Back to School: Building the Resume

Many libraries are in a great position to help teens develop skills and experience they can add to their resume. Whether it be volunteering on a regular basis or honing graphic design or other useful technology proficiency, teens can gain that needed edge through the library for when they seek out other opportunities.

Last school year, I stumbled across a program at my local public school system that gives students school credit for being part of a library program such as volunteering! What a win-win situation for all! Read on for more details on how the program works. Continue reading

Back to School: CIPA Policy Brief

This summer, ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy and Office for Intellectual Freedom released a policy brief marking a decade of school and public libraries limiting patrons’ access to online information due to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Titled Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later, the report advocates an action plan to reduce the nationwide, negative impacts of CIPA. I found it well worth a read, and you will too if you wish to understand the progressive possibilities surrounding CIPA at your library and at libraries across America.

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District Days 101: How to Get an Elected Official to Your Library

By: Annie Schutte is Director of Libraries and Center for Inquiry at the Maret School in Washington, DC.

It’s August in Washington, DC–four glorious weeks when the nation’s capitol empties out as congressional staffers sneak off for vacation and their bosses head back home to shake hands, kiss babies, and maybe even visit your library. But how do you get an elected to agree to come to an event at your library? Just follow these five easy steps:

1. Remember that elected officials work for you. Members of Congress may spend a lot of time off in Washington, but they’re there to represent you and your library patrons. They get long stretches of time away from DC so that they can connect with their constituents back home. One of the best ways for them to do that is to attend local events, but they’re probably not going to come to yours unless you extend an invitation. So what are you waiting for? Find out who your elected officials are and how to contact their local offices here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/

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Planning for District Days

By: Rachel McDonald

As teen-serving library staff, we see the value of libraries in our communities every day. Whether it’s through job readiness workshops, STEM programs, or book clubs, we can attest to the ways in which our programs engage teens, offer them safe spaces, and prepare them for adulthood. But how often do we think to share our successes with our elected officials? District Days is our opportunity to do just that.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t thinking about District Days way back in March when my manager emailed asking me to identify two summer programs that I thought would be good events to invite our local representatives to. He explained that the best events are ones that you will personally attend, where you expect good attendance, and will generate photo ops. I chose the two robotics workshops for tweens that our library was offering in partnership with a local FIRST robotics team (yay, Skunkworks 1983!). Since the workshops had been super successful at other libraries and we were requiring patrons to register, there was no chance of an elected official showing up to an empty room. My manager gathered program information from all the children’s and teen librarians across four libraries, compiled it, and sent invitations to our elected officials, from the mayor to our state representatives.

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District Days

Are you ready for a late summer tradition? It’s not the end of SRP or back to school shopping, it’s District Days. Not quite sure what District Days are or need a refresher?

District Days are when congressional representatives return home to their districts on recess. The recess this year is from August 2-September 7. It is during this time that representatives will have office hours at their local offices, attend town hall meetings, and meet with constituents to speak with them about their issues and concerns.

This is a great opportunity for you to advocate for libraries and teens! You can demonstrate to your representatives why libraries are a valuable asset to their constituents and communities. District Days provide you the ability to let your voice as a librarian be heard before the representatives head back to Washington, D.C.

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Children’s Rights in the Digital Age or, How UNICEF is Like Your Library

When I was eight, I won our school’s “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” throw down. I scoured the neighborhood for hours, wheedling coins and Snickers bars out of polite neighbors and adding them to my little orange box. By the end of the night, the hoard of pennies and nickels had broken the box at the seams, and I presented it to my teacher wrapped in a sustaining nest of duct tape.

The reward for all of this was a trip to UNICEF headquarters. Somewhere in my parent’s house there sits a billfold stuffed full of pictures of the wall art, the cafeteria, the library– all of the things that as a child I found interesting. At eight, I understood that UNICEF were the good guys, that they fought AIDS and built wells, and that they were kind of like the non-mouse version of the Rescue Aid Society.

