YALSA President’s Report – December 2021

Greetings all! What a year it’s been! We’re a few days into the new year as I wrap up last month. Even in unsettling times, I hope you were able to experience some moments of ease and will continue to do so as we welcome in 2022. Here are some highlights from December:

Membership numbers (reported from August 2021):
Personal members of YALSA: 3,239
Renewals: 201 (this is an 11.6% increase from 2020)
New members: 90 (this is also an increase from 2020)

  • Directed the Board to continue responding to the History of Four EDI Taskforce Report recommendations
  • Submitted a President’s column for upcoming YALS issue. Co-written with social worker. (YALS is a great member-perk! Chock-full of useful information-free to members)
  • Worked on promoting the need for and appointing interested members to YALSA’s Division and Membership Promotion Committee.  (We still have openings to this important committee. Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form if you are interested!)
  • Continuing to seek a Member Manager for the Hub by reaching out to folks and updating call for applicants. Thank you Board Member, Director-At-Large Traci Glass for stepping in as interim!
  • Posted about YALSA’s partnership with Michigan State and Indiana University regarding Artificial Intelligence
  • Met with YALSA President’s Taskforce to develop ideas to continue moving forward on re-building social capital for and with teens
  • Working with AASL/ALSC to determine joint Executive Committee meeting
  • Working with Chairs and Board Members to submit board documents for January meeting (*more information will be shared on this within the next week or so)
  • Called for vote from Board Members for several Board Documents (will be linked here soon) regarding Virtual Option for Award Committees as well as Extension of Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce. Others currently under discussion.

As always, grateful for the passion and work from dedicated volunteers to YALSA! Take a moment to look back on 2021 for all that you’ve accomplished and we’ll continue moving forward-one day at a time! Here’s to 2022!

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

 

“I Remember When the Future was Unevenly Distributed” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

IMLS National Leadership Grant – Artificial Intelligence (AI)

You may be aware that YALSA is partnering with Michigan State University and Indiana University for an AI literacy program for youth in underserved communities. The libraries involved in the project include the San Diego Central Library (San Diego, CA), Carroll County Public Library (New Windsor, MD), and the Capital Area District Library (Lansing, MI).  The following is an interview with Dr. Heerin Lee and Dr. Kayhun Choi who are leading the project. This will be a great resource for working with teens and AI!

Q: Please introduce yourself and briefly explain how you are partnering with YALSA.

A: Heerin: Hello! I am Heerin Lee, a Principial Investigator (PI) of a project called “AI & Co-design in public libraries: Empowering underserved youth to cultivate symbiotic relationships between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their communities.” I am an assistant professor in the department of media and information at Michigan State University, working in the field of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). I design and evaluate robots for social good with the aim of empowering socially marginalized groups, including people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, racial minorities, and older adults.

Kahyun: Hi, I am Kahyun Choi, a co-PI of this project. I am an assistant professor of Information and Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington. I am an expert in AI models for music digital libraries. I bring my experience of developing and teaching an introductory and intuitive machine learning course to this project. When I am not working, I love to spend time with my husband and daughter, do yoga, and listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music.

Heerin & Kahyun: YALSA as a partner will publicize our open-source education materials developed within this project to librarians all over the US. These materials will include a detailed process of how we develop our program and how we run it including a summary of each session, main takeaways, lessons learned, and suggestions for future literacy programs. YALSA will also help us develop AI literacy webinars for librarians, promote the program, and perform other marketing activities via their outlets, such as social media, weekly newsletter, e-blast and other platforms.

Q: What interests you most about AI, and what led you to it as a course of study?

A: Heerin: While AI influences many people, only a relatively small population of engineers determine how the public interacts with AI in everyday life. The public’s limited access to AI knowledge stems from the fact that it is mostly disseminated by higher education programs. In particular, these programs mostly focus on computational aspects of AI rather than on social and ethical aspects. This could reinforce a digital divide and inequity issues at a national level. Thus, I thought it is crucial to run AI literacy programs through sustainable infrastructures like public libraries where community members, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, have access to AI knowledge.

