Connected Learning: Connecting with Coaches

energyOver the past two weeks, the YALSA President’s Program task force has been meeting with connected learning coaches who will facilitate discussions in Las Vegas to discuss their experience with and use of connected learning ideas. The diversity of these discussions cemented the feeling that connected learning comes in all shapes and sizes and we can’t wait to hear from you at our program at ALA Annual.

As we dove into discussion with the coaches a few themes kept recurring and we wanted to share them with you. Connected learning is already happening in many libraries, some just don’t have that term in their vocabulary to label what they are already doing. Libraries are poised to be the place where passion-directed learning happens. Already a community hub, we can help connect teens with the resources, mentors and spaces that will help them follow their passions. Now that we know what connected learning is and can see it already happening in our libraries, we can begin to foster it with intention.

As we begin to plan programs, services and classes with connected learning in mind, we have to stay flexible. Self-directed and passion-based learning is difficult to direct without derailing the learners enthusiasm. This is an easier goal for public libraries, who likely do not have to prove the learning happening at their programs, and can let the process take as long as it needs to. Schools face the challenge of identified outcomes to every class or program, but there are some great examples of librarians using the concepts of connected learning to add additional value to their testable outcomes.

Connected learning is happening in all types of libraries, as evidenced by the diversity of our coaches. At A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning they will help participants identify connected learning already happening in their environments, and as a group we will discuss ways to level up what we are already doing. There are small things we can do to bring big rewards to our teens.

If you want to find out more about connected learning please start with the wonderful posts on the YALSA Blog, starting with this one. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning, Monday, June 30,  1-3 pm.

Connected Learning: Chicago Expands YOUmedia

Chicago Public Libraries and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are on board to expand their connected learning project, YOUmedia. A grant from the MacArthur Foundation and a contribution from the mayor will allow the Chicago Public Library to expand the program into five new locations as well as offering pop-up labs for teens at branches around the metro-area.

Projects and spaces like YOUmedia allow teens to learn at their own pace, emphasizing mentors, one-on-one teaching opportunities and self-guided exploration. The library gives them the tools and allows teens to delve deeper into their passions and share what they have learned with their peers. And now with the support of the MacArthur Foundation and the mayor, this program will be able to help even more teens.

Not all of us have 2.5 million dollars to spend on connected learning spaces but we can all incorporate the ideas of passion-directed learning into our libraries. If you are interested in learning more about how people are already using connected learning concepts, or want to share how connected learning plays a role in your library, mark your calendars for the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning, at ALA Annual this summer.

Learn more about YOUmedia in the video below.

Connected Learning: How Sailor Moon Taught Me To Code

Welcome to 1999. “Genie in a Bottle” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” are playing on the radio. At the hormone riddled age of 15, I sit in my eye-achingly yellow bedroom. The walls are covered with bookshelves and posters. A small room, there isn’t much space for furniture. A twin bed sits on the floor in the corner (beds without frames are so much cooler) and small dresser sits next to desk made from an old door set atop two filing cabinets. Riding the new broadband wave (no more tying up the phone line) I surf the web on my hand-me-down laptop newly upgraded to Windows 98. What do I surf for, what draws me to the growing online community…anime.
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Happy Birthday YALSA!

image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography on flickr

Today is YALSA’s 56th birthday! For over half a century YALSA has been helping libraries, library workers and advocates expand and improve library services for teens. All of the wonderful work that YALSA has done over the years would not be possible without the passion and hard work of members like you. On YALSA’s birthday please become a Friend of YALSA by donating to support scholarships and stipends to continue to grow young adult library services.

Let’s look at some other famous people who share this day with YALSA:

  • Solange Knowles, young sister to Beyonce who has tried her hand at acting, modeling and running her own business, turns 27 today.
  • Star of the popular TV series Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly turns 33 but still looks like she could be in high school!
  • Best-selling author and fan favorite from The Office, now staring in her own show, Mindy Kaling turns 34.
  • Iain Glen, who you may know from the series Game of Thrones, turns 52 today.
  • The Chuck Taylor, the basket ball player who made the shoes famous was born on this day in 1901. What would we wear without him?!
  • And for those children of the 70′s and 80′s, the two stars of RoboCop, Peter Weller (RoboCop) and Nancy Allen (Officer Anne Lewis) both celebrate June 24 as their birthday! I hope they had a party on set! I would love to see RoboCop with a birthday hat on.

If we could get them all together, it would be one heck of a party! You can celebrate by donating to YALSA and helping to provide an even better 57th year!

YALSA Birthday Cards

Image courtesy of Justin Henry on Flickr

YALSA’s 56th birthday is just a week away on June 24! As you probably know, choosing the perfect birthday card can be difficult. Not too sentimental, nor too sarcastic, the perfect balance is hard to find. If you are looking for the right message to send on Monday, please consider one of these cards (that, unfortunately, do not exist) inspired by our favorite books.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Front: Happy birthday! We would like to cordially invite you to attend Hogwarts!

