#CulturalCompetence: Crowdsourced Syllabus-Style Resources for Increasing Cultural Competence Skills

As a member of YALSA’s Research Committee, I have been particularly interested in combining my own passion for social justice work and anti-bias curricula with the aims of YALSA’s Futures Report to increase cultural competency among YALSA members. I have found myself particularly interested in a plethora of crowdsourced resource lists, often described as “syllabi,” for which many educators and librarians have collaborated. Using social media and virtual connections, crowdsourced syllabi provide online resources for building cultural competence skills in a variety of subjects. Crowdsourced syllabi are accessible, editable, and shareable, and can be avenues for important and empowering discussions, reader’s advisory, and advocacy for the teens and communities which we serve.

The following syllabi have resulted from various current events and an ongoing push by teachers, librarians, and scholars to disseminate diverse texts that can help to fight inequities:

#CharlestonSyllabus: Conceived by Chad Williams, Associate Professor at Brandeis University, and later maintained by Keisha N. Blain, the Charleston Syllabus is an extensive resource list that includes historic overviews, Op-Eds and Editorials, specific readings on South Carolina and Charleston, and readings on white identity and white supremacy. While the syllabus was created as a response to the Charleston shootings, the compilation extends beyond a single event to address issues of race, history, and regionalism. The syllabus also includes lists of multimedia components including films, music, websites, and teaching handouts and also has a section specifically for young readers. The originally crowdsourced document was recently adapted into a published book, titled “Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence.”

#FergusonSyllabus: Marcia Chatelain’s article “How to Teach Kids About What’s Happening in Ferguson” became “a crowdsourced syllabus about race, African American history, civil rights, and policing” that particularly looks to teaching children and adolescents about race in the United States. Categories on the syllabus are: “Teaching About Race and Ferguson,” “African-American History/Civil Rights in the United States,” “Children’s Books,” “Community Organizing, Leadership, Activism,” “Educational Issues,” “Film,” “Media studies and Journalism,” “Music,” “Other Educational Hashtags on Twitter,” “Personal Reflections,” “Poetry,” “Policing,” and “Race and Violence in America.”

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Building Reflective Collections…Always Teens First

photo of reflective sculpture in Chicago with people and buildings reflected in it Developing collections that meet the specific needs of the teens in a local community is not an easy undertaking. It requires knowing who the teens are in your community – those teens that use the library already and those that are not library users, yet. It requires building relationships with the teens in the community to truly understand their needs and interests. It requires building relationships with others – librarians, educators, stakeholders, community members, and more. And, it requires ongoing work with and for teens and the community. This is not a one and done process.

That’s why YALSA’s new 4-week e-course, Building Reflective Collections….Always Teens First, is one that any library staff member that has a hand in developing teen collections will want to take. Taught by middle school librarian Julie Stivers the course will cover:
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YALSAblog News of the Month – July 2016

Welcome to the YALSAblog News of the Month. In this post we highlight a few news items from the past month that we think are of interest to staff working with teens in libraries, schools, and youth development organizations.

YALSA @ ALA Annual 2016: Update on Board Meetings, Discussions & Actions

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

As we celebrated our country’s independence last weekend, YALSA, too, has sought to break free from past models of association work and is currently exploring new ways to engage our members that better meet their interests, skills and busy lifestyles.

It was with those #teensfirst  and members’ first ideals in mind that the 2015-2016 YALSA Board approached our work before and during ALA Annual last month as we worked on aligning existing YALSA groups, programs and services with the association’s new Organizational Plan.

Here are some highlights:

– The Board adopted the following consent items, which were items that were discussed and voted on previous to annual, including:

– The Board also approved a more concrete structure to support and revitalize interest groups.

– The Board approved experimenting with new kinds of member engagement opportunities, especially virtual and short-term ones.

As part of its effort to align YALSA’s existing work with the new Organizational Plan, as well as update member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, the Board began a review of all existing member groups at our June meeting.  While the Board was not able complete the review, we did come to decisions about some of the groups.

– The Board agreed that the following committees’ structure and workflow will remain as they currently are:

  • Alex Award Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Board for YALS/YALSAblog
  • Financial Advancement Committee
  • Margaret Edwards Award Committee
  • Mentoring Task Force
  • Michael Printz Award Committee
  • Morris Award Committee
  • Nonfiction Award Committee
  • Odyssey Award Interdivisional Committee
  • Organization and Bylaws Committee
  • The Hub Advisory Board

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YALSA Board @ ALA Annual 2016: YALSA @ ALA Highlights

Happy LGBTQIA Pride Month & Happy National Week of Making!

