. I recently finished Newbery winner Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon and loved 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 Jane Gov, Teen Librarian at the Pasadena Public Library and YALSA Board Member Financial Advancement Committee Chair.

1. What drew you to the Board?

To be honest, I hadn’t considered board work until I was appointed in November 2015.  At the time, the Board seemed like something out of my reach and I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to serve. Now that I’m here, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.  Being on the board is fascinating, and it’s made me more involved in civic engagement in my own community.  Like many YALSA members, I volunteer because I want to make positive change; being on the YALSA Board is getting to the heart of where these changes can start… and we can make improvements nationally.
2. What do you do on the board?

I am the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) chair, which is an ex-officio member of the YALSA board. The charge of the committee is to provide oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program, including promotion, fundraising and donor recognition. We work with the Board to create and implement virtual fundraising campaigns and fundraising efforts at conferences. Each year, FAC is tasked with raising enough funds (over $14,000) to support member grants, scholarships and awards that do not have a sponsor or otherwise dedicated funding source. The fundraising campaigns are aimed at both members and nonmembers. We are also tasked with reviewing YALSA’s Fundraising Toolkit and make updates, which we’ve just completed.  In short, FAC basically helps raise money and thank our donors.

As a board member, I was on the standing committee for the priority Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services, which includes strategies for leadership development, member engagement, and cultural competency.  However, since Midwinter, I’ve switched to the standing committee for Funder and Partner Development, which make perfect sense as it relates to my role as FAC chair.

I am also the board liaison for the Writing Award Jury, an award that’s funded by Friends of YALSA. The jury just finished their term last month.
3. What the board is doing for its members?

The YALSA board is taking a careful look at what we’re doing currently and whether some processes could improve. We’re evaluating the impact of what we do as an organization. YALSA board is looking to increase member engagement by giving members more feasible opportunities to get involved (such as short term and virtual opportunities), and provide resources that are more relevant, more effective, more engaging, but at a quicker pace—yet still with the same (or better) quality. Some examples include the proposed improvements with the mentorship program, the movement of some selection lists to the Hub, and the new Teen Book Finder Database.
4. Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

My teens just wrapped up our next issue of the Teen Zine, a bi-annual publication that features writing, photos, book lists, and articles by or about teens at the library. I’m proud of this issue because there were more teens involved in its making—double the number since the pilot issue. There are about a dozen editors and graphic designers, and another dozen writing contributors, half of whom got an opportunity to interview authors during our book festival. This issue includes teen articles about some of our more notable programs such as our annual murder mystery (written and delivered by the Teen Advisory Board), a large art show featuring artwork by teens with autism, photos of our National Coming Out Day celebration (which was the first for our city and took place at the library), and articles about our annual teen book festival. Not only does the zine show in photos all the great work our teens have done in the last six months, but working on the zine itself gave them a chance to showcase their graphic design and editing skills—more so than the previous years. And it’s nearly twice the length of the last issue.

I just finished a book I was reviewing for a journal, and it’s amazing! Traitor to the Throne, sequel to Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.  It’s got the action of a western, mixed with Arabian mythology, and threaded with magic and political intrigue. Fans of Leigh Bardugo or Rae Carson would love this one.

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 spoke with Laura Mielenhausen, Youth Services Librarian Hennepin County Library Teen Central, Minneapolis Central Library.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

I provide weekly library service to the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). This includes maintaining the JDC library collection; bringing new materials (both withdrawn items from Hennepin County Library and items purchased specifically for JDC); shelving the returned materials; and visiting the residents to suggest books and take book requests. When I visit the residents I let them know about the services our public library provides, including Homework Help programs, Teen Anime Club, and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in downtown Minneapolis, where teens can do creative projects like record their own music. I also let them know how they can get a new library card and get any old library card fines reviewed, so they can get a fresh start as a library patron.

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

For my JDC outreach, I track the number of requests I get at each visit. I fill those requests with JDC library materials first, but in the case the teen wants a book we don’t have at JDC I bring it from the public library system. I keep a spreadsheet of who has what and everything is checked out to one library card account that I maintain. On the day of the visit, I pack my hand cart with any requested materials, new magazines, and new books for the collection and hop on the light rail to arrive at JDC. I check in with staff, sign in, and receive my building keys that I’ll use to move around the building. I have a book truck that I fill with new, popular, and interesting items, which I take up to each “mod” of residents. In each mod, I meet with residents, talk to them about the books they like and what they’ve been reading at JDC. These teens have a lot of time to fill and many read a book a day. They love to tell me about books they liked or did not like, and it gives me a good opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory on the fly by suggesting other books on the cart, and to encourage them to visit the public library after their release. After my visits I head back down to the library to put away returned materials and weed any damaged items. I spend about four hours at the JDC every Tuesday morning, with a few additional hours at my desk every week making requests, updating my spreadsheet, and getting the materials ready to bring in. Twice a year I put together an order for new books for JDC, with support from Hennepin County Library’s Outreach department. We sometimes get grant funding to bring in authors to visit the residents in JDC and other correctional facilities served by Hennepin County Library. When that happens, I work with my colleagues to plan the visit, bring copies of the author’s book for the residents to keep, and communicate with JDC staff and teachers to support attendance at the visit. Last year we were delighted to invite Kekla Magoon to come in and speak about her book How it Went Down. Residents had an opportunity to read the book before her visit and then were able to ask her questions about the book and her life as a writer. Everyone got to keep a signed copy of the book.

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

Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other librarians in your system and those doing similar work in other library systems. Ask lots of questions – find out about existing outreach programs and what makes them succeed. If you have an idea for outreach you’d like to do, don’t be deterred by the inevitable, “Oh we tried that in 2010 and it didn’t work” response. If it’s a valuable library service that supports the mission of your library and addresses a community need, you can find a way to make it work. Meet with teachers, program coordinators, shelter directors, and other youth workers in your community and explore how you can bring library services to their youth programs or collaborate on youth programming together.

