Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Putting the Competencies to Work

Looking for the best ways to align your work to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff? Join us for a free session Friday, June 22, from 1 to 4PM in room 343 of the Morial Convention Center, just prior to the ALA Annual Conference.

You will hear about how YALSA members have integrated the Competencies into their work and have the tools and resources you need to bring that transformation home. Bring a program plan, a job description, a policy, a staff and/or program evaluation tool, or another tool and workshop it along side library staff from around the country.

We’d like to know the types of projects people who plan to attend would like to discuss. That’s why we are asking those who think they will be there to submit our simple form.

If you have questions about the workshop contact YALSA’s CE Consultant, Linda W. Braun or Kate McNair, YALSA Board Member.

Don’t forget YALSA has developed an array of tools to help library staff use the Competencies. You’ll find them listed on the YALSA Competencies web page.

Transforming Library Services for & with Teens Through CE: The School of Life

cover of the reportAt the National Forum on Transforming Teen Services Through Continuing Education (CE), Shannon Peterson, Public Services Director at the Kitsap Regional Library in WA, spoke with Forum participants about continuous learning. This is what she had to say:

Imaginary gold stars to anyone that actually watched the School of Life video that was part of the pre-Forum materials. Raise your hand if you watched it. For those that did, what do you remember? What are some of the key points that stood out to you?

There’s clearly a lot going on in that small but mighty video. A few points that I think about a lot and will be talking about today are:

  • Nothing is fixed- individual and collective change is a constant
  • Why not you?- everyone is capable of being a part of the change they want to see
  • I particularly loved this quote: “The world is being made and remade every instant and therefore everyone of us has a theoretical chance of being an agent in history on a big or small scale.”

Over the next few minutes, I’m going to talk with you about my library’s small scale efforts to be a part of the change in library services for and with teens and along the way, share some really ridiculous and hilarious missteps that we’ve taken along the way.

Ok, so Kitsap. We are an interesting system in that we truly encompass very diverse communities and geography. We are a peninsula across the sound from Seattle, so ferries are a part of life. Our communities include two native amaerican tribal lands, non-incorporated and rural small towns, a ritzy Seattle bedroom community, and an urban area with 66% free and reduced lunch rate.
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Teen Services Competencies for Staff: Continuous Learning

The tenth enumerated, last but certainly not least, of the key competencies YALSA has identified is that of embracing a culture of learning. But the definition of learning might be more expansive that you might expect.

A robust new statement on continuous learning envisions a mosaic of state library agencies, graduate programs at iSchools and LIS programs, and other library-focused organizations all working together to deliver professional development. This spectrum of support is critical to serve the evolving information needs and behaviors of young people, given the “ever-changing nature of teens and the materials and technologies we use to engage with and serve them.”


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A History of Transforming Library Services for/with Teens through Continuing Education

This post was written by Denise Lyons, the Deputy Director of Statewide Development at South Carolina State Library. She is a co-author of the Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through Continuing Education (CE) report.

cover of the reportAt the 2016 American Library Association annual conference, two state library agency representatives, from Wisconsin and South Carolina, along with leadership from YALSA, began a conversation about how to build stronger alliances between the groups that serve teens in library organizations. There seemed to be a great deal of overlap with the work of groups at the local, state, and national levels. Yet, there was little collaboration among the different groups.

It seemed reasonable to start considering how to change this by connecting with YALSA. The association already had a relationship with state library agency youth services consultants (“YS Con”). While each state library agency is organized and operates somewhat differently, there is often a person on staff who serves as the youth services (YS) consultant, the one person at the library agency who is the state’s coordinator of children’s and teen services. Many of these positions are part of the Library Development Consulting Department of the state library agency, and most are responsible for providing youth services continuing education opportunities and organizing statewide initiatives such as summer reading and learning programs.
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Transforming Library Services for and With Teens Through CE: What We Learned

cover of the reportIt’s been a year since YALSA and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) started work on the Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through Continuing Education (CE) Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) project. In that year the two organizations hosted a National Forum on the topic, sponsored virtual town halls to learn about the needs of library staff as they relate to teen services, and interviewed library staff and stakeholders to learn about models for successful CE.