YALSA’s Board has been hard at work since their last meeting in Boston: finalizing and adopting a new organizational plan, continuing the roll-out of activities related to the Futures Report, and planning for ALA Annual in Orlando!

Now, the Annual Conference is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to the Printz Ceremony on Friday night, honoring David Levithan at the Edwards Award Brunch on Saturday morning, talking with members at Saturday’s Member Happy Hour and at our Membership Meeting and President’s Program and so much more! You can find the details about these events and many more YALSA activities on the YALSA wiki.

The Board agenda is up online, and nearly all of the documents have been posted. Members can check them out in advance and send comments or feedback to me at candice.yalsa@gmail.com. If you’ll be in Orlando for the conference, the first ten minutes of each of our board meetings are open to public comment. If you have a question for a particular board member about a document they’ve written, you can reach out to them here.

At Annual, the board will spend most of its time discussing how the Board needs to be re-envisioned in order to be well-positioned to achieve the work laid out in the new organizational plan. This is a first step in a bigger process of organizational realignment. It makes sense for the Board to get its own house in order before looking outward to the rest of YALSA.  The Board will be thinking about what needs to change about its own structure and processes, as well as what knowledge and skills will Board members need to gain in order to best lead YALSA and support its members.

Also on the agenda for Annual

You can stay up to date with all the conversations by following Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights. In addition, there will be follow-up blog posts explaining decisions and board actions once the conference is done.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an awesome association, safe travels and hope to see you in Orlando!

Rethinking YALSA: Virtual Town Hall on Monday!

Don’t forget to login on Monday, June 13, 2016, from 2 – 3 pm Eastern for a Town Hall Discussion!

The Town Hall will be about the Organizational Plan that the Board just approved.  See President Candice Mack’s recent blog post for more information.

The Town Hall will be led by Candice and me, and we’ll be joined by many board members, too. The agenda is as follows:

2:00 – 2:15 pm:  Overview of the Organizational Plan & Steps Already Taken

2:15 – 2:45 pm:  Discussion with Participants about Involvement & Engagement Activities

Question to Ponder: What YALSA member engagement activities have you found most meaningful?

2:45 – 3 pm: Q&A and Wrap-Up

If you can’t make it to the virtual town hall, but you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando, we’d love to see you at the session What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It! The session will be on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 am at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04. It will be similar to the virtual town hall, and YALSA’s strategic guru Eric Meade will join the discussion. You can find out more about the Whole Mind Strategy Group in this interview with YALSA Board member Kate McNair.

We’ll be using a format that the Board has been using to meet virtually– Zoom. You don’t have to use video, but it does make conversation easier. And we always love when cute animals accidentally walk in front of the screen!

Email the YALSA Office soon to receive the login information: yalsa@ala.org

YALSA Professional Learning Summer 2016

photo of two sneakered feet standing next to a tablet, notebooks, pencils From monthly webinars, to an e-course, to ALA Annual, YALSA has a lot of opportunities for you to take part in professional learning this summer.

Summer Webinars
First up is the June 16 webinar titled, Content Creation Tools for You and Your Teens. The session will be facilitated by Nick Grove from the Meridian Library. Nick is the digital services librarian at the Meridan (ID) technology center, unBound, in the heart of downtown Meridian. Anyone who participates in the webinar will leave knowing:

  • How to decide what content creation tools to use with and for teens.
  • How content creation can help support teen 21st century skills development
  • Where to go next to learn more about the topic

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YALSA’s Three-Year Organizational Plan and New Librarians

YALSA recently released their three-year organizational plan, which will stretch from now until 2018. It’s ambitious and builds off of the YALSA Futures report, published in December 2013. This plan calls for an understanding of a YALSA librarian’s changing role and the need for YALSA to adapt to these changes in the next three years. This plan has been getting a lot of buzz, especially on this blog (see why librarians are excited for this plan, Candice Mack’s great overview of the plan, and a post about member engagement).

