Equity and Access – Learning Environments (formal and informal) for those with visible physical disabilities

Hello everyone,

For October, the focus on my presidential theme Striving for Equity Using YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies is on access, and in particular for those with disabilities. As Teen Services Competency Content Area 3, Learning Environments (formal and informal) states, we should “Acknowledge challenges to teen equity and inclusion that occur in the design and management of the overall library program”; “Remove barriers of access to library learning environments” and “Provide space (physical and virtual, in the library and in the community) that is engaging for all teens…”. In order to do this, all areas of the physical building and any locations where library-sponsored activities and programs take place must be fully accessible to all members of the community, including those with physical disabilities. How can we strive for equity if we leave any members of our service area from full participation?

 

In the realm of visible physical disabilities, the just-opened Hunter’s Point branch of the Queens (NY) Library has been recently in the news. Again. And again. Architecturally lauded by the New York Times, New York, and others, a glaring flaw was quickly found in the design of the building. Three large sections of the Fiction collection are inaccessible to library users who cannot ascend a steep staircase. The one elevator in the building does not stop to access this area. Queens Library has since acknowledged the problem, and are working to move that collection to become available to all users of the branch. However, the fact that a $41 million building that was years in the making overlooked such a basic access issue is troubling.

Are there areas of the libraries that you work at which are inaccessible? Do you consider all of your teens when planning programming? Consider both your building and any off-site locations.

Remember, too, that there are free webinars for this and all of the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

Thanks!

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

Photo credit: Jake Dobkin, Gothamist

K-Pop and SEL: A Perfect Match

This post is by Shawnte Santos, Program Manager, Youth Services, and Martin Pi ñol, Youth Services Librarian, South San Francisco (CA) Public Library.

photo of participants in K-Pop programIn October 2018, inspired by a K-Pop 101 program on YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ, South San Francisco Public Library hosted the first of what would become a series of K-Pop programs for and with teens.

This spring, when participating in a YALSA facilitated Teen Services with Impact! workshop, we realized that the K-Pop activities connected with of the Social Emotional Competencies. For example:

Self Awareness
The teens who attended were incredibly appreciative of the program, and excited to see their interests represented in a library program. They were especially thrilled when opening their mystery prize packs and seeing what was included- there was even some screaming; we were happy that they felt comfortable enough to express their emotions in the space.

Self Management
We planned to set up a playlist of K-Pop songs and videos, however the teens made it their own, they took turns choosing what songs they wanted to hear and share with their new friends. Everybody was supportive of each other’s choices, and waited until the songs were over before putting on new ones.
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You Don’t Want to Miss it

YALSA’s new five week e-course, Start at the End: Backwards Design for Library, Programming, starts on July 8, 2019. Over the past few days I’ve been previewing the course materials, designed by the instructor Casey Rawson, and I can easily say, you don’t want to miss this learning opportunity. You don’t have to take my word for it, check out this 5 minute video in which Casey talks about the course and you get to know her a little too.

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Future Ready with the Library: No Longer Forgotten: The Triumph and Struggles of Rural Education in America

photo from Future Ready with the Library cohort 3 memberRecently the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program sponsored a panel discussion in connection with the publication of the book, No Longer Forgotten: The Triumph and Struggles of Rural Education in America. I was particularly interested in this discussion because of the ARSL and YALSA Future Ready with the Library project that is funded by IMLS.

I was able to watch the livestream of the discussion and am very happy I did. I found the entire discussion of value and think that many library staff will too. A few of the conversation points that I want to think about more include:
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Research Roundup: Social and Emotional Learning

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you.

While preparing the Research Roundup on Social and Emotional Learning for the Winter issue of YALS, I learned that there would be a flurry of publishing in late 2018 and early 2019 in the field of social and emotional learning. This update highlights some of these developments:

  • The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development released From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope in January 2019. It is the result of two years of study and conversations with experts, practitioners, and parents across the nation. It provides synthesis, case studies and recommendations for future work.  The report makes six recommendations:
    • Set a clear vision that broadens the definition of student success to prioritize the whole child.
    • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
    • Change instruction to teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and school wide practices.
    • Build adult expertise in child development.
    • Align resources and leverage partners in the community to address the whole child.
    • Forge closer connections between research and practice by shifting the paradigm for how research gets done.
  • CASEL’s Measuring SEL: Using Data To Inspire Practice has published a number of research briefs. I found this brief particularly useful: Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. Measuring SEL also hosted two design challenges, which give you the chance to learn about SEL assessment tools developed by practitioners.
  • In December 2018, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published an issue brief Social and Emotional Development Matters: Taking Action Now for Future Generations which gives an overview of key findings and links to reports on specific aspects of SEL that the foundation developed from 2017 until now.
  • The University of Minnesota recently updated its SEL Toolkit. The toolkit uses the Ways of Being SEL Model developed by the University of Minnesota. It focuses on youth in middle school, but provides many activities that can be adjusted for other ages. Many of these activities are applicable to out-of-school time programming.