Findings from the year of learning are synthesized in the new report, Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through CE: Findings and Recommendations. These include a framework for what CE that transforms teen services should encompass such as:

  • Multi-part series that give participants the chance to take a deep dive into a particular topic.
  • Multi-part series that acknowledge more than one approach may yield success and which provide participants with the opportunity to critically reflect on their learning, integrate it into real-life practice, then join with other learners and facilitators to evaluate how implementation went, and try again with changes based on the assessment. Continue reading

Future Ready with the Library: The Power of Index Cards

This blog post is adapted from a Future Ready with the Library Community of Practice reflection by Amanda (Mandy) Bundy, Kaibab Paiute Tribal Library; Fredonia, AZ, Mandy is a member of the second cohort of the YALSA Future Ready with the Library project. Future Ready with the Library provides support for small, rural, and tribal library staff to build college and career readiness services for middle school youth. You can read more posts by current and previous project cohort members on this blog.

Mandy’s post is available in three parts
* Part 1 – Introduction
* Part 2 – Weeks 1 to 3
* Part 3 – Weeks 4 to 6
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Future Ready with the Library: When a Snowball is More Than a Snowball

This is adapted from a Future Ready with the Library Community of Practice reflection by Allison Shimek, Fayette Public Library in La Grange, TX. Allison is a member of the second cohort of the YALSA Future Ready with the Library project. Future Ready with the Library provides support for small, rural, and tribal library staff to build college and career readiness services for middle school youth. Read more about Future Ready with the Library and apply for cohort 3.

image of teens reading snowball ideasLike everyone in the Future Ready with the Library cohort, over the past several months I have been busy with meetings and gathering information. Through this work I learned a tremendous amount about my community. So far I met with the middle school principal, middle school librarian, school district assistant superintendent, members of the community theater, parents, a local camp, teens, and the local Rotary Club. It seems that the majority of the community agrees that middle schoolers need social skills that will help them prepare for the workforce. At the same time, those I talk with note that there is little for middle school youth to do in the town during out of school time. Except for band and sports, all after school activities end at 6th grade. There is nowhere for teens to go and hang out or a place that they can feel is just for them. The entire community and the teens recognize this as a huge topic of concern. As a part of the Future Ready with the Library work, I plan to continue to meet with more community groups and businesses in the local area to learn how to and plan for ways to better support teens.
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Transforming Teen Services Through CE: What’s Your Feedback

photo of participants in the live forum meeting in November 2017Over the past year, YALSA and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) worked together to research the continuing education (CE) needs of public library staff. That work (funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services) led to a report that is now available in draft form. YALSA and COSLA are seeking feedback from the library community on the content of the document.

The report looks at:

  • The skills and knowledge all library staff, not just staff with teen in their job title, need in order to serve adolescents successfully.
  • Why having the skills are important within the context of the lives of teens today.
  • The barriers and challenges in participating in high quality CE in the areas needed.
  • Examples of innovative models of CE

The report also provides a series of recommendations for a variety of stakeholder groups.

The feedback period is open through April 30.

You can learn more about the project on the YALSA website. If you have any questions about the project, the draft report, and/or the feedback requested feel free to get in touch with Linda W. Braun the Project Manager for the Transforming Teen Services Through CE project.

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff Webinar: Interactions with Teens

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffEach month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The April webinar (the full video recording is available after the break) focused on Interactions with Teens. Megan Burton, Kitsap Regional Library (WA) and Valerie Tagoe, Wilmer Hutchins High School, facilitated a lively discussion about strategies for building relationships with teens. Megan and Valerie included a lot of very useful tips and first-hand accounts of challenges and successes in this work.

YALSA will host a follow-up Twitter chat on interactions with teens on Thursday, April 26, at 7PM Eastern. Use the hashtag #yalsace to participate.
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Using ASCLA Toolkits for Autism Awareness Month

As the YALSA ALA Liaison, I communicate with many different groups whose member composition varies. One of the many benefits of working with so many diverse groups is being privy to the latest developed resources created by them that are also relevant for a library staff member serving teens. One such excellent resource I want to share with YALSA members comes from the Accessibility Assembly. The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) heads the ALA Accessibility Assembly, which is comprised of many liaisons from other ALA divisions and round tables as well as ASCLA members.

Several months ago, ASLCA updated their online toolkits that target easy ways in which library staff can make their places and services more accessible to “populations that are underserved such as those with sensory, physical, health or behavioral conditions, those who are incarcerated and more.” There are fifteen toolkits in total and many of the recommendations are applicable to teen library services. As April is nationally recognized as Autism Awareness month, the Autism Spectrum Disorders toolkit might be a good place to start in improving library services to your community’s youth and better meet their needs.

Consider this resource share as an opportunity to improve your status and knowledge in Competency Area 1: Teen Growth and Development and move further through the stages of Developing-Practicing-Transforming.

Amanda Barnhart is a Teen Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library and the current YALSA ALA Liaison.