I’m glad I’m following Julie Scordato’s excellent post on creating a Teen Services Vision Statement, since the task of shaping Teen Services staffs’ job descriptions should be the next step after creating and sharing that Vision Statement.

Anyone looking to create a mission/vision statement or job description should take a look at Peter Drucker’s Managing the Non-Profit Organization, which looks very dry, but is actually stuffed with great anecdotes and common sense.  In a discussion of how to manage staff, he writes (emphasis mine):

People require clear assignments.  … They need to know what the institution expects of them.  But the responsibility for developing the work plan, the job description and the assignment should always be on the people who do the work.

Everyone in the non-profit institution, whether chief executive or volunteer foot soldier, needs first to think through his or her own assignment.  What should this institution hold me accountable for? The next responsibility is to make sure that the people with whom you work and on whom you depend understand what you intend to concentrate on, and what you should be held accountable for. Read More →

I am always on the lookout for good books to recommend to teens – although I read a lot, there’s no way to keep up with the flood of good books, especially when you think of the broad scope of teen interests and reading levels.

Of course, YALSA does a great job with all of their booklists – I always find great things to recommend (and read!) there. But for a different perspective, it’s a good idea to take a look at things like this – the teenreads.com “Ultimate Teen Reading List”.
Compiled by teenreads.com users and staffers, it’s a broad-based list with lots of nonfiction and adult books with teen appeal. Check it out!

Also in the “recommmended reading” vein (and threatening to make my “to be read” pile downright mountainous) is this list of “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” Of course, not all of them are teen-friendly, but I’m certainly wishing I’d read a few of them as a teen – maybe then my list wouldn’t be so small! It’s interesting to see what others have read and recommend – if you do a Technorati search for “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die”, you’ll see lots of different responses to the list – great reading for those people like me who are always peering at other people, trying to see what they’re reading.

What do you use to find book recommendations – for yourself and your teens?

It’s time to Get Active! @ your library… (like you haven’t been running around anyway!) All this week, libraries and teens will be celebrating Reading for the Fun of It with programs, parties, poetry slams, volunteer activities, book displays and more!

How are you celebrating Teen Read Week? I’ve got my posters up, we’re having a scavenger hunt in the library tomorrow, and the Teen Advisory Council is hosting a Fall Carnival for Kids this weekend. This afternoon, I’ll display as many of the Teens Top Ten nominees as I have on the shelves, and I’ll be encouraging teens to vote online for their favorites.

During Teen Read Week, teens can also vote for next year’s theme, take the reading survey at smartgirl.org, and submit a theme and logo for the 2007 National Library Legislative Day. Publicize all of these great activities with this flyer from YALSA.

Please let us know in the comments how you are celebrating Teen Read Week!

In New York State, the Department of Education just reported that reading scores drop across the state as students enter middle school.

The New York Times articles quotes the New York education commisioner, Richard P. Mills:

“The overall pattern is disturbing,” Mr. Mills said at a news conference in Albany. “Literacy is the problem. This pattern is not inevitable. This pattern has to change. All youngsters have to emerge from middle school ready for high school. We still have a lot of work to do.” He added: “We have to do something different. We have to change our tactics, our curriculum, our approach.”

Something different? How about encouraging children and teens to Read for the Fun of It® – not just for tests and scores, but to learn about subjects that they’re interested in and to explore new worlds and adventures. As librarians, we know that literacy improves when teens read for pleasure on a regular basis – heck, it’s one of the 40 developmental assets for adolescents. While teachers and administrators are bound by the No Child Left Behind Act and the increased emphasis on tests, librarians have an opportunity to reach out to kids that are overwhelmed by middle school and the pressures that come along with it.

While getting ready for Teen Read Week™, look up what’s happening with your state or school district’s reading scores. Discussing how the school or public library can help develop teens’ lifelong literacy skills with teachers and administrators can be a valuable promotion.

Think like a marketer – take a look at this Teen Market Profile, which “delivers a complete picture of the demographics, media usage, product consumption and lifestyle choices of America’s teenagers (ages 12 to 19).”

The report resides on the Magazine Publishers of America’s website, and offers a focused look at teens and their interests (and how those interests are viewed by the market forces trying to sell to teens). For example:

Many Teens feel that “most grownups are really stressed out,” and they don’t want to follow this example. “Being really good at your job” and having “control in your life” are important components of Teens’ definition of success. But, they also value relationships — family is very important to them, and a good marriage is a sign of success.

Teens today understand the need to be able to turn on a dime because they live with short-term change and volatility on a day-to-day basis. Unlike previous eras, Teens also live with paradox, realizing that their choices are filled with a mix of good and bad. Even so, they have a strong sense of empowerment and believe that they can conquer any challenge, actively seeking out causes to support. They are self assured, with three-quarters or more of them agreeing with the statements “I trust my own judgment a lot” and “I have a very clear idea of my objectives and goals in life.”

All of this will be of interest to librarians – take a look at the lists of top magazines read by teens, the survey of teen attitudes to technology, and the section on “Teens and Education.”

As you plan for Teen Read Week®, consider the information here – TRW is a great opportunity to market to teens in your community about the wonderful services and products that the library has to offer!

Here’s a great news story about a teen choosing to get active in her library and her community: Bellaire senior hopes to encourage more reading by teenagers in area.

For her Girl Scout Gold Award, Diana Batten is raising money and gathering book donations to update and make the teen area of her public library more appealing to teens. She’s doing many of the things that YA librarians try to do: attract community interest and involvement; gather assistance from teen volunteers in collection development and planning; and emphasizing the ideas that teen should read for fun and get involved in their local library (hey, that sounds familiar…)

I hope that this spotlight on teen reading and services at Bellaire Public Library inspires them and other libraries to keep the ball rolling – hire a teen services specialist, explore new collections such as graphic novels and games, maybe celebrate Teen Read Week!

And Ms. Batten’s ideas for fundraising and donations might be useful to some librarians thinking about using this year Teen Read Week theme: Get Active @ your Library to promote volunteering at the library. Here are some other ideas for library volunteer projects: Get Philanthropic @ your Library

It’s not too late to register for Teen Read Week™: Get Active @ your Library (October 15 – 21, 2006).

Simply go to http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2006/reg.htm and sign up. Registering for Teen Read Week lets YALSA know how many libraries are participating in this important week.

Once you’re signed up, get programming and display ideas at the TRW site: http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2006/programs.htm

And if you order TRW products before October 6, you will be guaranteed to have them in time for Teen Read Week! http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2006/products.htm

I will be blogging about Teen Read Week all month long as libraries gear up to Get Active!