“The Claudia Kishi Club” kicks off Media Literacy Week, Oct 26-30!

Hello members!

I wanted to draw your attention to an event that’s taking place next Monday, Oct 26 at 8pm ET/5pm PT to help kick off Media Literacy Week. YALSA is a member of the Media Literacy Alliance, created by NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education. The free event is a conversation with Sue Ding, filmmaker of “The Claudia Kishi Club”, along with cast members Sarah Khan and Phil Yu. The documentary is currently airing on Netflix.

This looks to be a really cool experience for people who grew up with The Baby Sitters Club and those who have engaged with it for the first time with the recent streaming series. The event is co-sponsored by YALSA, AASL, and the California Film Institute.

Thanks!

Todd Krueger, YALSA Immediate Past-President

Teen Services Competencies 7 – Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

YALSA Secretary Josie Watanabe of the Seattle Public Library is this month’s guest blogger. 

YALSA Board Training: Undoing Structural Racism by Schools’ Out Washington

I wanted to share what the YALSA Board was up to over Midwinter!  If you keep up with ALA, you will know that this Midwinter meeting was filled with new ideas from SCOE and frank conversations about the ALA budget. All of this is really centered on the idea that libraries, library staff and our communities are asking for different support and pathways to do our work in new ways. YALSA has heard the call and over the last few years has created a strong EDI charge.

What is EDI you ask??? EDI is a huge topic that spans over mega conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion. The terminology is so broad it can mean many things to many people. Over the last few years YALSA has focused on diversity, and when the time came to write our new strategic plan, we had an ambitious charge: to center our work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion by infusing it into every and all aspects of our new strategic plan. This was innovative and important work for YALSA and we knew it would entail a lot of learning and growing on our part.

To start with, YALSA Board wanted to have a firm grounding and understanding of institutional racism. Most of you have heard about the personal work we all need to undertake to undo racism—this encompasses understanding implicit bias, blind spots, anti-blackness, microaggressions, etc…. However the legacy and future power of racism exists at the institutional level, this includes the various policies and procedures that organizations create and enforce; and at the structural level where several organizations—schools, out-of-school learning organizations and other institutions work together to create systems where white people unfairly benefit because of the color of their skin.

This happens in housing, education, the criminal justice system, health, etc.  YALSA Board understands, as an institution, the power and impact we have on the library profession, staff and ultimately youth. Boards often control the budget and direct the work of Executive Director, they create policies and procedures that support the organization and spend much of the time making strategic decisions that will either move the work of the organization towards or away from their mission or EDI plan.  So, yeah—that’s a lot of responsibility—but it’s an amazing way to make change and most importantly institutional change!

This is exactly what we the YALSA Board determined was most important—we wanted to take our already powerful EDI plan and find new ways to deconstruct the policies, procedures and systems that keep our board, book lists, medals, workgroups, etc… homogeneous,  but we also wanted to actively create policies and procedures that would recruit diverse library staff to YALSA and remove barriers of participation.  One step in this direction included YALSA board spending some of our time at Midwinter with School’s Out Washington,  a leading out-of-school time organization that supports youth providers in positive youth development approaches, such as, Youth Program Quality Assessment, SEL (social emotional learning) and advancing racial equity.  The workshop they led was called Undoing Structural Racism and here are some of the big topics we discussed at the training:

  • Basic forms of racialization: internalized, interpersonal, institutional and structural
  • The history of structural racism through a short video clip: A Brief History of White Privilege, Racism and Oppression in America
  • The policies and practices that exemplify structural racism: redlining, public education system funded by property taxes, subprime lending, hiring practices and “stop and frisk” laws.
  • We often blame youth or families when we should be blaming systems.
  • Ongoing impact of structural racism: How structural racism plays out in health, wealth, schools and policing.
  • Racial Equity: A path forward and things to consider:
    • We live in a society where race matters.
    • We’re all part of the picture. None of us asked for this. The structure of race and racism were set up in the past. But still, all of us are responsible for the present and future.
    • As we sit here talking about race and racism, racism is playing out. We need to have these conversations, but we also need to take action on what we can influence to end racism.
  • How we can talk about race.
  • The Continuum on Becoming and Anti-Racist, Multi-Cultural Organization: Take a look at the link and see where your organization is on the continuum.

