When I read this the other day I thought, this is a call to action for library staff:
“The Department of Education (ED) and Alliance for Excellent Education are announcing the launch of Future Ready Librarians, an expansion of the Future Ready initiative aimed at raising awareness among district and school leaders about the valuable role librarians can play in supporting the Future Ready goals of their school and district. Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches who work side by side with teachers. In addition, a network of nationally recognized librarians, with support from Follett, will provide input on the development of strategies aligned with the Future Ready Framework, and five Future Ready Summits will be held in regional locations throughout the country and will include librarian-designed and facilitated sessions for district leadership teams on designing collaborative learning spaces. – From the White House Fact Sheet on the President’s Nation of Makers initiative.
I think that announcement is a pretty exciting one and not just because libraries are called out. (Yes, that’s awesome.) Also notice there is a strong focus on the impacts that making activities facilitated with, through, and by libraries. Read this again:
“Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches…”
At each YALSA Board meeting the Fiscal Officer, that’s me, facilitates a Board discussion about a topic related to the financial health and well-being of the association. Over the past several years the Fiscal Officer, the Executive Director, and the Board have worked to determine the types of fiscal discussions that will be most useful in this environment. We don’t want to simply go over the numbers included in the report – that can be done just as effectively in a non-face-to-face environment. What we do want to do is to have a fruitful discussion that can help in long-range planning for the ongoing fiscal health of the association. At the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando the focus of the fiscal discussion is on planned giving.
In the Annual Conference Fiscal Officer Report document the following quote helps to frame the importance of this planned giving discussion.
“…every non-profit should be focused (in part) on finding benefactors to leave them planned gifts because there is no better way to plan for the future growth and strength of your organization.” From the Fundraising Authority website
Middle school. It can be a tough time for many tweens, teens, and the adults who live and work with them. It’s an important time for a young person (and their family) for future planning and decision making. It may seem very early to start thinking about college and career. It’s not. That’s why YALSA is offering a professional learning/funding opportunity for library staff working with middle schoolers on the college and career readiness process. As noted in The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that All Students Are on Target for College and Career Readiness before High School
…the level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school. This report also reveals that students’ academic readiness for college and career can be improved when students develop behaviors in the upper elementary grades and in middle school that are known to contribute to successful academic performance. The implication is clear: if we want not merely to improve but to maximize the college and career readiness of U.S. students, we need to intervene not only during high school but before high school, in the upper elementary grades and in middle school.”
From monthly webinars, to an e-course, to ALA Annual, YALSA has a lot of opportunities for you to take part in professional learning this summer.
First up is the June 16 webinar titled, Content Creation Tools for You and Your Teens. The session will be facilitated by Nick Grove from the Meridian Library. Nick is the digital services librarian at the Meridan (ID) technology center, unBound, in the heart of downtown Meridian. Anyone who participates in the webinar will leave knowing:
- How to decide what content creation tools to use with and for teens.
- How content creation can help support teen 21st century skills development
- Where to go next to learn more about the topic
I bet that many YALSAblog readers have been fortunate enough to have a professional mentor. Maybe that experience was serendipitous and the mentoring relationship wasn’t planned but nonetheless ended up being an important part of professional growth. I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be mentored both spontaneously and through specific planning. Each has been a fantastic experience and I am grateful to the mentors I’ve had in my professional life.
I’ve also been a mentor and was fortunate enough to act as a mentor as a part of YALSA’s formal virtual mentoring program. That too was a great experience. Not only did I get to help a newish library staff member move forward in their work, I also learned a lot from the people I worked with. Learning about their work, their questions, and the projects they wanted to pursue helped me to think more about what are the best ways to serve teens with and through libraries.
Now you have the chance to make a difference in a library staff member’s life and also perhaps gain some new insights yourself. YALSA’s virtual mentoring program is accepting applications for both mentors and proteges through June 1. It’s a perfect opportunity. And, if you know someone who you think would be a great mentor please pass this information on to them.
In late April the YALSA Board approved the association’s new organizational plan. If you haven’t read the plan I think you want to. And, if you need some encouragement, check-out what some YALSA Board members are excited about:
YALSA Board member Jennifer Korn with library teens – they are excited with the Teens First focus.
“After a 15-month review of the current evidence base, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Science Education concluded in a recent 2015 study that out-of-school programs have been shown to:
- contribute to young people’s interest in and understanding of STEM,
- connect young people to caring adults who serve as role models, and
- reduce the achievement gap Continue reading
In the spring 2016 issue of YALS, Darcy Coffta, the Upper School Librarian and Director of Innovation at the Berwick Academy, provides an overview of the school’s Innovation Center and some of the projects that students have worked on. One of the Innovation Pursuits mentioned is the “Cupcake Innovation.” And, as promised in the article, the recipe is available so you can try it out yourself.
You can read more about the Berwick Innovation Center, access mentor materials, and more on the Berwick Academy website.
YALSA members and YALS subscribers can access the current issue of the journal, along with past issues, on the “members only” section of the YALSA website. (Login required.)
In the final week of discussion related to thinking differently about library services for and with teens, let’s talk about barriers and successes that people have had with thinking differently and implementing change. Thinking about what you’ve read related to this topic, and what you’ve been able to accomplish, let us know:
- What barriers have you faced to making change and thinking differently
- How you overcame those barriers, or questions you have about overcoming those barriers
- A success you’ve had in your library implementing YALSA Futures Report related ideas that help make change in your work with and for teens
- What you think helped to make the change possible
- Ideas and suggestions you have for others who are also working towards change
- Questions you have about implementing different thinking, innovation, and change in your work with and for teens
You can read the original post in this series as well as the follow-up.