Submitted by Committee member Bernie Farrell.

New YALSA E-Course – ConnectedLib: Creating Learning Connections for Youth

ConnectedLib logo graphic

Did you know? YALSA is launching a new e-course titled ConnectedLib: Creating Learning Connections for Youth. Those enrolled in the course will learn how to create engaging teen services using the Connected Learning framework. The course will be taught by Kelly Hoffman, a Doctoral candidate at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Kelly also was a core team member on the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded ConnectedLib project. The course is scheduled for five weeks from March 17 – April 20, 2019

Participants will need to spend approximately two hours per week on course work. Activities will include reading, watching videos, providing peer feedback, discussion, and reflection activities. Over the five weeks of the course, participants will evaluate their teen programs and their library’s capacity for connected learning; identify community resources that could enhance teens’ learning experiences; and put what they learn into practice by creating an outline for their own connected learning program or by revising an existing program in order to have a greater impact with and for teens and communities.

Learn more about the e-course and register on the YALSA website.


The Liberation of Not Knowing All the Answers

This post was written by Jill O’Connor who was a school librarian for 12 years before making the switch to a public library and, as the Youth Services Librarian at the Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth, Maine, she is  loving the freedom to craft programs for a willing audience. She is an avid reader of YA and middle grade books and a book reviewer with the Maine State Library Book Review group. When not thinking up glorious new STEM programming, she can be found driving to her son’s hockey games or her daughter’s dance classes, routing for the local baseball team, or cooking up new foods to tantalize her family.

As a former school librarian, I am new to the public library world. In the public library setting, programming looks very different than it did in school where you are a teacher, on par with all other educators in the school with learning objectives and curricula in hand. A school offers an audience of a knowable set of bodies in your class every day. You plan classes (programs) that hit your objectives and you present information. You don’t have to know everything, and it’s okay to say, “I don’t know, let’s look it up,” but for the most part, I always felt that I had to be the one in the know and in the position of teaching my audience something.

Fast forward to this past fall, I am the shiny new Youth Services Librarian at a public library, excited to try new things in a completely different setting, no longer hostage to the multiple classes-per-day grind. My domain is 3rd through 12th grade, and I am in charge of collection development, reader’s advisory, and all programming for the patrons within my assigned demographic. I know that I have to offer some STEM programming; it’s being asked for by parents and it’s a sensible and sought-after topic for all kids to be participating in, but what to do?!

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Research Roundup: Community Colleges and Teens

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you. To match the theme of the fall issue, this column focuses on year-round teen services by examining current articles that share opportunities to mentor teens and support their leadership development.

Boerner, H. (2016). An Incubator for Better Outcomes: Innovation at work at Prince George’s Community College. Community College Journal, 86(4), 18–23.

Prince George’s Community College in Maryland partnered with the Prince George’s County Public Schools by actually creating a high school on campus.  Students who attend the high school have an opportunity to also take courses at the community college. Many of those students graduate with an associates degree as well as their high school diploma.  A collaboration like this one allows easier access to everyone and curriculum alignment is definitely at the forefront of the high school.

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Future Ready with the Library: Shake it Out

As a part of the YALSA and Association for Small and Rural Libraries (ARSL), Institute of Museum and Library Services funded Future Ready with the Library project, cohort members meet monthly to talk about working with middle schoolers and community in support of social emotional learning (SEL) leading to college and career awareness. In December, the third cohort of the project spoke with LaKesha Kimbrough, the Student Success Coordinator at Washington Middle School in Seattle. LaKesha spoke about SEL, how to help library staff work successfully with middle schoolers, and how to build partnerships that build opportunities for success for middle school students.

The 38 minute video below is a compilation of clips from LaKesha’s conversation with cohort members.

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