Global Goals

In 2000, the world’s leaders joined together to establish the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. They selected 8 issues that impacted the world, and set a deadline of 2015 to address. In 15 years humanity joined together to reach most of the goals.

Now they have set new goals  for us to reach by 2030. They may seem huge, but humanity can be amazing! Everyone will need to reach beyond themselves to help reach these goals, but as providers of service to young adults we can help inspire and encourage everyone to think about these issues that impact the whole world.

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Teen Programming: Building Teen Futures with Community Partnerships

In our last Teen Programming post, we outlined the importance of outreach and how to integrate it into your programming arsenal. Since “outreach” can translate to a wide range of ideas and actions, narrowing it down will help you take your next step towards effective methods of community engagement. This is where partnerships come in! This, however, opens a whole new can of worms. How does one establish positive community partnerships? How do you ensure that your goals aren’t lost in translation? How do I secure beneficial opportunities for teens through partnerships?

When I first began working in my position, I was immediately overwhelmed by the need my community has for the library and its community organizations. During my first few months, I had grand plans to “do it all” and open up so many more opportunity and learning experiences for my community’s teens. What actually happened was that I got burned out and became discouraged. I realized very quickly that I was not going to be able to accomplish many of my goals alone. I needed support from others who were positioned in the community to help me achieve what needed to be done.

So let’s break it down. YALSA’s Future of Library Services report states that today’s teens need libraries to connect them to other community agencies, but how do you establish these connections? Network, network, network! This may sound simple, but community leaders need to know who you are. Start by attending committee and board meetings to get a sense of the issues and climate of your community. PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meetings are another community body that is important to engage with as they are directly connected to the teens that your services will affect. Are there task forces or coalitions that are specifically directed at alleviating a specific need? Don’t be hesitant to insert yourself into the community conversation because you have your library’s resources to back you up. As a library representative in the community, you are an integral voice in the larger network of organizations that are committed to improving the lives of teens. Pinpoint individuals whose resources are in line with your goals and begin a dialogue with them.

When starting this dialogue, how do you make sure that your goals don’t get lost in translation? Communication is so important when you are making efforts to partner with an outside agency. Before any communication begins, make sure that you have your goals and plans clearly defined. What is it that you want to accomplish? What role do you see this partnering organization offering? Additionally, offer your resources and begin a dialogue about how this partnership would benefit both organizations mutually.

How do you make sure that your partnerships bring beneficial opportunities to teens? Last month we discussed ways to discover your community through outreach. During this discovery process, locate areas that your community needs more from your library. Is there a group that’s being under-served? Who can help you bridge that gap? A few months ago, I recognized a gap in the services that we were offering. At the time, we had reached out to just about every group of teens to make sure that our programs and services were reaching our diverse teens’ needs. However, we hadn’t reached out to teen survivors of domestic violence. I made a connection with the director of a local organization that acts as a transitional agency for teens and families who are leaving abusive situations. They offer temporary housing, counseling, and resources to help them take control of their futures and I wanted the library to be a part of this transition. My goal in partnering with this organization was to bring enriching programs to the teens at this facility, as they might not have access to these opportunities during this transitional period of their lives. Upon meeting with the director, my goals were clearly defined and I listened as she described how our organization could benefit these teens. We agreed upon a plan and programs were implemented at their location. We also offered books from our collection that we had discarded. We wanted to give the teens that she serves the opportunity to continue reading since many of them were temporarily not in school. This partnership was a simple way of offering integral library services to a new demographic while still connecting to the larger community.

Ultimately, libraries must work with partners to alleviate their community’s needs. Start small, make connections, and be diligent about following through. YALSA’s Futures Report pinpoints the shift that libraries are experiencing in the 21st century. We have gone from quiet, solitary locations that provided relatively uniform services to spaces, both physical and virtual, that offer a broad range of resources that empower teens and grow their skills, interests, and goals. Partnerships are integral to meeting this standard because they allow us to continue to broaden the services we offer, bridge gaps in your community, and build a better future for teens.

What are your partnership success stories? How do you bridge the gap in your community with partnerships?

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The President of YALSA, Candice Mack, is focusing her year as President with an initiative, “3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services,” which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA’s wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian or staff working in teen services providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens. The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

Peggy Simmons is a Library Assistant for the Oakland Public Library at the Elmhurst Branch. The following comes from a phone call with her in August, 2015.

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Libraries Promoting Literacy

Last week I attended a Literacy Summit at the Mid-South Book Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. I was inspired by speakers like Jeff Edmondson of Strive Together and David C. Banks, the founding principal of the Eagle Academy. I learned that 73% of students in local Shelby County Schools were reading below grade level. That statistic might be specific to my area, but similar numbers can be found elsewhere. (The KIDS COUNT Data Book has extensive information broken down by state.)

