code.org public domain logoI’ve been a proponent for many years of the idea that coding is something that all youth should learn. I firmly believe that, through coding, youth gain a variety of 21st century, college and career readiness, and STEM skills. But, when I hear people talk about Hour of Code, and in December when I saw all the Tweets and Facebook posts and so on about the events being sponsored by libraries, schools, and out of school-time-institutions in honor of Hour of Code, I have to admit, I cringed a bit. Here’s why. It seemed to me that for many of the institutions that I was reading about, the work was being done as a one-time event. And, I don’t believe we can help youth gain the skills that coding activities lead to in an isolated once-a-year program. Hour of Code is a great way to celebrate what learning to code can bring to youth, but it should be the start or middle or end of something bigger. It should not be a one-and-done experience.

This idea is highlighted on the Code.org website on the page titled, What’s the Impact of the Hour of Code. One point really stood out to me on that page when thinking about my “problem” with Hour of Code (bolding and caps added by me): Read More →

creative commons licensed piggy bankAt ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston, one of the topics the YALSA Board focused on was YALSA’s dues and member categories. This was a follow-up to a Annual Conference 2015 conversation at which the Board approved placing on the YALSA 2016 ballot an item that will ask association members to approve an initiative that allows YALSA to align dues with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In Boston the Board looked at three more options for the 2016 ballot on the topic of dues and member categories:

  • Raising regular member dues by $5 to $65/year.
  • Raising organizational member dues by $30 to $100/year
  • Not adding any ballot items beyond the previously approved CPI related measure

After discussing the three options the Board decided to not add a ballot item other than the CPI measure. However, the Board wanted to continue to review this topic, particularly once the association’s current organizational planning is done. With that in mind, the Board did approve the following motion: Read More →

Tweets image care of Wikimedia CommonsA bit over five years ago – October 2010 to be more exact – the YALSAblog began the Tweets of the Week feature. Now, five years later, it’s time to try something new. That means that starting later this month, the YALSAblog will unveil a new monthly feature, News of the Month. This monthly post will curate a few of the top stories that I and current Tweets of the Week blogger, Lisa Castellano, think are interesting. You’ll find links to new and interesting articles on the lives of teens, popular culture, technology, professional learning opportunities, and more in this new monthly post.

We won’t post any new Tweets of the Week this month. But, look for the new feature in just a few weeks.

If you have any questions about the new format, or would like to help us curate the content, feel free to get in touch with me or YALSA’s Blog Manager Crystle Martin.

Sean MacEntee Flickr Creative Commons photo of a bound documentOn the YALSA Board agenda for Midwinter Meeting 2016 item 21 focuses on YALSA’s Portfolio of National Guidelines and Position Papers. A number of these documents were published by the association over the last several years and it’s important that YALSA keep these materials up-to-date and accurate in order to best serve library staff working with teens.

In order to achieve this the YALSA Board asked the association’s National Guidelines Oversight Committee to review these materials and make recommendations – particularly on whether or not the documents needed to be revised in any way. The Committee was asked to keep in mind the YALSA “Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” report and make sure that the documents aligned with the ideas in that report.
Read More →

The YALSA Board Midwinter Meeting Agenda and related documents are available. When you take a look at the agenda you’ll notice there are a couple of discussions related to fiscal matters of the association. As the YALSA Fiscal Officer I wanted to highlight these two items for members.

  • creative commons licensed image by Brand New Day of piggy bank with a couple of dollarsYALSA Dues Categories and Rates is item 20 on the YALSA Board agenda. It’s an action item which means that the Board has had initial conversations about this topic (at ALA Annual 2015 in this case) and should come to a decision at their Midwinter meetings. As this topic is associated with YALSA dues, any proposals made by the Board related to the document will go on the 2016 YALSA ballot and put to a vote of the membership.

    At Annual Conference 2015 the YALSA Board discussed the pros and cons of revising the methods the association uses for determining dues. At that time the Board approved placing on the 2016 ballot a bylaws change that would ask members to vote for regular dues changes based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This would change the current practice of the YALSA Board analyzing dues about every five years and then determining if an increase was warranted. At the same time that the Board voted to move forward with the CPI ballot initiative, they also asked the Capacity Building Standing Committee to determine if YALSA should also revise the dues structure and categories in any way. The Capacity Building Standing Committee reviewed current dues rates and categories in ALA Divisions as well as in other education and/or youth development focused associations. The document the Board will discuss at Midwinter provides an overview of the information gathered by the Capacity Building Standing Committee, and a set of options for Board members to consider in order to determine if other dues related items beyond the CPI alignment should be included on the 2016 YALSA ballot for the members’ consideration.

  • Item 26 in the Discussion section of the Midwinter Board agenda is the Financial Update. At both Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference the YALSA Board has a discussion – facilitated by the Fiscal Officer and Executive Director – about the fiscal health of the association. As a discussion, it is not expected to lead to any specific action by the Board. This year, the Board will talk about the final figures for YALSA FY15 and the first numbers for FY16. (The YALSA fiscal year runs from September 1 through August 31.) The discussion gives Board members the chance to ask questions about the numbers as well as discuss any concerns or challenges related to the fiscal health of the association.  The goal of these discussions is to ensure that YALSA has the funds it needs to support members through the programs and services it provides.

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.

If you have any questions about YALSA’s fiscal matters, feel free to get in touch – lbraun@leonline.com. As YALSA’s Fiscal Officer I’m happy to talk with you about the topic.

learn button creative commons licensed Flickr photo by 드림포유 As 2016 gets underway you might be thinking about opportunities for professional learning. YALSA’s “Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” highlights the importance of continuous learning as a way to inform and improve practice and as a way to help others in your institution, and community, learn about the importance of the work you do with and for teens. As you start 2016 consider the following topics as areas you might focus on in your professional learning over the next year.

  • Design Thinking
    Using the process of design thinking to help teens develop knowledge in STEM, college and career readiness, and 21st century skills is something to add to your repertoire. Design thinking focuses on solving problems and coming up with solutions. In service for and with teens this kind of thinking should be embedded in everything you do. Read More →