YALSA Joins National Media Literacy Alliance

Hi everyone,

YALSA has accepted an invitation from NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, to be a founding member of the National Media Literacy Alliance.

This coalition brings together educational and library associations from across the country to “advance media literacy education as a necessary element of a complete 21st-century education in America. At a time when misinformation threatens civil discourse and the very nature of our democracy, the Alliance will work to ensure that students across our nation have the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate our ever-expanding modern media landscape.”

Other groups joining the 12-member Alliance include the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

This fits YALSA’s mission statement that puts all teens on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. “Alliance members will work together to support their network of educators in integrating media literacy education into their classrooms, reference media literacy in their instructional standards, include media literacy content in their respective national and regional conferences.” Tenets from YALSA’s Teen Literacies Toolkit and Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff are being included in producing these standards. Twitter has provided initial funding for the Alliance.

Additionally, NAMLE has announced its International Research Initiative which will map and assess the current state of media literacy education in the United States and Australia. With the advent of social media in the past two decades, the importance of understanding its influence on teens’ literacy is paramount.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Thanks as always for your work for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 

It’s Citizen Science Month AND (Almost) National Library Week!

Two people sit on a couch looking at a laptop together. The text reads: Citizen Science Month and Participate from Home!It’s Citizen Science Month AND it’s (almost) National Library Week! SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, and ASU Library—with support from the National Library of Medicine—will shine a light on libraries’ citizen science-related resources during a live event on April 21 at 5pm ET…and we invite YOU to 1) send us resources you’d like us to highlight, 2) join us during the event, and 3) invite your library audiences to tune in, too!

LIVE: The Field Guide to Citizen Science–and other free resources from your library!

Text reads: The Field Guide to Citizen Science

The live, online event will feature library resources, including: The Field Guide to Citizen Science, a new book from the experts at SciStarter. The event will include a reading by Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter, Professor of Practice at ASU, and one of the authors, who will help audiences discover what citizen science is, who can be a citizen scientist (everyone!), and how to find and join a project from home. We’ll all do one project together.

The Field Guide to Citizen Science reading and related activities will serve as a pathway to help people (families, seniors, teens, adults—everyone!) connect with other books and resources they can access for free, online through YOUR libraries. Then, Tess Wilson from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine will join us to spotlight projects on SciStarter.org/NLM, related health and medicine resources, and more.  

Please register for this free event and spread the word using any of the resources in this Google Folder! The event will be hosted on Zoom, live-streamed to YouTube, and shared on Facebook. 

We want to hear from you!

  • Does your library offer citizen science resources you’d like us to promote during the live event? Great! Please send us links and the name/city/state of your library.
  • Would you like to be listed as a partner of this event? Please send us your logo and website. Partners commit to attend and promote the event.
  • We will run live polls and invite you to send us questions you’d like us to ask the audience (“Have you engaged in a citizen science project?”  “Have you used your library’s online resources during social distancing?”)

If you have access to your library’s Facebook page, please share the event invitation and post the link to the YouTube video where the event will be streamed. We’ll post that link at the opening of the Zoom event. This way, your library’s Facebook community can tune in without going through Zoom.

Please send materials and comments to CarolineN@SciStarter.org . Better yet, call into the Citizen Science Month call tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 am and 11 am ET: Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/264491167
Meeting ID: 264 491 167.  One tap mobile +16465588656,,264491167#

Happy Citizen Science Month!

Clarification : Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Dear YALSA membership,

Recently, we posted a new Outstanding Books for the College Bound list. In an attempt to get an already delayed list out to the membership and other interested parties in a timely fashion, an incomplete and occasionally inaccurate product was provided. The rushed product did not meet YALSA’s standards of quality, and for that reason, we’ve decided to pull the list until an improved version can be created. We want to get this right, as this list is established every five years.

I want to personally apologize for the confusion. We look forward to providing teens and library staff with a strong, valuable Outstanding Books for the College Bound list.

