YALS Spring 2017 Resources – Advocating for Teens in Public Libraries+

In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Tiffany Boeglen and Britni Cherrington-Stodart’s article on advocating for teens in Public Libraries explores ways staff can actively advocate for the teens they serve. Their article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

Act for Youth “U.S. Teen Demographics” -http://www.actforyouth.net/adolescence/demographics/.

National Institute of Health “The Teen Brain Still Under Construction” – https://infocenter.nimh.nih.gov/pubstatic/NIH%2011-4929/NIH%2011-4929.pdf

Search Institute “40 Developmental Assets of Adolescents” – http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescentsages-12-18

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Why You should Care about the FCC’s Attack on Net Neutrality

In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after an outpouring of support from the public, put in place strict regulations to make sure  internet service providers (ISPs) could not do things like create fast lanes, or “throttle” online traffic.  They preserved an open internet where all traffic is treated equally online and where large corporations did not get preferential treatment over individuals or small institutions, like libraries or schools.  The American Library Association (ALA) has long been a supporter of net neutrality–keeping the Internet open and free to everyone–and has issued several statements on the topic.  Net neutrality aligns closely with libraries’ core value of providing free and open access to information for everyone.  You can learn more and keep up to date on developments from their District Dispatch blog.  This week, the Trump administration proposed rolling back those regulations with an ironically named “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal, and they are now accepting public comments about the proposal.  Continue reading

YALS Spring 2017 Resources – The Library’s Role in Protecting Teens’ Privacy

In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Mary K. Chelton’s recently accepted position paper describes the library’s role in protecting teens’ privacy. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

  1. Project Censored, “The Top Censored Stories of 2015-2016.” Intellectual Freedom News, (November 28, 2016) http://projectcensored.org/14-fbis-new-plan-spy-high-school-students-across-country/
  2. Office of Partner Engagement. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools. (January, 2016) https://info.publicintelligence.net/FBI-PreventingExtremismSchools.pdf.
  3. Homeland Security Committee. Final Report of the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel. (September, 2015) https://homeland.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/TaskForceFinalReport.pdf
  4. American Association of School Librarians. Standards for the 21st Century Learner http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/learning.
  5. Tucker, William and Amelia Vance, “School Surveillance: The Consequences for Equity and Privacy” Education Leaders Report Vol. 2, No. 4, (October, 2016) http://www.nasbe.org/education-leader/school-surveillance-the-consequences-for-equity-and-privacy/
  6. Hackman, Rose, “Is the Online Surveillance of Teenagers the New Stop and Frisk?” The Guardian (April 23, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/23/online-surveillance-black-teenagers-new-stop-and-frisk
  7. Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Adopted June 19, 2002, by the ALA Council; amended on July 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/privacy
  8. Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Adopted July 2, 1986, by the ALA Council; amended January 10, 1990; July 12, 2000; January 19, 2005; July 2, 2008; and July 1, 2014. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/accessresources
  9. Minors and Internet Activity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of RightsAdopted July 15, 2009, by the ALA Council%3B amended on July 1, 2014http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/minors-internet-activity
  10. “Social Responsibility,” in Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/core-professional-values-teen-services-profession

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YALS Spring 2017 Resources – Creating a Unique Brand for Your School Library

In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Kelsey Barker’s article on creating a unique brand for your school library explains why a brand is an important part of advocacy. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

“What Is Advocacy?” American Association of School Librarians. December 15, 2015. Accessed February 04, 2017. http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/definitions.

Young Adult Library Services Association,. 2017. YALSA Advocacy Toolkit 2017. PDF. Young Adult Library Services. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/2017%20Advocacy%20Toolkit.pdf.

Contact your Senator to Support Library Funding

Last month library supporters were called on to contact their Rep in the House.  Now it’s the Senate’s turn!  Please email, Tweet and/or call the offices of your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on to the “dear appropriator” letters for two critical pieces of library funding: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).  Please share this widely and encourage your colleagues, coworkers, friends and family to contact the offices of their Senators as well.  This is an extremely tough budget year, and without huge grassroots support (i.e. thousands of voters contacting Congress), the nation’s libraries will lose this critical funding.  The deadline to sign the letter is May 19.