Kahyun: About 15 years ago, I got fascinated by powerful emotions coming from music. Instead of becoming a singer-songwriter, I built an AI model that could understand music emotions to some degree by capturing relationships between audio signals and emotions. Ever since, I have developed AI models that can annotate music, song lyrics, and poems with topics, emotions, and genres. While developing and offering an introductory AI course based on music applications to students without technical backgrounds, I realized the importance of intuitive and accessible AI education for the public and, particularly, underserved populations.

Q: Why did you choose public libraries to focus your research?

A: Heerin & Kahyun: As I briefly explained in my answer above, I think it is significant to disseminate AI knowledge through well-developed infrastructures so that many people have access to it regardless of their socioeconomic status. Economically underserved communities, in particular, are vulnerable to AI’s negative consequences as they are largely excluded from the decision-making process of envisioning AI technologies in society. Since the internet emerged in the mid-1990s, public libraries, as early adopters, have long played a critical role in enhancing the public’s technology literacy in the US. As we enter an era of increased AI technology in our society, libraries have tremendous potential for nurturing AI literacy.

Q: Is there anything you hope that youth will gain with AI as a result of your project?

A: The two main components of our program are 1) Module 1—Understanding core concepts of AI, and 2) Module 2—Envisioning AI for local industries. With these two modules, we hope youth not only learn core AI concepts, but also get more actively engaged with their local civic issues as AI co-designers. For example, we will introduce local media stories about AI in their communities and discuss how technological issues are closely entangled with social issues. Our program will develop critical thinking capabilities, enabling youth to understand AI-related social issues in their communities and actively participate in public discourse about AI technologies.

This project particularly adopts an asset-based approach, which is a pedagogy built upon a critical race theory that views students from socially underserved communities not as people with deficits but as people with “community cultural wealth.” We hope this process help students see themselves as people with their own knowledge and position them as people who can utilize AI knowledge. This will also help them more easily become co-designers in our participatory design sessions.

Q: What is the timeline of your project -or when people can expect to see more information?

This is a two-year project that started in Aug 2021. We are currently recruiting youths and their teachers for interviews to understand how they think about AI and their career paths. Based on findings, we will build and evaluate the two AI education modules by Aug 2022. Subsequently, we will run the AI education workshops with the materials in three public libraries one by one, the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan, the San Diego Central Library in San Diego, California, and the Carroll County Public Library in New Windsor, Maryland, until May 2023. After the workshops, we will disseminate our findings and materials through YALSA, our website, and conferences.

Q: If people want to read more about the grant, where can they find it online?

A: The grant proposal, which includes detailed project design, is available online. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/lg-250059-ols-21 If you want more information, feel free to contact us at heerin-at-msu.edu.

 

 

 

How are you celebrating TeenTober?

TeenTober is in full swing!  How is your library celebrating? TeenTober is a new, nationwide celebration hosted by libraries every October and aims to celebrate teens, promote year-round teen services and the innovative ways teen services helps teens learn new skills, and fuel their passions in and outside the library.  It’s not too late to join in on the fun.  Check out the YALSA Toolkit for TeenTober here.  Download the TeenTober graphics here.  Need program ideas or have a program you want to share with others?  Check out the free resources available or share your program at YALSA’s Programming HQ: http://hq.yalsa.net/  Share your library’s photos on Instagram, don’t forget to use the #TeenTober and tag @yalsa1957 

Check out these libraries! 

Buchanan County Public Library
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUlEBLDM2iD/

Ardmore Public Library
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUh5hiFtj6l/

Hillsboro Library
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUlEBLDM2iD/

Let us know how you’re celebrating!  

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022

YALSA President’s Report – September 2021

The Rolling Stones performed a live concert in my town last month (September). The night before they played, Mick Jagger was captured in a photo standing outside a local (and quirky!) establishment completely unnoticed. The photo actually made national news because he looks so unassuming. Hiding in plain sight.  (Note-the photo in this post is not the photo discussed!) It made me think-if you were hanging out at the park with your pet, shopping for groceries down the street, or out to eat somewhere-which author would cause you to change expression if you saw them and recognized them? Jason Reynolds? Jacqueline Woodson? David Levithan? What about a YALSA member or a potential YALSA member? Those rock stars in their own right who’ve won a scholarship? Put together a program you’ve admired? Presented at a conference in a way that made you feel seen? We never know who we’re crossing paths with all the time but the potential for something-a connection, recognition-is always there.  That’s a bit how I felt with all the great interactions (albeit virtual) I’ve had with members in September. In addition to meeting regularly with the YALSA Executive Director, Board and Executive Board I also:

    • Made an appointment of  YALSA representative to the PLA Committee on Family Engagement
    • Appointed a Director-At-Large position to fill a gap on the YALSA Board
    • Speaking of rock stars – sent a request for a memorial resolution to YALSA’s ALA Liaison for Teri Lesesne
    • Responded to Board Liaisons regarding August Quarterly Chair reports
    • Appointed YALSA Liaison to ALA EDI Assembly
    • Participated with YALSA Staff in the ALA Virtual Volunteer Fair
    • Held first meeting of Implementing the President’s Theme Task Force (still seeking members!)
    • Connected with 2021 YALSA Spectrum Scholar, Cordiah Hayes
    • Along with Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALSA Executive Director, shared the YALSA 2022-2025 Strategic Plan with members and potential members (link coming soon!) in webinar format
    • Issued a statement supporting the selections from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list
    • Met with AASL President Jennisen Lucas
    • Appointed a YALSA representative with ALA for USBBY
    • Put a call out to members for participating on the Teen Programming HQ Advisory Board
    • Took a virtual tour of Reno with Carla Jamison, YALSA Program Officer, and representatives from the Nevada area (public, university library, etc.) for the YALSA Symposium (super excited!) in November

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

 

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki

 

 

 

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

Photo credit: “Silhouette at a Sigur Ros Concert” by Tom Olliver

Finding a New Groove with Community Collaboration

In August of 2020, I started my seventeenth year in education and my fourteenth year in a school library at Liberty High School in Lake St. Louis, MO. As I began to plan for the year, I felt the overwhelm that I know all of us, regardless of tenure in our libraries, experienced. The programming, the flexible spaces, the collection of tech–many of the “Future-Ready” elements I had dedicated time and money to build or curate–suddenly weren’t what teens or staff needed as our school district launched with a hybrid schedule. And that general “groove” I’d found myself in professionally for the last few years? It was gone. I felt scared, I questioned my value, I didn’t know how to help.

I did, however, have a dynamite network of local school librarians I had grown even closer to in the first few months of the pandemic, thanks majorly to our frequent Zoom meet-ups. And as I began to kick around the idea of trying a school-wide shared reading experience, I felt safe asking for their opinions and guidance. Was I too ambitious? What did they think about my book choice? Would they be interested in collaborating? These amazing women were immediately supportive and open to working together so the project could benefit not just my school community, but theirs as well. We dove in as a team, choosing Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls, titling the program, “One Read,” and dividing the work.

Our visit to one of the towns featured in The Radium Girls

Through our collaboration, we created a shared slidedeck full of lesson ideas, discussion questions, video links, activities, and more. We connected the book to various curricula including science, health, English language arts, business, art, and social studies, and we even took a group trip to film a virtual field trip of one of the towns featured prominently in the book. We agreed on a program hashtag, created a kick-off video, and created our own t-shirts. We even got our hands on a couple of Geiger Counters to enhance our students’ learning. We geeked out! Multiple switches to and from remote learning in my district complicated our efforts to talk with students about their One Read experiences, but teachers shared grateful emails and visited us in person to speak about how they were engaging students with the content. Continue reading Finding a New Groove with Community Collaboration

NNLM and SciStarter Present Virtual Citizen Science Workshops!

Is your library searching for virtual engagement opportunities? Are you interested in citizen science and crowdsourcing? Are you looking for more ways to supplement your #SummerReading programming? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) and SciStarter have collaborated on a series of workshops that you will certainly want to check out!

Imagine Your Story

SciStarter is an online platform for those who want to explore and engage with citizen science. With their Project Finder, users can filter through thousands of ongoing projects, and discover ways to contribute. Starting with Citizen Science Month 2020, the NNLM has paired up with SciStarter to promote several health-related projects, which can be found on the NLM page of their website.