I learned that there are ways we can change this unfortunate trend. I sat in an auditorium surrounded by teachers and tutors who were specifically told “You can do THIS.” And I looked around, wondering where the other librarians were.

Librarians might not have as much, nor as consistent, access to students as teachers do. Librarians certainly don’t have the one-on-one access that tutors do. But librarians can help improve reading levels in their own ways.

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Teen Programming: Turn Community Outreach into Teen Programs

Outreach seems to be the library word-of-the-year as library programs, articles and even job duties add terms like outreach, marketing and community engagement. This past year fellow YALSA bloggers even developed two blog series breaking down outreach in teen services and highlighting how our colleagues are providing outreach services, but how do we connect outreach to teen programming?

While reading YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines I noticed “outreach” wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the first two points about creating programming that reflects teens in your community and aligning these programs with the community’s and library’s priorities; but how do you do this? Through outreach!

Back up. What is outreach? Straight from The Future of Library Services Report, the “envisioned future” of outreach is the:

“Year-round use of a variety of tools, both digital and physical. Includes connecting with stakeholders throughout the community in order to develop shared goals and an implement a comprehensive plan of service that reaches all teens throughout the community.

Librarians leave the physical school library or public library space regularly and provide services to targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other in-school locations) where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.”

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YALSA CORE PROFESSIONAL VALUES: WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU!

YALSA core professional values cover

YALSA identifies nine Core Professional Values in the Teen Services Profession;  accountability, collaboration, compassion, excellence, inclusion, innovation, integrity, professional duty and social responsibility.  

These core values were developed in 2013-2014 by the Professional Values Task Force of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Members of the task force were Sarah Debraski, Meg Finney, Gretchen Kolderup, Amanda Murphy, Lalitha Nataraj (chair) and Vivian Wynn. YALSA’s Board of Directors adopted the guidelines on June 27, 2015.

What does collaboration look like?

COLLABORATION Fosters relationships within the library and within the community in order to best serve teens.

A person practicing this value;

  • Works with other departments within the organization to create a holistic approach to serving teens

Do other departments in your library understand the developmental difference of working with teens versus children and or adults?  Are you able to share with your colleagues information about ways to work with and for teens?  Serving teens is our mission and we can help our colleagues learn skills to help them better serve teens too.  Linda Braun’s paper The Importance of a Whole Library Approach Public Library Young Adult Services: A YALSA Issue Paper points out ways to work with your colleagues by identifying possible trainings, modeling, providing professional development and more.  The practical things the paper points out are easy ways in which you can work with your staffs to better serve teens.   The same can be said for collaborating with outside organizations, by sharing your knowledge, offering training and professional development.

  • Fosters partnerships with schools and other community organizations that serve youth

The partnerships you form outside of your library is just as important as the partnerships you form and foster inside the library.  This means they see the library as a resource, understand the role of the library and use the library (in person, online or through outreach).  Are you fully aware of all kinds of the schools (public, private, alternative, technical and vocational) in your community and working with them?  Are you aware of organizations in your community that work with and for teens?  Go to these schools and these organizations and if they don’t know about the library tell them about the all of the great resources you have for teens, invite them to come to the library regularly and you go visit those organizations and schools regularly.  

  • Leverages the talent, expertise, and resources available in the community

Having a comprehensive knowledge of the organizations, schools and community members is a  resource for your teens as well as your library.  How? Think of the community members you could reach out to/connect/network with, to partner with and how they may be able to informational sessions/programs for your teens in their areas of knowledge.  Our community members are incredible resources and more often than we may think are very accessible and interested in partnering with the library, all we need to do is ask.

The core values are a powerful tool for you to use to help strengthen your existing values and develop others you may want to bolster.  Share the core values with your colleagues as well as administration and your community.

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations, populations like new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, teens who are incarcerated.  As these populations are often marginalized and underserved it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The President of YALSA, Candice Mack is focusing her year as President with an initiative, “3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services,” which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA’s wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens.  The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

Ady Huertas is the Manager of Teen Services at the Pauline Foster Teen Center, San Diego Central Library

J:  What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

I work with the Lindsay School (a local school for teen moms) and conduct life skills courses through a State funded program called STEP (Skills for Teen Parents). We meet with approximately 40 teen moms on a weekly basis and we focus on different topics each week.

I work with Southwest Key which is an organization that provides temporary housing and services for recent unaccompanied migrant youth coming to the United States. I conduct regular tours in Spanish to introduce the library as a friendly and welcoming place and work with the Reforma Children in Crisis Taskforce to provide free books for all of the youth in these facilities.  Working with REFORMA on a national level for me has really helped support and expand this partnership with Southwest Key into the great partnership that it is. The youth in Southwest Key could be in the shelter for a week or up to three months.  The San Diego Public Library provides twice monthly 2 hour tours for the youth at Southwest Key to introduce them to the library.  90% of the youth may not have ever used libraries so it is really a chance to highlight all of the great things the library can provide.  This year we also registered the entire center for our Summer Reading Program. 