  • Go here to contact your Senators’ offices: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home –ready to use messages are waiting for you!
  • Check up on your Senators after you contact them.  Use ALA’s easy tracking tool  to find out if your Senators signed the letters.  Then thank them if they did, or contact them again if they haven’t yet done so.
  • To learn more about the issue, read this ALA blog post.

Thank you for all that you do to support teens and libraries and don’t forget we have everything you need to be a part of National Library Legislative Day, May 2, on the wiki as well as 10 other ways you can take action right now to support libraries!

-Beth Yoke

P.S. If you’ve been trying by phone to reach your Senator and the lines are busy, try Resistbot instead

Light Up April for National Autism Awareness Month

Every April the nation celebrates National Autism Awareness Month to promote “autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life”1. As teen library staff, we assist teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) whether it’s through reference interactions, programs, and/or volunteer opportunities. If staff has yet to interact with this population, celebrating National Autism Awareness Month is a gateway to connecting with this community. Not only is this an exciting opportunity, we, as teen library staff, are charged with “reach[ing] out to and serve ALL teens in the community no matter what their backgrounds, interests, needs, or abilities, and whether or not they frequent the library space2.

So how exactly do we participate in National Autism Awareness Month?  There is a variety of things we can do to spread awareness and invite teens with ASD into the library!  Here is a simple idea from The Autism Society3 that all libraries can implement as a starting point:

Put on the Puzzle! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture – and educate folks on the potential of people with autism!

By wearing these ribbons, we can make a statement that will not only show support and solidarity for these teens, but start great conversations with patrons who are not familiar with National Autism Awareness Month. Another great way to promote Autism Awareness is to create book displays, pathfinders, ans/or Libguides featuring characters with ASD and nonfiction titles specifically for teens with ASD.  YALSA’s The Hub has a great archive of postings that focus on both fiction and nonfiction titles for teens so definitely take a look at some of those posts. Along with great book displays and a diversified collections, why not get our teen book clubs involved by reading and discussing a book featuring a teen with ASD. Here is a great handout to give to teens to read before the book club in case they have any questions. If possible, work with community partners, or medical experts, to participate in the conversation so they can answer any questions teens may have regarding ASD.

Another great way to bring awareness to ASD is to actually connect with local organizations that provide services to teens with ASD.  By creating these partnerships, not only are we bridging a huge gap in services to this group of teens, we are letting our communities know that we are excited to provide specialized or inclusive programs and services for these teens. When communicating with these organizations, find out what these teens would like to see in the library and discuss these ideas with our Teen Advisory Boards (TAB). By proposing to our TAB that the library would like to provide services to teens with Autism, and we would like their help, we are providing them with the chance to give back to their community in yet another meaningful way. If this is something that your library may not be able to do (just yet), try adapting current programming to include teens with ASD with the help of these organizations.

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YALS Spring 2017 – Advocacy

Any day now YALSA members and YALS subscribers should find in their mailboxes the latest issue of YALS. (The digital edition is already available on the Members Only section of the YALSA website.) The Spring 2017 theme is Advocacy and includes articles on:

  • Using media literacy to combat youth extremism
  • Supporting teens understanding privacy and surveillance in digital spaces
  • Teaching Hip Hop as a way of life and a means to empower youth
  • Advocating for teens in public libraries
  • Creating a unique brand for your school library
  • The library as a refuge for marginalized youth
  • Moving from passivity to activism
  • Making a case for teens services

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Transforming Teen Services: Getting Teens Passionate about Civics (It Can Happen!)

 

As democratic strongholds, libraries are open to all, serving as a space for community engagement, open discussion, and intellectual development. Not only does the library space serve as a civic forum and information hub, libraries are community conversation initiators and civic guides (Gutsche, 2012; Kranich, 2012). Often when discussing civic engagement, the focus is on adult participation. However, teens should be brought into the discussion as young citizens with powerful voices that can effect change on local, state, and national levels. Libraries provide teens with “genuine and meaningful opportunities to work with each other and with policymakers to impact issues of importance” (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2011, pg. 2). Civic engagement is tied to healthy youth development, introducing opportunities for teens to become comfortable expressing themselves, learn to think critically, and hone empathy and compassion skills.

