Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: What’s Your Job?

cover of the teen services competenciesOne of the topics you want to consider when reviewing the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff is what impact the document has on job descriptions within your organization. Does your job description reflect what’s included in the Competencies? Do your staff member’s job descriptions support what’s in the Competencies? Do your colleague’s job descriptions make it possible to maintain the ideas of the Competencies in your organization? As you ask yourself these questions perhaps you will realize that it’s time to re-envision the job descriptions in your institution to better reflect the Competencies.

Get started by reviewing job descriptions and asking questions like these:

  • What in the job description supports the dispositions outlined in the Competencies? Are there areas where it’s clear that the dispositions listed are required in order to perform the job successfully?
  • How do the tasks outlined in the job description reflect the skills and knowledge needed by library staff?
  • What opportunities does the job description provide for improving/leveling up within the different content areas of the Competencies?

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Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Youth Leadership

Giving teens the chance to develop leadership skills is a component of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff. In the four minute audio recording below, hear how Rachel McDonald, Teen Services Librarian at the King County Library System (KCLS). gives teens the chance to lead programs and services. In her youth leadership work Rachel demonstrates how through competencies in areas such as Youth Engagement and Leadership, Cultural Competence and Responsiveness, Interactions with Teens, and Continuous Learning, youth have opportunities to engage in experiences that are connected to, and meaningful within, their own lives.

One teen described their experience as a part of the KCLS program in this way:

“Participating in planning the Teen Voices Summit gave me a chance to experience firsthand the behind the scenes of hosting a successful event. I was given an opportunity to work with my peers to form a meaningful event for people my age. I learned to have patience and discipline. It took over a year to plan this event and at some points, it felt very tedious. After many long days of planning seeing the event finally come to fruition made me feel very gratified. What I learned will translate to future successes at school and/or in a job because like planning an event these are very long processes and in order to successfully complete them I will need to attain discipline and have the virtue of patience.”

You can also watch a video with teens taking part in the KCLS programs and hear what they have to say about the value of the experience. Continue reading

Year-End Activities for Library Staff

Recently there was a discussion on the listserv for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries about what activities are good to undertake at the end of the year.  It seemed like a good topic for the YALSAblog, too, so I’ve adapted my answers to make them more focused on serving youth:

Reflecting on this year

  • Send thank you notes to volunteers, supporters, and anyone who gave a helping hand or moral support.
  • Do a post-mortem of your overall efforts to serve teens in 2017. What was successful? What failed and why?  What will you do differently next year?  For more about taking the time to reflect, read this article, Time to Reflect: why does it matter in the workplace?
  • Conduct a review library policies and procedures to see if they need updating. Some useful information is on the ALA site and YALSA’s wiki.
  • Conduct a review the teen pages on your school or library’s web site and social media sites to see what needs updating or improving. Check out ASCLA’s web accessibility resources.  Review content and style for inclusive language, professional content versus personal beliefs, and potential sexist, discriminatory, or similarly insensitive language or images.  Ensure graphics do not show people in stereotypical roles.

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Update on the Search for the Next ALA Executive Director

Currently a petition is circulating among ALA members that attempts to put a measure on the ALA spring ballot in an effort to overturn the most recent decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly favors retaining the current status that prefers that candidates hold the MLIS/CAEP degree rather than require it. We feel that in order to effectively lead a professional organization the size and scope of ALA, a person’s skill as an association executive is critical. If there is a degreed librarian with these skills, that would be most desirable.

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Basic Leadership Skills: A New YALSA E-Course

In 2018 – 2019 YALSA will offer a series of leadership e-courses, to help library staff advance their leadership skills, regardless of job type or level.

Leadership is made up of multiple layers. In fact, in 2017, the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries project released the Layers of Leadership framework. The framework lays out six layers to consider in order to develop leadership skills and take on an active role as a leader in an organization – local, state, regional, national. In YALSA’s e-learning series, each area of the framework will be explored.

In the first course (scheduled for 1/22/18-2/18/18), Basic Leadership Skills, Josie Watanabe will facilitate learning related to the first two layers of the Nexus Framework: Leading Self and Leading Others. Learn more about what Josie is planning for this course in this 9 minute video.

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YALSA Snack Break: Creativity in Leadership

YALSA’s November webinar, Creativity in Leadership, was facilitated by three librarians in Montana – Rebekah Kamp, Heather Dickerson, and Cody Allen – who inspired attendees with strategies and examples of bringing innovative practices and leadership to services for and with teens. The November YALSA Snack Break is a five minute excerpt from this webinar. It focuses on how to make decisions about teen services activities, the importance of risk in teen services, and accepting and reframing failure. Check it out below:

You can view all of YALSA’s Snack Breaks by accessing the Snack Break playlist.