Thank you,

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

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workplace, part 6

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The last interview in the series is with Erin Anderson Wenz. She is a Professional Engineer and Principal/Vice President at an environmental engineering consulting firm in Minneapolis.  She has over 20 years of experience managing stormwater and lake water quality in urban environments.  Her project work also includes the design and construction of low-impact development features such as rainwater cisterns, rain gardens, and porous pavement. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two sons and a daughter.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

Paid family leave for moms and dads so that working parents can be equally supported in taking time off from work to be with their small children, and coaching for women to consider more leadership positions in the workplace.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

Growing up, I guess I was a little lucky – I never felt like there were things I couldn’t do.  It wasn’t until college that I realized how gender-skewed my chosen profession would be (at least it has been for a while… things are really changing!).

Can you discuss any experiences that you have had that made you feel singled out as a woman or as one of the women in your workplace or chosen career? Are there particular instances of gender inequalities that you have had to deal with? How did you handle them?

Some years into my career, I realized that I was being a bit looked over for a promotion offered to senior staff with an established clientele.  I had gone a little “off the radar” with senior leadership after reducing hours to spend more time with small children, and even though I was taking on greater responsibilities and having success at work, I realized that my colleagues may have assumed I wasn’t interested in an increased role.  It took a little catch-up effort for me to get the word out that I was ready for the challenge, with the credentials to prove my eligibility.  Maybe that experience would have been the same if I had been a man that had taken time off to be with children, maybe not. The fact is that more women tend to take that kind of time away, and have to negotiate reentry, and balance the next steps of a career along with home life. Continue reading

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workplace, part 5

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The next interview is with Kate Reigel. She most recently served as the Director for a new specialty master’s program at the University of Minnesota’s business school, the Carlson School of Management, launching the program from inception. At the Carlson School, she taught several graduate-level experiential learning courses, including the Global Business Practicum in China. Prior to the Carlson School, she served as an independent management consultant, working for executives on strategic initiatives. Prior to her independent work, Ms. Reigel was a project leader for the Boston Consulting Group. Earlier in her career, she was a platinum consultant for SAP.  She holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and earned her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

Pay. Pay and placement. I’d like to see equal pay for work being done equally, and I would like to see more women ascending to the ranks of senior management: Not only CEOs and other C-suite positions, but also VP and Director level positions, so women are experienced and prepared when entering C-level roles. I’d like to widen the pool of women candidates for C-suite consideration.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

Regarding my own upbringing, my mom is a vascular surgeon who has now moved into an executive position at a hospital. She waited until I was in kindergarten, age 5, to enter medical school in the 1970’s. Prior to that, she was a homemaker. My childhood and adolescence was spent watching my mom furthering her education to attain a career she found fulfilling, and observing my dad step up on the home front, along with the rest of us, to allow her to do this. This early example set a foundational belief for me that we all can reach our goals, regardless of gender.

Can you discuss any experiences that you have had that made you feel singled out as a woman or as one of the women in your workplace or chosen career? Are there particular instances of gender inequalities that you have had to deal with? How did you handle them?

Throughout my career, I have typically been surrounded by more men than women in the room. I am incredibly privileged to have been in environments where my voice has been heard as much as those of the men in the room. I enjoy spirited debate and the back and forth that comes with the vibrant sharing of ideas in conversation, which often includes interruptions. However, there was one example recently that comes to mind:  I was in a formal meeting, with many powerful people in attendance.  It was the type of meeting where each attendee thinks carefully before speaking, and each individual has minimal air time. I contributed an idea when a male attendee interrupted and redirected the conversation. The momentum of the conversation shifted to his point. Immediately after the man completed his thought, another woman present said, “Let’s go back to what Kate was talking about; I think she has an important idea that we need to act on.” The entire cadence of the meeting highlighted the importance of amplification and advocacy. I sincerely don’t think the male attendee interrupted intentionally or with malice, yet the result of my idea being glossed over would have been the same, had it not been for the intervention of a female peer (or I would have had to interject and reiterate my point myself). I became aware of the issue in a way I hadn’t before. I’d like to increase awareness across both men and women of these nuances of conversation and how these can impact women’s involvement in decision making. A Forbes article from a couple years back discusses the scourge of “manterrupting”! Continue reading