Teens must develop the skills necessary to fully participate as engaged and informed citizens. Librarians can, and frequently do, help by providing youth programming that supports the development of 21st century skills. YALSA’s report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, highlights the essential literacies that youth need to acquire to be work, college, and life ready. Through knowledge and skill accumulation, teens are more confident entering a world where sometimes opportunities for personal and professional development are few and far between. Additionally, within the safe space of a library, teens feel liberated to share their opinions, thoughts, and concerns with willing, involved, and engaged peers and adults. Growing up in a small rural town in Georgia, my library became one of the few places where I could learn about cultures, belief systems, and opinions that were far removed from my tiny hometown. These experiences have had a deep impact on how I serve my local community, country, and profession.

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Federal Library Funding Update & Next Steps

April 3rd was the deadline for Representatives in the House to sign on to ALA’s “dear appropriator” letters for two funding streams for libraries: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).  In all, 146 Members of the House signed on to support IAL, and 144 Members signed on to back LSTA.  Last year, just 124 members supported IAL, and only 88 supported LSTA, so the increased support is a good sign.  Thank you to everyone who contacted their House Reps!  If you haven’t done so already, please shoot them an email or a Tweet to thank them.  Check this chart to see if your Rep signed one or both letters. Continue reading

An IMLS Overview

If you are anything like the general population you know that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) does SOMETHING with libraries (and museums) but you really have no idea what it does. We hope by now that you know that IMLS is on this year’s chopping block, per the White House’s proposed budget, but aren’t sure how it will affect you, and why it’s a big deal.

And these cuts are a Big Deal. The IMLS is fairly young, as government organizations go, having been created in 1996 by the Museum and Library Services Act (the act combined the Institute of Museum services and the Library Programs Office), and is reauthorized every 5 years, but it touches every state and US Territory in the country. IMLS now supports all libraries- public, academic, research, tribal, and special as well as every type of museum- from children’s to planetariums to history. Over 158,000 museums and libraries combined benefit from IMLS funds every year.

The majority of IMLS support to libraries is the Grants to States program. Grants to States is the biggest source of federal funding for libraries across the country. It is a bit of a misnomer, because these grants aren’t competitive or something that requires an application. Every state automatically receives funding from Grants to States based on population needs, over $150 million dollars in funds is distributed to libraries every year through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Each state receives a base amount of $680,000 and each Territory receives a base amount of $60,000, which is then matched at the state level. (To find out how your state uses LSTA funds visit the IMLS State Profile Page.)

Each state or US Territory is able to determine how they will allot these funds, and many states distribute their library portion through their State Library. These funds support a variety of library functions and operations. States use this money to fund staff at state library agencies, continuing education for library workers, Talking Books programs (books for the blind and physically handicapped), broadband internet access, programs for teens, seniors, and at-risk populations, access to databases and downloadable books, and much more. Visit your state library’s web site to learn more about all of the resources and services they have available to help you help teens.

The IMLS also supports libraries through competitive grants, research, surveys, and policy development. The IMLS works in partnership with state agencies and museums to collect data and distribute the collected information to state and federal agencies. This data is used to identify the upcoming trends in library and museum services and to identify target needs across the country. These trends are studied and policies for best practices and plans to improve them are established. Initiatives on InterLibrary Loan, staffing, library governance, collections and more are developed through these extensive surveys and research.

Without the funding from the IMLS libraries will be facing far-reaching budget and service cuts. We will see the funds for things such as the databases we depend on for research dwindle, the funds for downloadable content dry up, and our state agencies will likely lose valuable staff that support our work at the local level. Statewide library funds will effectively be halved by these measures, putting library services and libraries at risk.

How can you help?

Facts and figures drawn from https://www.imls.gov/