Picture1

Picture2

This post was based on my presentation at the ALA Annual Convention, What I Stopped Doing: Improving Services to Teens by Giving Things Up. Slides for the presentation can be found on Slideshare or HaikuDeck.

In order to do improve library service to teens, we have to work differently -- and in order to do that, we have to stop doing some of what we’re currently doing.

From discussion at Annual and among colleagues in my personal network, this is a topic that resonated with large numbers of staff -- not just the necessity of giving things up, but the importance of continuing to talk loudly and proudly about the things we stopped doing. In youth services this is especially important -- often we are solo practitioners who were hired to work with a broad range of ages -- 0-18 in some cases.

Discontinuing or re-assigning tasks and services is challenging, but it’s critical to improving library services to teens -- and it’s an important leadership quality. While there is no one formula that will work for every library or community, when we’re ready to think about what we can stop doing, reflect again on YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens report - it sets a frame for the work that’s most important to consider discontinuing or doing differently.

Read More →

This is a guest post from Perla Casas, a 2015 high school graduate. She will be part of the panel speaking on Sunday June 28th at 4:30 pm as part of "Empower Your Teens! Civic Engagement Strategies That Work."

The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is a youth-driven advisory board for the Oakland Public Library. The YLC creates support strategies to improve its service for patrons and promotes the library simultaneously. The YLC is made up of twelve individuals from the ages of thirteen to eighteen. I was sixteen years old when I first stumbled across the YLC application at the TeenZone in the Main Library. I have always enjoyed reading and I am passionate about libraries, so I thought this group would be a perfect fit for me. After a nerve wracking three month application process, I was finally accepted as a member. Read More →

This is a guest post from Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for ALA 2015 in San Francisco.

San Francisco is a literary city and as such a wealth of comic book stores merit a visit if you are eager to experience some of SF’s comic-book culture. Every year SF hosts the Alternative Press Expo highlighting local creators, and even has a Comic Art Museum which showcases both classics Golden Age shows all the way to hosting local-artist workshops. So let’s pack a light sweater (or maybe a cape?) and walk over to a few of these awesome spots!

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 8.45.06 AM Read More →

heading for YALS
One of the items on the agenda for the YALSA Board at Annual Conference in San Francisco is a discussion of YALS and how to make sure that the official journal of the association is in line with the findings and recommendations of YALSA's Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report. The Board document - under new business - presents some things for the YALSA Board to think about including:

  • A revised function statement for YALS that focuses on the YALS Advisory Board having an active role in developing an editorial calendar for the journal and to make sure that YALSA's resources and initiatives are successfully highlighted in the publication. Read More →

Annual is almost upon us! We in the Local Arrangements Committee have been working hard to provide you with information on eateries, activities, neighborhoods, and more. You can find all this information on YALSA's Annual Conference wiki: http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/YALSA_at_ALA%27s_2015_Annual_Conference

Some highlights include:

  • Notes on nearby libraries and bookstores, since we know the exhibits hall is only the tip of the iceberg
  • Recommended eateries close to the conference or its hotels
  • All the terminology to know so that you don't get on Caltrain when you mean to get on MUNI
  • Places to go shopping for off-the-beaten-track items
  • See you in San Francisco in just a few short days!

    Summer is here and at least in Illinois, it’s heating up fast! With June halfway over, we know that ALA Annual is on the horizon. And what says summer better than San Francisco, California? The theme this year is “Transforming libraries, ourselves.” With 25,000 library affiliated folks coming to town, it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

    Unfortunately, I’ll be diligently working in Illinois during ALA Annual, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the conversations. If you’re like me and won’t be in San Fransisco, here’s a guide to staying in touch, from a distance.

    Read More →

    Have you ever submitted a volunteer application to express interest in serving on a YALSA selection or award committee--only to hear back that the President-Elect and Appointments Task Force were not able to find a spot for you this year? If so, you’re not alone. YALSA is fortunate to have many talented members who are eager to serve on our selection and award committees--nearly 600 applications were submitted for spots on 2015-2016 committees!--but each year, of course, there are only a limited number of committee spots available.

    This is one of several reasons why the Board will be discussing the possible creation of a selection and award committee participation policy that would open up the committees for broader participation by the YALSA Membership at ALA Annual in San Francisco. The official Board doc is Item #29 on the YALSA Board’s Annual Conference Agenda.

    The proposed policy outlined in the document would institute uniform guidelines for participation in selection and award committees, addressing topics such as as term lengths, maximum years of consecutive service, and frequency of award committee service. As you’ll see when you read the Board doc, this proposal follows up on a recommendation from the Selection Committee Evaluation Task Force that such a policy be explored and created. The proposal is also data-driven, based on an analysis of ten years of committee service records.