This was just a start and as a board—we committed to using a part of our monthly board chats to continue our learning and understanding of institutional racism by going through their materials. Follow along with the YALSA Board by reading and discussing these resources with your friends and workmates. Also consider the powerful work you can do by joining the YALSA Board. Check out our Board Fellow position to learn more about board service.

For Further Reading:

  • Why are all of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • So You Want to Talk About Race? by ljeoma Oluo
  • Fakequity Blog

For Self-Work:

  • Me and White Supremacy-The Workbook by Layla F. Saad

For Working with Youth:

  • 1000 Black Girls Books Resource Guide by Marley Dias
  • Teaching Tolerance

For Work with your Colleagues:

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Thanks, Josie, for this excellent recap of our Board training and what was accomplished at last month’s Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia!

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

New Issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults: Vol. 11 N. 1

Volume 11, Issue 1 of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online. This issue features research papers about the health-related information needs of public library teen patrons, Australian authors’ OwnVoices, and teen novels featuring characters who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Acknowledging the lack of health reference training for many public librarians, Jennifer R. Banas, Michelle J. Oh, Robin Willard, and Jeremy Dunn examine public teen librarians’ ability to help their patrons search for and use health-related information.  The research team’s results demonstrate which types of health-related issues teen patrons ask about most often, which issues librarians feel most competent to help locate and use appropriate information, and which issues they feel least competent to handle. A replicable tool was also developed by the authors so that other public librarians might improve the health literacy of their communities.

Emily Booth and Bhuva Narayan interviewed seven Australian authors who identify as Indigenous Australian, a person of color, or a member of queer or disabled communities in order to understand the extent to which these authors feel their stories should be used as tools for learning about marginalized people’s experiences.  The authors’ findings illustrate the challenges and expectations that authors from marginalized communities encounter when adding their OwnVoice to the field of youth literature.

Identifying that literature for teens may be a source of learning about sexuality and sexual health for teens who identify as LGBTQIA+, Kristie Escobar interviewed such a group of teens who read books from the Rainbow Book List.  The teens were asked to reflect on the authenticity of the depictions of LGBTQIA+ characters and the extent to which the books fulfilled an information need they might have about sexuality or sexual health.  The author argues that literature about LGBTQIA+ teens may help fill a void left by sexual education that is traditionally abstinence-focused in publicly-funded high schools.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYApresents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.

Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA

New Issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults: Vol. 10 N. 2

Volume 10, Issue 2 of of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/.This issue features research papers relating to public library teen youth services staff, cultural depictions in award-winning young adult literature, and the digital practices of teens.

With their paper,“Perspectives on Youth Data Literacy at the Public Library: Teen Services Staff Speak Out,” Leanne Bowler, Amelia Acker, and Yu Chi present data and analysis from the second phase of a three-year study exploring the relationship between teens and data literacy with regard to public library teen services.  Through their focus on teen services staff, the authors present a model of youth data literacy that is intended to prepare teens to thrive in a data-driven society.
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Libraries Welcome All Families: Community Partnerships to Fund Collection Development for English Learners in Urban Connecticut

One of the most difficult moments of the month was observing my English Learners come to check out books with their classes and not be able to find anything they could read at the high school level. It broke my heart to see dejection on their faces. It did not matter that I myself could not understand the words they were saying; I could just see it. Students perform better academically in literature courses when they see themselves in the materials and simply enjoy independent reading more. While I had some titles of interest for my Latinx students topically, all of them were in English. I set out to add books to my school library collection to assist my Spanish-speaking students. To purchase fiction in Spanish, I first posted a request on Donors Choose (www.donorschoose.org) for just ten novels. When the project was funded and the books arrived, I labeled each with a green S and shelved them above our fiction cases to aid new students trying to find them. After that success, I added another Donors Choose project to bring ten Spanish memoirs to West Haven High School, as all of our seniors must read a memoir.     