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workplace, part 4

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The next interview is with Sarita Parikh, who started her career as an engineer, with a belief that technology could improve the quality of people’s lives. She’s since learned that engineering is necessary, but not enough, and went on to do work in product design and consumer behavior. Sarita is the co-founder of jomanity, a startup focused on helping people live every day with more joy and more humanity. In her free time, Sarita hangs out with her kids, does yoga, and eats way too many donuts. She lives in Minneapolis with her family and her new puppy, Buddy.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

My instinctive answer is helping more people understand how the brain works and that as part of being human we all have unconscious bias. No one is immune from it and I think really understanding that is kind of liberating. If we know that, and we know that the “standard” picture of a senior executive is an older white male (this is the archetype in our minds because it’s what we see most often), it helps put context around why so many women aren’t seen as leaders. This is the “she just doesn’t ‘have’ what it takes” perspective. The most common feedback that I see women receive in leadership roles is that they are either too soft or too aggressive (the double bind.) It’s a narrow, narrow line between those two. Although that’s my instinctive answer, I also know that there is research indicating that when people learn a problem is a common problem, they can feel like they’re off the hook: see this NYT article.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

I was a math/science kid, and oblivious in some ways, and my parents were strong supporters for those skills, so I was lucky that I didn’t feel bound by academic gender stereotypes. As a kid, I always knew I could beat the boys in math contests. (We used to have boy vs. girl math contests at school!)

I did, however, feel a strong need to be deferential to people with strong confidence, and I still grapple with that. I innately believed that people who spoke with confidence “knew” more than I did, and they tended to be boys. Side note: I had a real ‘aha’ moment when reading How Women Rise. I don’t have the exact quote, but it was essentially this: Women are more likely to be communal in their leadership and feel like luck and the people around them are the reason for their success. Men are more likely to feel that their success is preordained, that they will be successful irrespective of the people around them. That was a serious epiphany. I had never understood that idea, and after reading it, so many events from the past made sense to me. Finally, I always felt uncomfortable with the idea of having ambition. It felt embarrassing and aggressive and I rarely spoke of it. Now, I feel proud of having ambition: It no longer feels unseemly.

Can you discuss any experiences that you have had that made you feel singled out as a woman or as one of the women in your workplace or chosen career? Are there particular instances of gender inequalities that you have had to deal with? How did you handle them?

I’m often the only person of color in the conference room. I’m petite, I’m brown, I have a high pitched voice, and I’m female. For many years, I worked in technology and I knew people discounted me from the moment they saw me. It didn’t bother me that much because I knew that I had strong skills and that my professional value would become evident quickly. However, as I moved into leadership roles, being immediately discounted really bothered me. When other people underestimated me, it undermined my ability to lead. It made me nervous and question myself and that’s a bad combination for “presence.” Now, I have enough experience and confidence that I can project a warm gravitas. But it took a lot of intentional practice and mindset shifts to develop the confidence. Continue reading

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workplace, part 3

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The next interview is with Wendy Volkman, currently a Minneapolis-based UX Content Strategist in the financial industry. She has also been a Digital Marketing Manager, Webmaster, Compensation & Classification Analyst, Institutional Researcher in higher ed, and a Welfare Policy Analyst.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

There are two – pay equity and broadening the idea of what leadership looks like to include more women leaders and female leadership styles in the workplace. I think it is very circular – more women in leadership roles will diversify what leadership looks like in the workplace, which allows more females to imagine themselves as leaders, which will hopefully lead to more women seeking leadership positions.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

I guess I felt from a young age that my intelligence was valued the most. I don’t recall feeling overpraised for my appearance, cleanliness or politeness. I’m not sure I felt like I was treated any differently than my brother who is two years older than me. Though I was very good at math and science, I don’t recall ever being encouraged to continue studying it after high school. I do recall telling my HS guidance counselor that I thought that engineering was for guys, and I don’t remember being corrected. I knew that appearance could be disproportionately rewarded in women, but I guess I never really felt like going down that path. Continue reading

