Every #GivingTuesday (this year it is Tuesday, November 29) I give to organizations and causes that have an impact on my community. This year I am giving to Friends of YALSA to support my colleagues serving teens in public and school libraries to recognize their hard work and give them the helping hand they need to become leaders in their community and in YALSA. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a story about a YALSA member doing something innovative, reaching a new audience, and putting teens first. I am grateful that I get to be part of an organization of passionate librarians, and I want to make sure that my colleagues in YALSA have the tools they need to keep moving forward into the future.
All Friends of YALSA donations go directly to members in the form of $14,095 worth of annual grants, scholarships and awards for members. These honor the hard work and significant contributions members give to YALSA (Volunteer of the Year Award, and Writing Award), to support their advocacy for teens (National Library Legislative Day travel grants), and to build their leadership skills (Board Fellow, Spectrum Scholar and Emerging Leader). As we near Thanksgiving, and you consider what you are grateful for, remember the helping hands that got you to where you are today, and consider donating to Friends of YALSA to help share these wonderful opportunities with your fellow YALSA members.
Donate here. Click on Divisions and then YALSA.
Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member and has been a Friend of YALSA since 2012.
P.S. Many of the member grants and awards supported by Friends of YALSA have an application deadline of Dec. 1st!
Every month the Board meets for an informal chat to check in with on-going projects, get to know each other a little better, and get updates from the executive committee. At the Annual meeting in Orlando, the Board began the process toward aligning YALSA’s work with the new organizational plan, so there were a lot of updates to share from the three standing board committees: Leading the Transformation, Advocacy, and Funder and Partner Development.
The committee on Leading the Transformation is currently working on several board proposals to meet the needs of members by providing leadership development and cultural competency training. They are currently in the information gathering mode both from YALSA staff, members, committees and looking at national standards in these areas. They were also pleased to announce that YALSA has been represented at 13 regional or state conferences thus far in 2016 (with more to come!).
The Advocacy standing committee has been thinking about the best ways to accomplish the goals laid out in the organizational plan. They are looking closely at National Library Legislative Day and how YALSA can support that ALA effort. They also explored Governor’s Boards to see how YALSA members can influence state legislative action.
The Board members serving on the Funder and Partner Development committee have been working on a roadmap to increase planned giving, that was discussed at the annual meeting in Orlando. They have also begun prioritizing and building a strategy around YALSA’s needs and is looking for potential donors and partners who can fill those gaps.
President Sarah Hill updated the Board on the work of the Executive Committee which will meet at the YALSA Symposium in Pittsburgh. In Orlando, the Executive Committee was assigned new duties and roles within the board, and has been working to become deeply versed in YALSA’s financial matters.
The Board has been working hard on projects that kicked off in Orlando to align the association’s work with the new Organizational Plan, so expect more updates from the Board as we move forward! We hope to see you in Pittsburgh and Atlanta!
You have been hearing about the new organizational plan for months and that is not by accident or happenstance. When the YALSA Board began working on the new organizational plan, we made a commitment to emphasize communicating that work out to YALSA members and stakeholders. In every step along the way, the Board has been carefully and intentionally planning the ways we can best reach members to ask, inform and engage them around the new plan.
As we reach the last step of the organizational planning process (not to be mistaken with the last step of the plan itself, we still have a long way to go!), we wanted to look back on the past few months and evaluate the ways we have reached out to members. Here are few highlights of what Board members and YALSA staff have done to spread the word about the new organizational plan.
- 11 blog posts from Board members and YALSA Blog contributors with over 800 cumulative views
- Over 1,000 unique page views on the organizational plan website
- Mentions in YALS President’s Column, Editor’s Column and special highlights article from President-Elect, Sarah Hill, in the Spring issue
- Engaging in conversations with stakeholders and committee chairs (95% of chairs surveyed were familiar with the plan by mid-May)
- Too many social media posts to count!
Last month, YALSA announced a new three-year organizational plan building from the Futures report and looking forward to 2018. The YALSA Board has been working on this for over eight months, and consultant Eric Meade from Whole Mind Strategy Group has been an integral part of the process. I interviewed Meade to hear about the process so far, what has been rewarding about the process, and where YALSA is headed next.
Eric Meade will answer questions at ALA Annual in Orlando at a session titled “What’s New in YALSA & How You Can be a Part of It” from 8:30 – 10am EST at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 03/04. Please attend to hear more about the new organizational plan, where YALSA is going from here and explore ways you can be a part of it.
The YALSA Board Midwinter Meeting Agenda and related documents are available and you probably noticed a lot of time devoted to strategic planning. The work YALSA began with the association’s Futures Report, was also the start of gathering information, feedback and opinions that ultimately is helping to inform a new organizational plan. A majority of Board meeting time (which is open to the public) will be spent on organizational planning, but the work doesn’t stop at Midwinter. One of the proposals before the board outlines a plan to communicate the outcomes and next steps of the organizational plan to all YALSA members and stakeholders.
As the Board commits to a “Teens First” focus for the organizational plan and works to prepare the association of the future, this will mean changes to the work of the organization. The Board wants to make sure all members are informed about any major changes to the work of YALSA committees and staff and services to members. These are outlined as priorities in the suggested communication plan proposal.
Once the Board approves a communications plan, over the next six months it is likely you will see news and updates about the new organizational plan on the YALSA website, YALSAblog, e-news, on our list-servs, in personal messages from Board members, and on social media. We want to make sure all members and stakeholders have access to the plan and have chance to ask questions and gain a better understanding of how the new plan will shape the work of YALSA.