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

I love hearing about what the teens are reading and seeing their enthusiasm about books. I’ve learned to never make assumptions about what incarcerated teens might be interested in reading – I get requests from R.L. Stine to Dostoyevsky, from Stephenie Meyer to Sister Souljah – and the joy I see when I bring a requested item never gets old. My favorite experience is when a formally incarcerated teen comes to see me at the library – we talk, get their library card account up-to-date, and look for books that might interest them. Coming from a situation where some books are restricted, a formerly incarcerated teen once said to me, “Wait, I can read whatever I want?” “Yes,” I said, “this is your public library. You can check out any book you see in here.”

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 Trixie Dantis, Teen Services Librarian at Arlington Heights Memorial Library and YALSA Board Fellow.

What drew you to the Board?
I am very passionate about increasing library staff diversity. When there was a call for members to serve on YALSA’s Board Diversity Task Force, I jumped at the opportunity. Working on this task force piqued my interest in governance, learning how the organization works. I decided to apply for the Board Fellow Program a one-year commitment to get better understanding of the organization and Board.
What do you do on the board?
Since this is the first year of a 3-year organizational plan we’ve been focusing on realignment of existing structures within the organization to better serve members working towards the envisioned future of library services for and with teens. I’m on the standing board committee concentrating on Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services priority. In preparation for Midwinter, I worked with colleagues to develop a couple of board documents
What the board is doing for its members?
There are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for YALSA members! The board is laying the groundwork for upcoming leadership development and cultural competency curricula. For those looking to get involved, there will be more short-term, virtual volunteer opportunities to fit busy schedules. For those looking to connect, revitalized Interest Groups can help you build your local or topical network. One thing I cannot stress enough, we want member feedback. Let us know what you’re struggling with when it comes to serving teens – we want to help!
What book you are reading or what is your most favorite recent teen program?
I recently finished, All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It’s the third book in the Naturals series. It centers a group of teens recruited by the FBI to help apprehend serial killers and bring them to justice, like YA Criminal Minds.

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 Franklin Escovedo, Principal Librarian for the City of Coronado, California.

What drew you to the Board?  

I think I have a strange back story for my involvement with the YALSA Board.  So at Annual in 2008 in Anaheim, my first ALA conference, I went to the member meeting GLBT-RT, and they were asking if any members were members of YALSA, “the perky librarians” the chair asked at the meeting.  Myself and a colleague who is no longer with us, were the only two members hopping up and down trying to get their attention.  We laughed about this later, since we did indeed fall into the category of perky librarian.  They were looking to fill a Liaison position for the round table, since the Liaison position had become vacant.  So I was appointed to be the liaison.  They didn’t seem to know what had happened to the previous one, they just told contact two people.  One of those was Beth Yoke and the other was a Board Member who was also a member of the GLBT-RT.  Since this was my first official activity in ALA, I was pretty lost at what to do, figured the best way to find out what YALSA was doing was to go to Board meetings.  So at Midwinter in 2009, I attended my first board meeting and was the only observer.  Sometimes they forgot I was there and would get into really heated debates, then someone would point out that there was an observer.  But from that first meeting in Denver, I was really impressed at the work that the Board did.  And from then on people kept asking me to be more involved and run for board.  So for several years I kept telling them I wanted to learn more about YALSA before I would run.  But what has kept my interest is the passion that the members of the board have for YALSA and the future of teen services, the need to adapt to the current and future landscape of teen services and for the librarians working with teens.  This is a division that hasn’t rested on its laurels but one that is trying to keep pace with the ever changing landscape of information and library services for teens, whether physically or virtually.     

What do you do on the board?  I’m one of the Board of Directors; I’m helping to shape the future of YALSA by helping to implement the new organizational plan.  I also liaison with few Chairs, the Teen Top Ten Committee, the Interdivisional Committee.  I’m also our liaison for the Division to ALA Advocacy group.  I’m currently working on a way to evaluate some of our older committees and to see what needs to be changed so that they will align with the new org plan.

What the board is doing for its members

One of the biggest challenges that the division has had over the past few years is how do you make YALSA more accessible to it’s members.  How to do you get more of the members involved?  One of biggest changes and exciting change is the ability to get more members involved in virtual committees.  The move of PPYA to a virtual committee made it possible for members who can’t afford to go to conference accessible.  One of the biggest road blocks for many members is the cost of attending a conference.  Like a lot of my colleagues, my library doesn’t cover the cost of me attending let a lot membership dues.  A not everyone is crazy like me, who pays for everything themselves.  Going to conference is no cheap affair.  So changing the charges of the selection committees has allowed more of our colleagues to participate.  This new change will allow many more librarians to get involved and help create selection list faster and hopefully get librarians who may not have participated in the past more actively involve.  YALSA is still trying to create better resources for its members and I believe for teen librarians in general.   We know that YA Librarians are often rare in libraries and that there a lot of generalist as well as paraprofessionals who serve as the Teen Librarian.  We want to continue to advocate for YA Librarians being added to the payrolls of libraries and schools.  We want to help with the continuing education of a YA Librarians, the new, the old, and the newly reassigned librarians who want to provided better services for teens.

Are you reading a teen book you may want to share or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.  I’m currently reading several books, one book is the first of the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan. I’m also reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly for my mystery book club that I run at my library. And I’m halfway through this year’s Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award winner, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.  I was lucky enough to meet Meredith at the Coffee Klatch in Orlando.  I’m so thrilled that it won!