YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Competencies Update Taskforce!

What skills, qualities and competencies do library staff need in order to provide the best services and support to the teens and tweens in our communities?

Volunteer to help YALSA update its “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” document, with particular emphasis on aligning the document to the principles in the Futures Report, since the document was last updated in 2010!

More information about the document, taskforce charge and more may be found below:

YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: Young Adults Deserve the Best (2010)

Competencies Update Task Force (Charge)

Review the current document called “Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” and update the language and content, as needed, to ensure it reflects the mission and core values of teens services as described in The Future of Library Service for and With Teens: A Call to Action. Provide a draft for the Spring Executive meeting, and submit a final report with recommended changes for Board consideration by Annual 2016. Task force size: 5 – 7 virtual members, including the Chair.

Previous Competencies Update drafts:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_AN15.pdf

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_MW16.pdf

Please email me at candice.yalsa [at] gmail.com if you are interested in serving on this important taskforce!

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – Overview

Happy post-Midwinter!

The YALSA board started off Midwinter on Friday with training session on best practices in association governance. All day Saturday, Board members worked with a consultant from the Whole Mind Strategy Group on organizational planning.

Based on those discussions, several key topics rose to the top as ones most likely to become the focus of the organizational plan. They were: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

The goal is to develop a focused and responsive plan which will help YALSA meet the needs of members and advance teen services in libraries across the country. Based on the outcomes of the organizational planning discussions, the consultant will help the Board draft a new, 3 year plan.

We hope to have that in place by March 1st.

While the planning discussion took up all of the Board’s meeting time on Saturday, there were still other topics that the Board discussed at the business portion of their meeting on Sun. and Mon.

Those topics included:

  • Diversity on YALSA’s Board: the board voted to approved the taskforce’s recommended updates to the nominating committees’ charges and asked the taskforce to submit a formal request to the board for adoption of a diversity definition for YALSA. The board had some questions and feedback regarding the proposed checklist for nominating committees’ use and sent that document back to the taskforce for further work
  • Dues categories & rates: the board voted to table this issue until after organizational planning is complete
  • Updating YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: the board reviewed the latest draft and had further recommendations for refinement
  • YALSA’s portfolio of guidelines and position papers: the board approved the proposal to have staff work on updating some of these documents in the short-term

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the accompanying blog posts on the YALSAblog that other Board members have been sharing out since we’ve returned from Boston.

If you have question about a particular agenda item or issue or would like more details about it, feel free to e-mail me or any of YALSA’s Board members.

I will also be hosting another virtual town hall via a Twitter chat on Fri. February 5th from noon to 1:00 p.m., Eastern, and I hope you can join in!

Drop in any time during the hour to learn more about organizational planning and board activities and follow along with #yalsachat.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the potential focus areas for the new plan: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

Also, feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for tweets about the work of the board!

Libraries Transform: An Interview with ALA President Sari Feldman

Please tell the YALSA members about your program Libraries Transform.

I have the great good fortune to be able to introduce Libraries Transform, but this is intended to be a three to five year public awareness program. Libraries Transform is an American Libraries Association program, it is not a President’s initiative. It is ALA’s new program for America’s libraries. It is a public awareness program that is intended to increase awareness of and support for the transforming library; to shift perceptions from the library as obsolete and nice, to have to essential; and to energize library professionals, build external advocates, and influence local, state, and national decision makers.

Most of our YALSA members do not work in management and have limited decision making authority within their library.  What are some ways that you envision this type of library staff person could participate in the campaign?

Well, certainly I think of YALSA members as some of the most facile in using social media and I think that is a tremendous opportunity to be both the messaging from the campaign through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, whatever tools people are using, the campaign’s graphic look really lends itself to social media, but also to communicate that libraries are less about what they have for people and more about what we do for people. So YALSA members are especially positioned to demonstrate to our communities and decision makers how libraries are changing the way young people learn.

Other than the 10 ways to get involved that are listed on the Libraries Transform web site, how else might library staff participate or be empowered to speak up for libraries?