This project garnered the attention of the Greater Bridgeport Latino Network (GBLN), a local organization working to feature Latinx success stories, encourage political activism, and support community endeavors. GBLN showcased the story on their website, and it was subsequently picked up by a local newspaper, the New Haven Register. It was my desire to inform the audience it was not just me, my school, or my district needing these materials and support from the Latinx community:

“Literacy is necessary for being a productive member of society. Volunteering time such as reading at a toddler story hour, helping at a resume writing class, or speaking on a vocation or cause are all ways to support local libraries, especially those serving predominantly Latino communities. Woychowski welcomes the donation of new or gently used books to her own library, but she also encourages readers to donate both books and time to their own local school or public libraries.” (http://gbln.net/books-in-spanish-needed-for-high-school-library/)

Sharing this story via social media has been a blessing in terms of the varied audience reached. Links to the story appeared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and were shared numerous times by personal friends and professional connections. Books began appearing on my home front porch and in my school mailbox from all corners of the community, from a prominent defense attorney to a small Catholic Church to a representative of the Hispanic Nurses Association of a large local hospital. Our community’s support of literacy is invaluable, and as school librarians, we must be willing to advocate for it on behalf of our students.

Jillian Woychowski is a School Library Media Specialist at West Haven High School and is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation.

Teen Read Week: Community Involvement at Meadowcreek High School

IMG_9908_polarrThis year for Teen Read Week we celebrated and awarded students for “Reading Woke.”  The Read Woke Challenge is a incentive based reading program that rewards students for reading books that:

• Challenge a social norm

• Give voice to the voiceless

• Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised

• Seek to challenge the status quo

• Have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group

I started the challenge last year but this year I was able to really expand the program thanks to the Teen Read Week grant sponsored by Dollar General and YALSA.  Last year, many students were not able to receive the prizes they earned but this year I made sure all students who completed the challenge received their prizes.  This year’s program was different because I had more community involvement.  In past years, I have worked alone and not really involved others.  When I opened the doors up to the community, it made my program even better.  I have established relationships and connections that have helped me to make a bigger impact.  Because of the Teen Read Grant, I reached out to the manager of Dollar General.  He was very supportive of the program and he was excited to be a part of our event.

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Stories to Service at the Johnson City Public Library

The Johnson City Public Library (Johnson City, TN) began a new teen program called Stories to Service after receiving the YALSA Symposium Programming Challenge Award in 2018. Stories to Service is a teen volunteer program that combines literature with volunteerism through service projects and book clubs. The projects are both planned and implemented by teen volunteers between ages 12-18. Participants will gather to decide what service area they would like to focus on. Then the participants will read a book centered on their selected topic, discuss it together, and complete a project related to the book.

JCPL’s Teen Services Manager, Katelyn Wolfe, drew inspiration for this program from various discussions at the YALSA Symposium in November 2017, including presentations on teen volunteers and an author panel discussing Rudine Sims Bishop’s essay Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors. Her goal was to create a program that accommodated the large number of teens who needed volunteer hours but also gave them an opportunity to connect with their community in new ways. Upon returning to the library, Katelyn brought the idea to the Teen Advisory Board members, who were immediately on board and began brain-storming possible ideas.
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Advancing Diversity Taskforce Report