Inside: Unfortunately we sent your original letter by owl and Errol is so slow it took 45 years to get to you.
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Celebrate with Nick Lake and Friends of YALSA

in darkness nick lake printz seal

All Friends of YALSA are cordially invited to a reception honoring Michael L. Printz winner, Nick Lake. Join us at this wonderful cocktail hour, hosted by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, before the Michael L. Printz Program and Reception during ALA’s Annual Conference on July 1st from 5:30-7:30pm in the Columbus AB room of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Unable to attend yourself? Gift your invitation to someone else so they can meet this amazing author and learn more about YALSA. Help introduce someone to an award-winning author, and a fabulous organization at the same time.

YALSA’s 56th birthday is quickly approaching. Help support YALSA and YALSA members by becoming a Friend of YALSA. Beyond this amazing reception, Friends of YALSA will also  enjoy reserved seating at the Printz and Edwards Receptions at ALA’s Annual Conference. Friends members in the Gold and Platinum circles will also be invited to small, intimate reception with Margaret A. Edwards winner Tamora Pierce.
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Party in a Post

CC Image courtesy of Rachel Ford James on Flickr

YALSA turns 56 this month and we want you to be ready to party! There is no better party planning tool than Pinterest, and I certainly don’t need an excuse to peruse the plethora of party planning pins, so here is your guide to an orange and blue theme YALSA party!

The ideas for your YALSA birthday party range from simple and quick to  requiring a Martha-Stuart-like array of tools and attention to detail. But no matter your budget, time or money, you will find something here that can help create the perfect party and draw attention to the wonderful things that YALSA does.


I will be hosting my party in our staff break room next week, complete with orange soda, popcorn (in blue bags) and cupcakes! You can throw a party as big or as small as you like and ask for donations to support the Friends of YALSA, to provide stipends and scholarships for your fellow librarians.

Post a picture of your cake or treats to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th for a chance to win a gorgeous apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop and a signed book!

What themes can you come up with? Or perhaps you are looking for another activity, check out the YALSA fundraising guide for more ideas!

Celebrate with YALSA

The Cornish HenYALSA’s fifty-sixth birthday is just a few weeks away and we want you to be at the party! We will be celebrating here all month long and we want you to get involved. Here are just a few ways you can participate:

1. Donate your time: The YALSA Fundraising Guide (PDF) has several great ideas about how to throw a party, family game night, Dinner by Genre or book trivia night! Take a few hours to host an event that celebrates YALSA’s accomplishments and benefits the Friends of YALSA.

2. Donate your money: Your financial support goes to grants, stipends and scholarships that help foster our profession. Friends of YALSA members also enjoy many benefits. Friends of YALSA attending the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this year, will enjoy reserved seating at the Printz and Edwards Award Receptions (tickets required) as well as a special reception for Printz-winning author Nick Lake before the Printz reception on Monday evening. Friends in the Gold and Platinum circles are invited to meet with Margaret A. Edwards Award winner Tamora Pierce on Saturday afternoon before the luncheon. Donate today to support your fellow librarians and enjoy the benefits of being a Friend of YALSA!

3. Donate your status: Check out your favorite cookbook and get baking! Help us spread the word about YALSA’s birthday by baking a birthday cake! Theme your cake after your favorite YALSA award, blog or week (Teen Tech Week and Teen Read Week) and post the picture to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th. Fans will vote on their favorite cake and the baker will win a prize pack including beautiful handmade apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop.

Find your way of telling YALSA how much you appreciate the past fifty-six years!

YALSA’s Turning 56!

Image Courtesy of Will Clayton on FlickrOn June 24, 2013, YALSA will celebrate it’s 56th anniversary and we want you to be a part of the festivities!In 1957, when YALSA was founded, it wasn’t the large organization we know today. Originally called the Young Adult Services Division (YASD), there are many things you would recognize in today’s organization. YASD was committed to librarians who served teens in all kinds of libraries and focused on selected booklists and a professional publication (a joint venture with ALSC). For 56 years YALSA has been committeed to serving and connecting young adult librarians, and this year we want to celebrate our organization’s accomplishments.
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The Importance of Donating in 2012

Image courtesy of Border Zero on FlickrIf you were like me, you heralded November 7th as a chance to get away from all the political attacks and posturing. Alas, it seems it cannot be escaped. We may be done with another election cycle but as the media reminds us, we are too close to the “fiscal cliff” for comfort. Several politicians have proposed changes to the tax code in 2013 that would affect charitable donations. With that uncertainty in the future, now is the time to donate to the Friends of YALSA and support a Spectrum Scholar like Hannah Gomez (a YALSA blogger).

I am so excited to be joining YALSA as the 2011-2012 Spectrum Scholar. My best memories are linked to books, writing, or libraries. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and attended the University of Arizona, where I studied music, creative writing, and Spanish. My parents and sister are teachers. Education and progressivism are family traditions. With my love of literature and experience working with at-risk youth, becoming a youth services librarian seems like a natural choice. It’s my way of contributing to the field of education and social justice.

I’m a school and book nerd, so I chose Simmons College’s dual degree in children’s literature and library science. Combining literacy services with literature scholarship will satisfy my personal and professional interests. Outside of school, I am working on a novel and a collection of short stories. I adore traveling: I’ve been to nine countries in the past six years. I’m also a classically trained pianist and singer. I hope to be able to draw on all my experiences and interests in library services. I can’t wait to begin!

Help us raise $6,500 by the end of 2012 to help the Friends of YALSA support Spectrum Scholars like Hannah.