Certainly, I think any opportunity to talk about the ways libraries are transforming is good. It is so important to not only be talking to ourselves, not to only be talking to other librarians or to library supporters, friends of libraries, etc. But, I think YALSA members also have an opportunity to not only have the messaging resonating with young adults, but to take this message into schools, because I know a big part of the YALSA membership is involved with the school community as well as the public community. So with the schools especially, we have an opportunity to not only communicate with young people but to expand that to communicate with teachers, administrators, and parents, who may be less aware of the changing library environment and the changing impact. One of the things about the campaign which is so important is that it is about all libraries, because we believe we are more alike than we are different. That libraries are creating individual opportunity and community progress. So whether that community is a college or university or public community or school community, it is about changing that community, being at the center of that community life. So there are so many ways that just communication and talking to audiences, talking to friends and family, that YALSA members can really be amplifying this message on behalf of Libraries Transform.

How do you see Libraries Transform relating to YALSA report, “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action”?

So certainly I see it inparticular about the changing way that YALSA members are talking about their work and certainly that one comes to mind immediately is about connected learning and concepts related to that, and the importance of learning that is more active. That has been a big part of the messaging of Libraries Transform, that although we are less about what we have for people, we still have things, we are not saying that we are not going to have collections in the future, but we are more about what we do for and with people. So certainly in the YALSA view, how young people learn, is that they learn collaboratively. The YALSA view is that learning is more flexible, learning is more self-directed, learning is more creative, with more of an opportunity to create content, not just use content. I think that just in the nature of viewing library work in that larger learning environment, whether it is a school or a public environment, is very close to the messaging of the campaign.

How do you think Libraries Transform and the YALSA report can inform each other to improve the future of libraries?

I hope that as YALSA members are building out a plan, a more tactical plan, either for their libraries or for YALSA as an association itself, that the messaging from Libraries Transform can be built into that. We can be thinking about not only how we tactically do the work but how we communicated the work to make supporters into active advocates, to be sure that funders are increasingly aware of the role that libraries are playing, and to be sure that policy makers and decision makers are conscious of the role that  libraries are playing in the learning of young people. I think that we can see in the results of the education bill that the lobbying effort was really strongly aligned with messages about the ways that libraries are embedded in the school environment. We need to elevate that messaging into all environments where we touch young people around learning. And I think that there is so much alignment but where it can be most valuable, is as we align when talking about public awareness and advocacy.

What are the key outcomes you and ALA are hoping to achieve with this campaign and how will ALA measure those?

So at this point, ALA is bringing on a staff member to lead this project. He will be introduced to the library community at MidWinter. But, I mentioned the broad objectives, which are listed on the website librariestransform.org , but ALA is really hoping that we will see ultimately increased funding for libraries, and much more engagement with policy makers and community stakeholders.

Is there anything else about the program that you would like to share with the YALSA community?

The Libraries Transform campaign will only be as successful as the activity level of the members of ALA. I see that social media will be one of the strongest opportunities to get the message out about the campaign. It really calls on the YALSA members to use the tools that they have to ensure that the message is heard. Once again, much of our work is focused internally, focused on learning new skills to advance our programmatic opportunities, bringing new technology into our field, designing programs and curriculum that better serve our audiences, in this case young adults, but it is very important that we tell this story more broadly and we tell this story to the less aware or less informed about the work of libraries, and how impactful around creating this learning environment that ultimately results in individual opportunity and community progress. I don’t know if your members know, but I started my professional career as a young adult librarian, so I have tremendous affection and loyalty to the work of YALSA members and I know that it is such an incredible opportunity to really ensure that a person stays engaged in learning, that kind of connected learning, active participation, the creative aspects that have been brought into learning as we think of it in the library environment, it is just so exciting to me. We need to make sure that we tell the story of transformation and that people understand the value of community investment in libraries, whether school libraries, public libraries, or college and university libraries.

YALSA joins with ISLMA and ILA to call for reinstating school librarians in Chicago Public Schools

The Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) has issued a statement along with the Illinois Library Association and YALSA commending the students at DuSable High School for staging a successful read-in to protest the lay-off of their school librarian, and calls on Chicago Public Schools to reinstate school libraries in all schools across the city.  The Chicago Teachers’ Union issued a recent report indicating that only 32% of CPS high schools have a school librarian on staff.  In addition, the report reveals that schools whose student population is a majority African-American are disproportionately impacted by the cuts.  To read the full press release from ISLMA.