But beyond saving Penny from Madame Medusa, UNICEF strives to help children and mothers in all aspects of their lives, including the digital.

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YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Board Advocacy Best Practices

Do you believe in teen library services?

The YALSA Board does, too, which is why we volunteer to do what we do, just as you as members, do.

As mentioned in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, it is imperative that YALSA continue to advocate for teens and libraries. Although discussions, projects, and groups are in place to support the general membership in their roles as advocates, the Board itself has not discussed what board members, as informed individuals, can do to support YALSA’s advocacy efforts.

In order to address this, the proposal that will be presented before the Board at ALA Annual consists of four components:

  • a plan for YALSA as an organization and as individual board members to adopt advocacy best practices
  • an update to the YALSA Board Member Responsibilities list to include advocacy efforts
  • an update to the YALSA Board Member contract to include advocacy efforts
  • a Board Member Advocacy checklist

Together, as a board, as an association, and with you, we want to amplify our voices to ensure that teens everywhere have access to the excellent teen library services that all communities deserve.

More information may be found in the board documents for ALA Annual that will be posted today and Monday, June 16th, 2014.

Questions, concerns or suggestions? Please send them to the following members of the YALSA Board Standing Committee on Advocacy:

Candice Mack (Chair)
Email: cmack [at] lapl.org
Twitter: @tinylibrarian

Jennifer Korn
Email: Jennifer.Korn@cincinnatilibrary.org
Twitter: @korncakes

Chris Shoemaker
Email: cinf0master@gmail.com
Twitter: @doseofsnark

Thanks for all that you do for and with YALSA! Hope to see you at ALA Annual in Vegas!

May President’s Report

May 2014 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

  • Attended National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. with Executive Director Beth Yoke. We met with staff members representing Senators from the HELP and Commerce Committees, as well as the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance for Excellence in Education, Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, and the Afterschool Alliance.
  • Worked with various individuals and YALSA member groups to provide feedback  to Barb Stripling, ALSC and AASL leaders for a ALA Council resolution on Eliza Dresang, a well-loved library leader and GSLIS Instructor who passed on April 21st.
  • Wrote a “From the President” column for YALS.
  • Facilitated a town hall with the Board and members on organizational experiences.
  • Worked with Executive Director Beth Yoke on a draft agenda for YALSA Board meetings a the ALA Annual conference and solicited Board feedback.
  • Solicited feedback from ALSC and AASL executive committee members for our joint executive meeting at ALA Annual.
  • Provided feedback to ALA leaders and representatives on ALA/Division meetings at ALA Annual.
  • Held virtual discussion with the Board and voted on a policy aimed at Broadening Participation in YALSA’s award and selection committees.
  • Provided feedback to various Chairs and Taskforces.
  • Provided feedback to board members on draft proposals for YALSA meetings at ALA Annual.
  • Spoke with a reporter from MTV on Young Adult Literature.
  • Wrote a report for the ALA Executive Board and Council on 2013-2014 activities.

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Amplified: National Library Legislative Day

During the next few days, YALSA’s Executive Director and I will be in Washington DC for National Library Legislative Day. We’ll be talking to Congressional Staff and policy makers at key foundations and organizations about the vital role libraries and library staff play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for careers.

In order for our conversations to have any lasting impact though, they need to be supported by a grassroots effort from members and supporters. Without your participation in NLLD via Tweets #NLLD14), emails and phone calls, we’ll be just two people talking. We need you to amplify, to show that we are all working together to improve teens’ lives.

As of today, just over 300 individuals have signed on to support YALSA’s NLLD Thunderclap. While that’s a start, YALSA has 5,138 members. All of those members have friends, families, colleagues, and patrons who stand behind the important work that we do everyday. So please, take a few moments out of your day to help your teen patrons, your library and your livelihood. Sign our Thunderclapreach out to your members of Congress and encourage others to do the same. Let’s leverage social media to amplify our voices and make real change for libraries and our patrons! The future of teens and libraries depends on us. #Act4Teens now.

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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