Given the predominant whiteness and femaleness of the library profession and the increasing diversity of the populations served by libraries, it is crucial that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are at the forefront of our member’s minds and that we as an organization work to make YALSA a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. Last Fall, as part of our EDI efforts, the YALSA Board assembled a taskforce, chaired by Nicole Cooke, to explore the challenges and opportunities library staff of diverse backgrounds face when connecting with YALSA by seeking feedback from both members and potential members and by researching industry best practices in EDI. Cooke and taskforce members Julie Winkelstein, Veronica Koven-Matasy, and Alice Son submitted their findings and recommendations to the Board in the Spring. The report was adopted by the Board and included as an attachment to Board document #4 which was approved prior to ALA Annual 2018. To make the report more visible to our members and to publicly recognize the work of the taskforce, we have included a link to the full report on the YALSA webpage. The Board thanks the Advancing Diversity Taskforce for their work and for laying the groundwork for YALSA to affirm our commitment to EDI.

Since receiving the report, the YALSA Board has taken a number of actions that were a direct result of the Advancing Diversity Taskforce’s recommendations. These include: adopting Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Next Steps, a Value of EDI Statement, and appointing a board member to serve as YALSA’s official liaison to the ALA Affiliates and Round Tables that focus on serving one or more traditionally underrepresented groups. We are currently in the process of updating the YALSA vision statement and intended impact statement for EDI inclusivity.  As soon as the revised statements have been approved by the Board, both will be posted to the YALSA website. The Board is also in the final stages of completing an EDI Plan.

While YALSA has made progress on EDI, our work is far from over. Crystle Martin has chosen Supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through Outcomes and Assessment as her presidential theme for 2018-2019. Specifically, she will focus on how assessment and outcomes can support EDI through the questions asked and approaches taken. It builds off the recommendations made by the Advancing Diversity Taskforce and expands YALSA’s commitment to EDI. Additionally, the YALSA Board is in the beginning stages of strategic planning. EDI will be a core component of the planning process and of our new strategic plan.

We will continue to provide updates on the YALSA blog and through other YALSA communication channels. We welcome your thoughts and ideas as we continue to work with you to ensure that all teens feel included and empowered in library and information spaces.

Thanks for all you do for teens and for YALSA.

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA Immediate Past President

Teen Read Week: Planning a School-Wide Read Program

When I read Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds for the first time last year, I was completely overwhelmed–this story was about my students! So many of them have lost family and friends due to gun violence, and many of them have been faced with similar emotional tragedies in their lives. So I wanted them to see that their feelings and experiences are valid by reading a book written by a man who looks like them and understands them and IS them. But being a Title 1 school means funds are tight, and purchasing class sets of books (especially enough for all classes to read at the same time) is just not in our budget without help. YALSA’s Teen Read Week Grant is that help, and I am incredibly grateful.     

When I saw that the Teen Read Week Grant was open for applications in May, I immediately texted my reading teacher and asked her what she thought about the potential of doing a school-wide read next year with a Jason Reynolds book. She responded with a resounding “YES” and I filled out the application. And then we were selected, and the brainstorming began.  

But how do you plan a reading program for students who are reluctant readers? You make it relevant!

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Summer Learning @ Octavia Fellin Public Library

The Octavia Fellin Public Library (OFPL) in Gallup, NM used the funds from the Summer Learning Resource Grant to purchase equipment to begin a Youth Media Lab where tweens and teens would have access to film and audio equipment as well as editing software. At the end of May OFPL was approached by the Miss Navajo Council, Inc. seeking help for creating a multimedia project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of 1868, which allowed the Navajo Tribe to return to their ancestral homelands after being deported to the Bosque Redondo Reservation. We partnered with the organization utilizing our new equipment and community members to create an intergenerational reading of the Treaty accessible to a modern audience.

The resulting project involved 14 community participants (youth and adult) from the community, and historical photographs from the Library of Congress and National Archives. It was shown at 3 commemoration events in Flagstaff, Arizona; Farmington, New Mexico; and Gallup, New Mexico. OFPL also hosted an exhibit detailing the importance of the treaty and its lasting impacts.

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