Each of the upcoming virtual citizen science workshops in this exciting series is graciously hosted by a public library, and features a researcher whose work directly impacts an NLM-supported citizen science project. After a short introduction to citizen science from SciStarter, the researcher offers their perspective, and the workshop ends with an interactive Q&A session facilitated by public library staff. These events are designed for a public library NNLM and All of Us Research Program logos

audience of teens and adults.

In July, with support from the All of Us Research Program, the series kicked off with two workshops. The first featured Dr. Connie Walker, who directs the Globe At Night research project. This project uses crowdsourcing to “raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution.” She was interviewed by Michelle Lesniak, Director of the South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg, PA. The second of these workshops was hosted by Tredyffrin Township Libraries in eastern Pennsylvania. This time, the Stall Catchers research program was featured, and Children’s Librarian Angie Andre interviewed Dr. Pietro Michelucci. This projectSciStarter logo is especially suited for engaging families because of its interactive and gamified approach to Alzheimer’s research!

Keep an eye out for the rest of workshops in this series, and encourage your communities to register! Check out the links below for more information about upcoming webinars:

Watch the Recording: Globe at Night with South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg, PA on 7/9

Watch the Recording: Alzheimer’s Research Online Q&A with Tredyffrin Township Libraries – Paoli Library in Paoli, PA on 7/23

Free Registration: Help Develop RNA-based Medicines Online Q&A with the Newton Public Library in Newton, KS at 1 PM CT on 7/31

Free Registration: How to Measure Light in the Night Online Q&A with Riverside Regional Library in Jackson, MO at 10:30 AM CT in on 8/4

Free Registration: Investigating Weather and Climate Online Q&A with San Benito County Free Library in Hollister, CA at 2 PM PT on 8/4

Free Registration: Fight Plastic Pollution Online Q&A with Glendora Public Library in Glendora, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/12

Free Registration: Alzheimer’s Research Online Q&A with Olathe Public Library in Olathe, KS at 5:30 PM CT on 8/17

Free Registration: Protect Tap Water Online Q&A with the Studio City Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library in Studio City, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/19

Free Registration: Discover New Antiviral Drugs Online Q&A with the Watts Branch Library at the Los Angeles Public Library in Los Angeles, CA at 1 PM PT on 8/25

Free Registration: Investigating Weather and Climate Online Q&A with Howe Library in Hanover, NH at 7 PM ET on 8/26

Free Registration: Protect Tap Water Online Q&A with Torrance Public Library in Torrance, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/27

Free Registration: Help Track the Flu Online Q&A with Scotch Plains Public Library in Scotch Plains, NJ at 2 PM ET on 8/28

Free Registration: Fight Plastic Pollution Online Q&A with the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries in San Luis Obispo, CA at 3 PM PT on 9/3

 

This blog post originally appeared on the NNLM MARquee Blog on July 29. Re-posted with permission from the author.

ALA and Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Book Set Giveaway

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the American Library Association has partnered with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to distribute 6000 sets of books for youth to libraries across the country. The books bring the story of women’s struggle for voting rights alive and will be accompanied by an annotated list of additional recommended books about suffrage, along with ideas for displays and programming about voting in the United States. The project examines an important chapter in our nation’s struggle towards a more perfect union and the ongoing fight for access to full participation in our democracy.

Each set consists of three books corresponding to different reading levels: “Around America to Win the Vote” by Mara Rockliff for elementary readers; “The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote” by Elaine Weiss for middle schoolers; and the “National Park Service Women’s Suffrage Reader,” an anthology of essays for high school readers.

Learn more and apply by June 15th.

It’s Citizen Science Month AND (Almost) National Library Week!

Two people sit on a couch looking at a laptop together. The text reads: Citizen Science Month and Participate from Home!It’s Citizen Science Month AND it’s (almost) National Library Week! SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, and ASU Library—with support from the National Library of Medicine—will shine a light on libraries’ citizen science-related resources during a live event on April 21 at 5pm ET…and we invite YOU to 1) send us resources you’d like us to highlight, 2) join us during the event, and 3) invite your library audiences to tune in, too!

LIVE: The Field Guide to Citizen Science–and other free resources from your library!