    Take a look at the document and let the Board know if you have comments, questions, or concerns. We know that this is a proposal that, if adopted, could potentially impact many of our member volunteers, so we value your thoughts and input. There are lots of ways to share your feedback with us!

    Thank you!

    Dear YALSA community

    I have been a passionate advocate for teenagers, and for their reading, for decades. Being passionate means caring -- which thus may also mean advocating, questioning, disputing existing rules and structures. That is why, many years ago, I worked with Michael Cart to bring about the Printz award, and with the Los Angeles Times to create their YA award. If there is one area about which I am equally passionate it is the grand and glorious field of nonfiction for all ages. And so, I have taken the liberty of suggesting to the YALSA board that it is time for us, all of us, to take a look at what truly constitutes excellence in YA nonfiction -- what are the kinds, and types, and subgenres of nonfiction, and what criteria should there be for evaluating them. In this article I discuss what I have proposed to the board, and why.  The official board document (.pdf) is available on the YALSA web site in the Governance Section.  I hope you all will add your voices to the discussion here, or in SLJ -- or that we can discuss this in person at Annual, or any one of the many conferences and workshops where I get to meet you. Nonfiction is growing and changing, teenagers need for quality nonfiction is growing, and thus it seems to me time for all of us to weigh in on what makes for true YA Nonfiction Excellence. What do you think?

     

    Marc Aronson has been an avid advocate for teenagers and their reading for many years. He served on the committee that drafted, and later evaluated, the rules for the Michael Printz prize, and he suggested the YALSA Excellence in nonfiction award. As an author of nonfiction he won the first Sibert award and, with Marina Budhos -- his wife -- was a finalist for the YALSA Nonfiction award. Their next book, which will be published in 2017, centers on another couple who were artists and collaborators: the photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Aronson is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the MLIS program at Rutgers University.

    Kristin Phelps, School Librarian at the Whittier Middle School in Norman, Oklahoma, is preparing to pitch an ambitious idea for the YALSA President's Program Monday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. She will advocate for " Make YOUR Library Space”  in front of a panel of librarians and business leaders for the chance to win cash and technology prizes provided by YALSA, Tutor.com, Makey Makey, and 3D Systems.

    We wanted to catch up with Kristin before she heads to San Francisco for ALA's Annual Conference.

    JS:Tell us about the project you submitted to the Shark Bowl
    KP: Whittier Middle School is dreaming of a Makerspace including high-tech and low-tech materials. To be successful in the 21st century, students need to develop the ability to think and problem solve effectively. The library should be the center of that learning. Teens are naturally curious. I want to cultivate that curiosity to allow them to combine both information and experience.
    Read More →

    Erin Durrett, Youth/Teen Information Services Librarian at Novi Public Library in Michigan, is preparing to pitch an ambitious idea at the YALSA President's Program Monday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. She will advocate for a 3D virtual world created by teens in front of a panel of librarians and business leaders for the chance to win cash and technology prizes provided by YALSA, Tutor.com, Makey Makey, and 3D Systems.

    We wanted to catch up with Erin before she heads to San Francisco for ALA's Annual Conference.

    YALSA Shark Bowl: Meet the Finalist Erin Durrett

    RK: What was your inspiration for this project?

    ED: Novi is a community that very much strives for achievement, be that excellence in academia, or other interests. When developing programs and services for our community, we often think about what skills our patrons would like to learn and what would help them feel more involved in our library and ultimately our community. I wanted to create a project that joined those ideas together. My pitch involves STEM ideas, especially engineering and technology skills and having teens learn those skills and then utilize them in the creation of an interactive display in which they curate and of which they feel ownership.

    RK: In what ways are teens involved in this project?

    ED: When I developed the idea, I wanted to know not only if our teens would be interested in participating, but any feedback I could receive from them, to help mold and shape the project. I went to the next TAB (Teen Advisory Board) meeting and asked the teens directly what they thought of the idea. They thought it was "cool" and brought up the idea of legacy and ownership. Specifically one teen asked "Can we put our names on the pieces we create?" As a lot of TAB members are juniors and seniors at the high school next door, they want to be able to come back and visit the display and point out the pieces they have created. (They also smartly mentioned making sure no one abuses the 3D printer!) My favorite aspect of this pitch is the inclusivity for teens, if you are a teen 12-18 in Novi or the surrounding community, you can participate in the creation of a piece for the display.
    Read More →