Sign this Petition to Protect Libraries & Patron Rights

Last week, the Michigan House and Senate passed legislation that is onerous to libraries and sent it to Governor Snyder to sign.  The library community is calling on the governor to do the right thing for libraries, schools, and parks by Vetoing SB 571.  If SB 571 becomes law, library staff could be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards could be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. If this bill is signed into law, it will affect every Michigan library campaign 2016 (in 2014 there were at least 51 Michigan libraries on the ballot). This law, if it is not vetoed, would place a gag order on the library staff and boards’ ability to tell the truth about what the plans are to put tax money to work, and what the impact would be on community outcomes if it doesn’t pass.   Continue reading

How Food, Music, Gaming, and Volunteering Can Transcend Fear and Intolerance

Recently, teens have been bombarded with rhetoric and actions that do not support their development or provide a safe environment for them to thrive. Unfortunately, there are far too many recent examples of young people being bullied or harassed by their peers or adults. For example, a report from the Council on Islamic American Relations of California indicated that more than half of Muslim students ages 11 to 18 report having been bullied because of their religion. As teen library staff, we should address this atmosphere of fear and social injustice and work with teens to turn it into something positive by promoting the intrinsic values of tolerance, equality, and acceptance. And we should do this regardless of whether or not our communities include a large population of people from diverse backgrounds. In order to be successful, well-adjusted adults, we need to help all of our teens learn how to understand, accept and work with others, regardless of their background.

Recent discussions at a national level about immigrants and Muslim-Americans point to the need to help young people separate fact from fiction. Regardless of whether or not your community is hosting immigrant families or has a large Muslim community, now is great opportunity to convey to our teens the importance of compassion and inclusion for people of all backgrounds. One tool that I found incredibly helpful is the YALSA’s Cultural Competence Task Force1. This task force has compiled an extensive list of resources that not only provides general information and training information in regards to cultural competence, there is a great section of resources that we can use to help our teens develop cultural competencies through youth involvement. One article, entitled Engaging Youth to Create Positive Change: Parent Support Network of Rhode Island published by National Center for Cultural Competence, Center for Child and Human Development, and Georgetown University, states the following:

Continue reading

Thank Your Congresspersons for Supporting Youth & Libraries!

Earlier today the Senate voted to pass a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This bill was approved last week by the House. ESSA is important for our nation’s youth because it includes key wording acknowledging the important role school libraries play in helping students succeed and prepare for 21st century careers. Please take a moment to thank your members of Congress who voted in favor of ESSA, and encourage others to do so as well. YALSA has ready-to-use messages for Tweets, emails and letters to the editor on the wiki, as well as links to the voting record for members of Congress. Thank you for standing up for youth and school libraries!

Round 2: Contact Your Senators by Wed. to Support Youth & Libraries

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act.  This is good news for youth and libraries, but the process isn’t over yet.  The next step is for the Senate to discuss it and vote on it on Wed. Dec. 9th.  We need library staff, advocates, EVERYBODY to contact their Senators by Wed. morning and ask them to vote yes on this bill.

How you can help

  1. Call, email or Tweet your Senators to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures.  To find out who your rep is & what their contact information is, visit this ALA page & type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page
  2. Contact absolutely everyone you know, ask them to do the same thing and share the above link and these sample messages with them:

Continue reading

Kindles for Everybody at Washington Middle School, Seattle – a lesson in educational equity

Recently I was privileged to meet School Librarian Elaine Harger from Washington Middle School. She was talking about her library and mentioned the roll out of a technology one  to one program, and how the ways in which it didn’t do as planned. In libraries we rarely talk about what didn’t work, so I asked her if she would be so kind as to share with YALSA blog readers so that you can learn from her experience.

Below is her response.

Continue reading

Speak Up for Teens & School Libraries by Dec. 2nd!

The final language of the federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act) was released today and school libraries are included in many important ways. But, since the bill is not final until it’s voted on, it’s imperative that library staff and advocates contact their Representative in the House before the House vote happens, most likely on Wed., Dec. 2nd.

How you can help

  1. Call, email or Tweet your Representative to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures.  To find out who your rep is & what their contact information is, visit this ALA page & type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page
  2. Contact absolutely everyone you know, ask them to do the same thing and share the above link and these sample messages with them:

Continue reading