Text reads: The Field Guide to Citizen Science

The live, online event will feature library resources, including: The Field Guide to Citizen Science, a new book from the experts at SciStarter. The event will include a reading by Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter, Professor of Practice at ASU, and one of the authors, who will help audiences discover what citizen science is, who can be a citizen scientist (everyone!), and how to find and join a project from home. We’ll all do one project together.

The Field Guide to Citizen Science reading and related activities will serve as a pathway to help people (families, seniors, teens, adults—everyone!) connect with other books and resources they can access for free, online through YOUR libraries. Then, Tess Wilson from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine will join us to spotlight projects on SciStarter.org/NLM, related health and medicine resources, and more.  

Please register for this free event and spread the word using any of the resources in this Google Folder! The event will be hosted on Zoom, live-streamed to YouTube, and shared on Facebook. 

We want to hear from you!

  • Does your library offer citizen science resources you’d like us to promote during the live event? Great! Please send us links and the name/city/state of your library.
  • Would you like to be listed as a partner of this event? Please send us your logo and website. Partners commit to attend and promote the event.
  • We will run live polls and invite you to send us questions you’d like us to ask the audience (“Have you engaged in a citizen science project?”  “Have you used your library’s online resources during social distancing?”)

If you have access to your library’s Facebook page, please share the event invitation and post the link to the YouTube video where the event will be streamed. We’ll post that link at the opening of the Zoom event. This way, your library’s Facebook community can tune in without going through Zoom.

Please send materials and comments to CarolineN@SciStarter.org . Better yet, call into the Citizen Science Month call tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 am and 11 am ET: Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/264491167
Meeting ID: 264 491 167.  One tap mobile +16465588656,,264491167#

Happy Citizen Science Month!

Meet 2020 YALSA Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace!

At the Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia in January, YALSA leadership met Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace and asked her to write about her experiences in the field and as the 2020 YALSA-sponsored Emerging Leader. 

—–

First of all, I would like to thank YALSA, Todd, Tammy and Amanda for crashing the Emerging Leaders Social. It was such a pleasure to see them and put a face to such an amazing organization.

I had a bit of an unconventional start into the library world. I began as a patron looking to print coupons since both my husband and I were out of work. Essentially, we had to start over in our careers. The library was, to say the least, a miracle in our lives. I started as a volunteer and now, five years later I am a Youth Services Librarian for the Las Vegas Clark County (NV) Library District, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Every day I come into work absolutely loving what I do.

Receiving the news that I was going to be a part of the 2020 Emerging Leaders brought tears to my eyes, because it further validated my work as a librarian. I have always felt out of sorts, like an outsider coming into this line of work and I was always finding ways to feel validated in the work I do such as becoming a Spectrum Scholar. More importantly, being a part of Emerging Leaders, YALSA, ALSC, APALA, and ALA has connected me with the people that feel as passionately as I do about this field and motivate me to do more.

For the Emerging Leaders Project, I will be working on the 40th Anniversary of APALA along with five other Emerging Leaders. For this project we plan on interviewing library leaders about what APALA and ALA means to them, how APALA and ALA has led the way in various capacities, and their vision of APALA’s future.

Along with my work on Emerging Leaders, I am also on the ALSC Notable Children’s’ Media Committee and work full time as a Youth Services Librarian doing programs for ages 0-18. In the start of my career my strength was in early childhood, but now teens are my passion. On any given day, fifty or so teens walk into the library and say hi and we chat about their day. In order to engage them in the resources of the library, I experiment with all kinds of programs from bullet journals, knitting, lock-ins, painting, and whatever they ask for I try to accommodate and get the resources. It is definitely known throughout my library that I have a connection with the teens. People wonder how I do this and I really don’t do anything special. I see them, they are our patrons after all, and I treat them with the same respect as I would any other patron. I make sure they are seen and heard. I make sure they know that they are wanted at the library by making time to talk to them and listen to whatever it is they have to say. I do not see them as anything other than patrons and they deserve our help just any everyone else.

Thank you to YALSA for your support of my Emerging Leaders Program and I look forward to working more with YALSA in the future.

——

Thanks, Sue, for sharing your story and inspiring teens and those who work with teens to love every day they walk into their own libraries!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Photo credit: Tammy Dillard-Steels (l. to r. YALSA President-elect Amanda Barnhart; 2020 YALSA Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace; YALSA President Todd Krueger)