Do you have questions or ideas about YALSA’s organization planning process? Please take the time to share your thoughts via this short survey.
All YALSA Board meetings are open to Midwinter Meeting attendees. Feel free to drop by for a short or long period of time. The meetings are an excellent way to learn what YALSA is working on and get a sense of how the association’s governance works. If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live Tweets from the meetings.
The first time I read The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I was inspired. The second time I read the report, I was overwhelmed. The third time I read the report, I was determined. As I looked at the findings in the report, and the steps YALSA calls out to ready our libraries to serve teens into the future, I felt like I was drowning. How could I implement all of these changes? And then I remembered that I was not alone, I was surrounded by amazing library staff who could, actually they should, come on this journey with me. So I started a discussion centered on the findings in the report and it has been one of the most professionally satisfying experiences of my career. If you feel a little overwhelmed, or want to build support for the actions outlined in the support with your colleagues, I highly suggest starting a discussion group.
First, the report looks deceptively long, don’t let that scare you or your colleagues from diving in. The real meat of the report, that provides the best fodder for discussion is only 33 pages long, that is achievably short, even for the time poor. We broke our discussion up, planning to cover the whole report in three discussions of 30 minutes each (about 10 pages per meeting).
We started small, with a look at the executive summary and the introduction to the report. This generated more discussion than we could cover in 30 minutes (I might recommend at least an hour) but I would rather get the conversation started and have it continue in the staff room, at the desk, and over coffee breaks. I knew we should allow for thoughts of dissent, one of the things I love about my colleagues is our ability to challenge assumptions. We want to really break things down so we can understand them better. You will notice a lot of questions that allow for the voice of dissent.
- How do recent cuts in school librarian jobs change our role as public librarians serving teens?
- Does the Library play a role in closing the achievement gap? Are we succeeded at that? What could we be doing better? Is that what our community needs? Is our community defined merely by our serving district, or does it expand beyond city/county/state borders?
- What are the negative influences on our teens that we can help alleviate or solve?
- Do you feel prepared to deliver culturally competent library service?
- What is our role in preparing teens for the workforce and making sure they have 21st century skills and technological literacy?
Shanna Miles, Media Specialist at South Atlanta High School in Georgia, is preparing to pitch an ambitious idea at the YALSA President’s Program Monday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. She will advocate for “America’s Next Top Maker” in front of a panel of librarians and business leaders for the chance to win cash and technology prizes provided by YALSA, Tutor.com, Makey Makey, and 3D Systems.
We wanted to catch up with Shanna before she heads to San Francisco for ALA’s Annual Conference.
KM: Hi Shanna! Can you give our readers a short description about the project you submitted to the Shark Bowl?
SM: I submitted a project called “America’s Next Top Maker”. In a nutshell, it’s a maker competition with an American Idol component. Students are given a backpack with the tools they’ll need to make a project, whether that be a song, a short story, or an app. They present their creations to the student body (I work in a public high school) and the students vote. The winner gets to keep the backpack o’ tools and goes on to create forever.
We are only one week away from discussing connected learning at the ALA Annual YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning. One thing about this event that grabs me is the word â€œpassionâ€, something I strive to foster in the teens that come to our library. We hope to give them a voice, and a place to share their passions and interests with each other through anime clubs, cosplay groups, book discussions and more.
This summer, we are featuring a series of fandom events for teens. Some programs focus on a specific fandom, some celebrate all fandoms from Doctor Who to photography. If you love it, we want to help you dive deeper into it. As I prepared for these programs I encountered the challenge of at the intersection of fandom and fair use.
Last week the Metropolitan Museum of Art’ revealed the renovation work on its fashion galleries, reopening them to the public. Michelle Obama remarked about the important role galleries like this play in the fashion world. Showing everyone that fashion isn’t just for the elite, or only worn on the runway.
Fashion is something we all interact with every day, but many of us overlook the complicated skills needed to work in the industry. Journalism pieces like Planet Money’s T-Shirt Project have shed light on what it involves to take a drawing and turn it into a piece of clothing. Michelle Obama also commented on the variety of tools a designer needs to have at their fingertips. “It’s a career that involves, science, engineering, accounting, marketing and so much more. Maybe they’ll learn about the math behind Charles James’s designs. And they’ll think to themselves, maybe I should pay closer attention in geometry,” she said speaking to students. This’ is another perfect example of connected learning, providing opportunities to learn new skills while diving into a passion for fashion.
Our teen cosplay club printed this crown with our 3D printer to go with a costume.
The Johnson County Library has been encouraging teens to show their style since 2008 with our first teen fashion show (pictured above). Since then we have branched into a cosplay club that meets regularly to design, sew, critique and wear costumes from their favorite books, movies and TV shows. The cosplay club is a great example of connected learning’ happening naturally and quietly at the library. Club members are required to make a project plan for each costume, set goals and deadlines, define budgets, and critique designs and help other member learn new skills (like 3D printing). The club has made appearances at local conventions in group costumes (most recently the Sailor ‘ Avengers) and continues to encourage members to grow and improve. Not all of these teens will become fashion designers but the skills they have learned to budget, plan and collaborate will serve them well in whatever career they choose. The Library is happy to provide a place for them to explore their passions.
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.
Over 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.