In order to evolve and adapt, the plan picks three priorities that fit within both YALSA’s mission and vision statement. These priorities are

  • Leading the transformation of teen library services,
  • Advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services, AND
  • Funder partner development

With each of the three priorities, YALSA has outlined strategies to reach their priorities and tangible ways to measure three-year outcomes. These outcomes are paired with a learning agenda, recognizing the fact that in order for these outcomes to happen, we as librarians need to keep learning to reach these goals. Finally, there is an implementation plan, which gives activities for 2016 and potential activities post 2016. This implementation plan promises to be a flexible and living document, so it can evolve as the priorities listed above are put into place.

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Rethinking YALSA: What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It!

The YALSA Board has been hard at work throughout this year and last year looking at YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report, association capacity and sustainability, and incorporating member and stakeholder feedback to re-envision the organization’s Strategic Plan to create an association that is more nimble, more modern and more reflective of the needs of teens and our members both today and into the future.

The result is YALSA’s new Organizational Plan!

Please check it out: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/strategicplan

You can also find YALSA’s new Mission, Vision, and Impact Statements (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/mission%26vision/yalsamission) and the Implementation Plan (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/ImplementationPlan.pdf)

Mission: Our mission is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.

Vision: Our vision is that all teens have access to quality library programs and services ‒ no matter where they occur ‒ that link them to resources, connected learning opportunities, coaching, and mentoring that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and that create new opportunities for all teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development

Intended Impact Statement: To meaningfully address the challenges teens face today and to put more teens on the path to a successful and fulfilling life, YALSA will support library staff who work for and with teens in the transformation of teen library services so that:

  • Libraries reach out to and serve ALL teens in the community no matter what their backgrounds, interests, needs, or abilities, and whether or not they frequent the library space.
  • The library “space” is at once both physical and virtual. It connects teens to other people, printed materials, technology, and digital content, not limiting teens to a designated teen area but rather inviting them into the full scope of the library’s assets and offerings.
  • Teens co-create, co-evaluate, and co-evolve library programs and activities with library staff and skilled volunteers (including mentors and coaches) based on their passions and interests. These programs and activities are connected to teens’ personal, work, or academic interests across multiple literacies; generate measurable outcomes for teens’ skills and knowledge; and are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community.

To achieve this impact, the YALSA Board identified the following priority areas:

  • Leading the transformation of teen library services (including a cultural competency component)
  • Advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services
  • Funder and partner development

We’re really excited about the new plan and our #TeensFirst focus and we want to know what your thoughts and/or questions are!

To that end, we’ve put together an Organizational Plan FAQ: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/organizational-plan-faq-2016-2018

YALSA President-Elect Sarah Hill and I are also hosting a virtual video townhall on Monday, June 13th, from 2-3 p.m. Eastern via Zoom.  Please contact the YALSA Office at yalsa@ala.org for the access information.

And, if you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando next month, we will also be hosting a face to face session on YALSA’s new Organizational Plan on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04, called What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It!

If you have any other questions, comments, concerns and/or compliments, feel free to email me at candice. YALSA [at] gmail.com or reach me via Twitter @tinylibrarian! Hope to see you online and/or in person at our Townhall and at ALA Annual!

March 9 Summit on LGBTQ youth homelessness

Every year in the United States, between 1.3 and 1.7 million youth, ages 12 to 24, experience homelessness. Up to 40% of these young people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ). The LAMBDA (Library Anchor Models Bridging Diversity Achievements) IMLS-funded pilot grant is now in its third and final year in working with public libraries on addressing LGBTQ youth homelessness. This grant has provided funds for training workshops, a website (LAMBDA.sis.utk.edu), a webinar (http://lambda.sis.utk.edu/node/36) and a Summit. Throughout these three years we’ve worked with San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), San Diego County Library (SDCL), Seattle Public Library (SPL) and two regional libraries in east Tennessee, Ocoee and Clinch River. The face-to-face trainings for library staff have included in-depth information about how to create welcoming and supportive library environments for these young people.

Building Bridges

We end our final grant year with a Summit at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on March 9, 2016. This Summit will be live-streamed, so those who are unable to attend in person can still participate in the conversation. The Summit brings together service providers, library staff and all others who are interested in working together to address youth homelessness. There will be four keynote speakers, representing both social services and public libraries. These speakers are:

Jama Shelton, Deputy Executive Director, True Colors Fund, NYC

Pamela Sheffer, Program Director, Just Us, Nashville

Kristy Gale, Teen Librarian, Seattle Public Library

Hayden Bass, Outreach Program Manager, Seattle Public Library

The goal of the Summit to bring together practitioners in both fields, as well as any others who are interested in creating solutions to this critical issue.

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