I have a coworker who goes out of her way to stock up on school supplies each fall (when they are on sale for Back to School) and then she resales them for the same price she paid, using a bit of our display area.  My first thoughts: Okay, that’s wierd. What a hassle!  Why bother?

But now that school is back in session, I’m seeing the genius of her idea.  We are located in a poor urban neighborhood.  There is not a nearby dollar store and many of our patrons get around using inadequate public transit.  Perhaps for these reasons or perhaps simply because it’s fun, students are stocking up on padlocks, notebooks, colored pencils and more.  There is even the option to buy binders to submit reports in.   

On the surface, selling school supplies is totally beyond the normal function of a public library but in reality it’s just making a simple effort to help students start the school year off on the right foot. Any other public libraries get creative about supporting students succeed at school?

Last night at 12:01 AM I, along with a theater full of teens, gasped with delight when the opening scene from the movie Twilight began. The delight was evident again with the first appearance of Jacob and even more so with the first appearance of Edward. This movie is great! Agree with me or not, I think we can all declare with full confidence that this blockbuster hit is going to make the Twilight Saga even more popular with readers of all ages. Read More →

With so many different things happening at Midwinter you are probably wondering which event is the social event of the conference.  Indeed, YALSA’s Tech Playground (Friday, January 23 from 8-10 PM) is the one not to be missed!

Join YALSA for an evening of carnival-style fun.  You’ll have the chance to sample fun technologies for teen library services while earning raffle tickets to win a Flip Video camera.  From making your own ringtone to voting for America’s Next Top Booktalker via SMS, every activity will offer ideas for fun and interactive programs you can replicate in real life with little funds.  (Go here for a full list of the fun.) Read More →

A few highlights from the Taking Teen Services to the Next Level Institute yesterday:

  • Advocating for teens is important because teens are a user-population that is not in a position to advocate for themself.
  • Being a successful advocate includes building allies with other departments. Making your interests their interests requires you to take the lead.
  • It doesn’t help the teens you are advocating for if you wallow! Avoid things like “it will NEVER work” or “poor YA services, we are second class.” This kind of talk just makes people tune you out.
  • Offer a well-thought-out plan that includes how it will make the library look better to all.
  • Prepare an elevator speech. Three lines should be enough to convince a stranger of whatever your passion is and that’s short enough that you can certainly memorize it.
  • Practice articulating your message in advance! Figure out your talking points and work them in. Learn a few techniques for working your message in regardless of the question asked. (But be careful not to sound like a politician in the process).
  • Take advantage of Library 2.0 tools when doing advocacy. You will have documentation of the impact your work is doing because of the very nature of “comments on”. Maximize this in every opportunity possible.
  • Get perspective by talking to colleagues from other library systems. What is status-quo where you are may very well be the opposite somewhere else. Sharing experiences with others is energizing.

Anyone think I’ve missed an important element from the Institute? Please include a comment! And thanks to the Advocacy Taskforce for putting together a full-day of learning.