I serve as an advisor for our SPECTRUM Youth LGBTQ+ group and host weekly meetings for the group and provide a space for community youth to meet and share their experiences as well as plan activities to reach other youth in the community and raise awareness. Our current focus is services to transgender and queer youth.  Right now the teens have been very busy in planning their involvement with the San Diego Trans Pride https://www.facebook.com/SDTransPride  and the San Diego Pride Parade in which they march as well as have a high profile visibility assisting at booths where they are able to share with others the work they are doing in the library for and with LGBT youth.

I also work with libraries in Tijuana Mexico and collaborate with librarians internationally to exchange best practices and ideas by hosting a yearly conference titled Creando Enlaces

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President’s Report – July & August 2015

Happy End of Summer and Back-to-School!

I’m so excited to be sharing my first YALSA President’s Report!

It’s been a whirlwind since ALA Annual, and here’s what I’ve been working on since then:

Done & Done!

  • Appointments to Edwards, Printz & Nonfiction Committees
  • Assigning Board liaisons to Strategic, Selection & Award Committees
  • Assign Board Members to Standing Board Committees
  • Column for Fall 2015 issue of YALS
  • Virtual training for New YALSA Board members
  • YALSA blog post on Presidential Initiative: 3-2-1 Impact! Inclusive & Impactful Teen Services
  • Worked with YALSA Board to appoint Renee McGrath to fill Krista McKenzie’s vacancy on the YALSA Board
  • Had first call with the Whole Mind Group, who YALSA is working with on Strategic Planning
  • With Chris Shoemaker, hosted first monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Standing Board Committees
  • Interviewed candidates for Member Managers for the Hub blog and Teen Programming HQ; appointed Molly Wetta as new Hub Member Manager and Jessi Snow as new Teen Programming HQ Member Manager

Works in Progress

  • Filling Strategic Committee vacancies
  • Filling Rachel McDonald’s Board vacancy
  • Appointing YALSA representatives to ALA groups
  • Strategic Planning
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meetings
  • Seeking content experts for Teen Programming HQ
  • Seeking out partnerships with ALA ethnic caucuses, ALA LGBT Round Table, ASCLA, Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, DeviantArt and more

Media & Outreach

Stats & Data

  • Friends of YALSA raised $1,155 in June 2015
  • Friends of YALSA raised $436 in July 2015
  • Membership: 5,113 (down -0.3% over this time last year)

Important Deadlines

  • Oct. 1 – Deadline to submit a volunteer form to be on YALSA’s upcoming award, selection and strategic committees! More information here

Last, but certainly not least –

THANK YOU

  • All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!
  • Chris Shoemaker, YALSA’s immediate Past President, for passing the torch and mentoring current President-Elect Sarah Hill
  • YALSA’s ALA Annual 2015 Local Arrangements Committee, for a terrific job coordinating travel tips & info and local YALSA events in San Francisco
  • YALSA Board, for your hard work, leadership and enthusiasm – I know it’s going to be a great year!
  • YALSA Staff, especially Beth Yoke, Letitia Smith & Nichole O’Connor, for your assistance and support with association logistics

Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Candice Mack, YALSA President

 

Hanging Out (and networking) with YALSA Librarians

I’ve been blogging for YALSA for almost year. Crazy to think I’m starting my second year of graduate school. Those job descriptions that come into my email box seem a little more real, and a little more attainable.

What makes me so excited about heading into the professional world of librarianship is when I get the chance to interact with other librarians, librarians that have experience and insight, insight that I hope to one day have. While I know they, technically, are my colleagues, I still feel a little out of their league. However, that doesn’t stop me from soaking up as much knowledge from them as I can.

I got an opportunity to meet a handful of other librarians (and YALSA) bloggers last week. Crystle, our blog manager, had arranged some Google Hangouts as a way for us bloggers to meet each other. I logged on Monday night, not quite sure what to expect.

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Instagram of the Week – August 24

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we’re looking at ways to reach teens by venturing out into the community. Teens are a diverse population and their interests and circumstances may not always bring them into our library buildings. What can we do to reach out and meet them where they are around town? Which outreach programs should we offer? How can we establish ourselves as a partner in the community, bringing the materials and services to those that need it? Below are some examples of libraries that have partnered with local organizations and sports teams and, through book mobiles or book bikes, have brought library services out into the community.

Does your library have a book mobile or book bike? Have you partnered with local schools, organizations or sports teams? Set up a booth at a community market or sporting event? We want to hear from you! Share your outreach services with us in the comments section below.
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