YALSA members have free access to all webinars (login required). Non-members can purchase webinars for a low cost.

YALSA Board – Advocating for Teens in Other Associations

YALSA Board Members – Other Associations

Earlier in October, the YALSA Board of Directors held a virtual discussion about what it means to serve as ambassadors for YALSA. We discussed our role in advocating with state and national elected officials and in fundraising, as well as how we actively support and advance YALSA’s positive reputation with members, within the profession, and within our own communities.  Ask any YALSA board member and we’ve got our “elevator speech” ready to go–I know I’m not the only board member with our mission statement memorized! Throughout our Board chat, we realized that we are very active in many organizations, not just YALSA.  Click on the graphic to see where else we spend our energy.  With every meeting, conference call, workshop or listserv message, YALSA Board members are advocating for teens in these organizations, too.  YALSA also has many sponsors and partners who are helping us advocate for teens–companies, foundations, nonprofits, and ALA partners.

What do we want to see?

YALSA’s 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.

Think about the connections you have beyond the library. Where else do you spend your time and energy? How are those avenues that you can use to advocate for teens and your library?

We appreciate that you have chosen to be an ALA and YALSA member.  Thank you for your support and for believing in our vision!

Graphic Key

A-Association, IG-Interest Group, RT-Round Table

Volunteer for the Board Development Committee or District Days Taskforce!

YALSA is now seeking volunteers for two virtual member groups:

  • Board Development Committee (formerly the Governance Nominating Committee): this group will work from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, and will be responsible for identifying candidates for the 2019 slate, training and on-boarding individuals who serve on YALSA’s Board of Directors, and identifying and cultivating future leaders.  This is a great opportunity for someone who has board or governance experience, whether at the local, state or national level.  Committee size: 5-7 virtual members.
  • District Days Taskforce: If you enjoy marketing and have some experience with local-level advocacy, this opportunity is for you!  This group will work from April 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018 to provide resources and support to members to engage locally with elected officials.  Learn ore about District Days on the wiki.  Taskforce size: 5 – 7 virtual members

Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form by December 1st, 2017

Thanks for all the time and talent you volunteer to YALSA!  If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, visit the YALSA web site for more opportunities or check out this brand new video from Jack Martin and Kate McNair!  If you have questions feel free to get in touch with me (cmartin@hri.uci.edu).

Crystle Martin,  YALSA President-Elect

YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading

YALS Summer 2017 Companion: Research RoundUp: Learning To Lead The Organization

Are you a manager? A supervisor? Maybe, like me, you feel you are a great follower. I have been working in my current position, as the sole full-time library staff, for eight years; and I have developed my position as well as our library collections and the services we offer, and slowly but surely, my department is growing. I have also, over the last four years, been increasing my participation in local, state and national library associations and events.

As I keep thinking about how my Library Services department can best respond to my community’s needs and interests, as well as how I can grow professionally, I have been thinking about what leadership is. Through this exploration I started thinking: maybe I can be a leader. Maybe, in some small ways, I had already taken steps on the path to leadership. That was an intense moment for me, as I had never thought of myself as a leader. Here is what I gained from my research, which I hope will also provoke new ideas for you!

A LEADER’S ATTITUDE

Current research on library leadership agrees: library leaders know that a library is at the heart of their community, and that the emphasis should not be on what the library owns but on what the library does. Thus, library leaders need to focus on discovering, understanding and responding to the community needs.

The philosophy can be condensed to: “Books out, people in”. That is what Louise Berry, former director of the famous Darien Public Library in Connecticut, used to say. It is the work of library leadership to bring together the library (staff, collection and services) and its community. An example of that philosophy is what the Tuzzy Consortium Library (Barrow, AK) has been able to put together, thanks to their leadership’s focus on the community. They have partnered with the school districts, local public and private organizations, the State Library, local clubs, and many more, to channel their power into one goal: serving the community.

Leadership can be demonstrated through several characteristics, which I have been fortunate to observe in the leadership team at my school. Leaders:

  • hire people who fit well with our school culture and have the same vision and values;
  • trust them to do their job on their own;
  • hold themselves and others to high standards;
  • provide (internal and external) professional development for everyone within reach and even go beyond those standards;
  • listen to our community (staff, faculty, students and parents);
  • make decisions based on our community’s needs and interests.

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