Connected Learning in the Summer

I met this week with regional colleagues about summer reading and summer learning. Many libraries continue to offer a Summer Reading Program, while other communities are launching Summer Learning Programs or highlighting their library’s summer efforts under a broader umbrella of summer learning.

Youth services librarians are a passionate bunch and this conversation was no different. Some individuals feel strongly that it continues to be the library’s primary role to promote reading and encourage reading – specifically for pleasure – during the summer months when students aren’t in school. Others saw reading as only one of the ways their libraries are supporting learning during the summer—also offering hands-on programs, interest-based groups, and volunteer and paid employment opportunities.
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January President’s Report

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national organization of librarians, library workers, and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens.

Activities

Virtual Road Trip: Kentucky

Read One Book, Change Two Lives

Krista King-Oaks, Boone County (KY) Public Library

Learning is a year-round process that begins and never ends, even when a child has learned to read.  Regardless of a child’s age, whether they are just starting kindergarten or embarking on the beginning of their senior year of high school, research shows that even reading just a handful of books over the summer months lessens the dreaded “Summer Slump” effect. kentuckyHowever, we all know that reading is more fun when you not only get to choose your own books, but when you can share them with a friend – and that is exactly what makes the library’s Read with a Teen program a smash hit!

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YALSA Virtual Town Hall

77% of public libraries do not have a dedicated teen services librarian. On average, there is only one librarian for every 953 students in an average school setting. Alarming in their own right, these statistics are especially problematic because as documented in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report and elsewhere, today’s teens face an ever-expanding menu of challenges. Not only are demographics changing, but the skills that that they need in order to be successful in school and in life are as well. As librarians, we are poised to address these issues but with marked decreases in our ranks, the task becomes all the more urgent.

YALSA is the only non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for teens and libraries. As a member driven association, we’re all “YALSA,” so what action can we take to reverse these trends on both on local and national levels? Join me for a virtual town hall this Friday, February 7th from 2-3 EST. We’ll talk about some of the current projects that the Board has put into place to help you advocate and to amplify the message that all teens deserve access to strong and engaging school and public libraries. I also look forward to discussing the challenges, successes, and conundrums that you’ve faced in your careers as teen services advocates, whether as enthusiastic newbies or seasoned pros.

Thanks for reading and I hope to connect with you on Friday!

Iowa: Virtual Road Trip First Stop

As the state-wide Youth Services Consultant, I get to know great teen services librarians doing wonderful things in Iowa’s communities.  Two of Iowa’s outstanding teen  services iowalibrarians report here on initiatives at their libraries:

Burlington Public Library (Burlington, Iowa) by Samantha Helmick

Outreach is a major strategy in Teen Services at the Burlington Public Library. Since piloting a monthly Book Talk program with community middle schools nearly three years ago, we have enjoyed growing participation in teen events, afterschool programs, meaningful feedback and relationships from teen users and increased YA check out.

I have been honored to pass the torch to the very capable and passionate hands of our Youth Services Librarian, Becky Ruberg. This year, she helped library teens organize demonstrations at City Council meetings to support the YA collection budget, coordinated a county wide Teen Job Skills Workshop and Teen Job Fair and created an alliance with Burlington’s Junior Optimists.

The Optimists pay the dues for Teen Advisory Board members and sponsor teen programs at the library. The TAB members each give a minimum of four hours of service to assist the Junior Optimists in the mutual goal to give back and support their community.

Through this merger, both groups have rebranded as TICOS which stands for Teens Inspiring Change, Optimism and Service. This partnership and programming has allowed teens to expand their influence in their community and support young adult initiatives at their library. Continue reading

YALSA Board Midwinter Update: Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce and Next Steps

The YALSA board was busy at Midwinter recently, discussing a variety of topics and action items. The Board voted to establish a Future of Teens and Libraries taskforce, to establish a new taskforce to carry out tasks related to the implementation of YALSA activities to the roll-out of YALSA’s new report, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action.

In particular, members seem to be looking for two kinds of things from YALSA – communicating and building advocacy with others, including other divisions within ALA, as well as more practical, on-the-ground support, including where libraries and staff can start, examples of libraries who are already doing the work called for in the report. Members would also like to have access to some standard presentations and conversation designs they can use in their communities.

The taskforce will be responsible for prioritizing the activities YALSA needs to complete to help members take the concepts in the report and turn them into action!

We are looking for members for this taskforce. Please apply by completing the committee volunteer form right now! As the report says, you don’t have to be an expert, just willing to learn together and help support your fellow YALSA members. Your perspective is really critical to our success.

Meanwhile, you are welcome to use the presentation we shared at Midwinter about the report in your own work with stakeholders.

Stay tuned for more from this exciting taskforce!

Learning Lab: St. Paul Public Library

St. Paul Learning LabThis post is part of a series where the YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.

Today we will read about a Learning Lab with the St. Paul Public Library, MN from Marika Staloch, Youth Services Coordinator, marika.staloch@ci.stpaul.mn.us. Continue reading

Learning Lab: Nashville Public Library

Studio conceptual drawingsThis post is part of a series where the YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.

Today we will read about a Learning Lab with the Nashville Public Library, TN (http://www.library.nashville.org) from Tari Hughes, President of the Nashville Public Library Foundation, tari.hughes@nashville.gov, and Elyse Adler, Associate Director for Community Engagement at the Nashville Public Library, Elyse.Adler@nashville.gov. Continue reading

Learning Lab: Anythink Wright Farms, CO

This post is part of a series where YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.

AnythinkToday we will read about a Learning Lab with Anythink Wright Farms branch in CO from Mo Yang, Studio Guide. Continue reading