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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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