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workforce, part 2

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The next interview is with Bianka Pineda. She was was born in Guatemala but has lived in the United States for most of her life. She has a master’s degree in counseling and student personnel psychology from the University of Minnesota, and has been a school counselor in St. Paul Public Schools for several years. Her role as a school counselor is to advocate on behalf of her students and ensure their needs are being met so they can be successful at school. She helps students develop their skills in the academic, social/emotional, and college/career domains.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

I have two “elements” that I would highlight in my field of work. First, in the elementary and secondary education settings, women staff outnumber men significantly. Therefore, in general, education is considered “women’s work” and I would argue not only underpaid but extremely under-valued in our society. The second element of gender equity to note in our current educational system is that teaching is much more geared towards our female students. The qualities that we promote in girls, being able to sit and to please, are rewarded heavily and in large part account for the number of girls graduating and going onto post-secondary options at a higher rate than boys.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

Based on my own personal experience and the population I serve at work, this question cannot be answered without including a cultural lens. Speaking as a first-generation Latinx woman, I benefited from parents that supported all my educational and vocational aspirations and often highlighted high-achieving women of color. Although many of my students of color have parents who support them this way, they also still saddle them with domestic expectations related to their gender. For example, many of these girls are expected to do more house chores and the taking care of younger siblings than their male siblings and which often conflicts with their ability to get their homework done. They also have stringent social rules that do not mirror what their male siblings are allowed to do, something I also experienced and can create feelings of self-doubt and resentment. Therefore, I am often coaching my students on how to communicate these conflicting demands to their parents. We focus on the chores in particular and how they take away time from studying. And when the opportunity presents itself, and I can communicate with parents, I will advocate similarly on my students’ behalf. Continue reading

Learning Experiences (formal and informal) – Gender Equity in the Workplace, part 1

Hello everyone,

As a continuing commitment to look at the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the EDI lens, and my presidential theme of Striving for Equity using the same Competencies, I considered the fourth of these Competencies. I thought about how career preparation is a considerable aspect of Learning Experiences (formal and informal), and realized that a notable, ongoing issue of equity, inequity and inequality revolves around gender issues in the workplace.

Because I feel that our perspective can become myopic if we stay wholly within the library sphere, I chose to interview women in the non-library workforce and I asked them about their experiences around gender inequity and inequality, and how these elements shaped them, both as teens and during their careers. I also asked them about how they feel gender inequity and inequality has affected the teens in their own lives today.

The first interview is with Laura McNeill, who works as a youth mentor in a nature immersion-based camp for kids ages 7-16. She teaches fire by friction, tracking, shelter building, plant identification, foraging, song singing, gratitude and peacemaking. Through these activities and others she strives to strengthen connections to nature, self and others. Her non-paid work includes racial justice organizing and education for Groundwork in Madison, Wisconsin, leading anti-racist workshops for white people, rooted in the resilient leadership of people of color both locally and nationally. She is also a parent to two incredible young people.

If there was one element of gender equity that you would like to see promoted in the workplace, what would it be?

One element would be the racial wage gap. Looking at how race intersects with pay. On average, women of color earn less on the dollar, than white women for the same education background, job experiences and position, with African American women and American Indian women earning the least overall. This gap widens as women advance upwardly into different positions. I’d love to see white women (and white men) address this in the big picture when working towards advancement for equal pay for all genders.

Considering the research that gender stereotypes are set into motion around age 10, how would you say that you worked against these stereotypes for girls, and in what ways did they become a part of your own upbringing and adolescence?

My Dad was working on his college degree when we were in elementary school. He had joined the military right after high school, so worked at nights with the benefit of the GI bill towards his degree. He was often doing homework right beside us at the kitchen table, encouraging us in our studies. I was good at math and was always encouraged to continue to work hard both at school and at home. My parents had three girls right in a row and wanted us to have the same opportunities as anyone else. My mom stayed at home with us, but we often heard stories of her independence, travels and job with IBM. My parents talked about saving money for us to go to college – we always knew that was part of our story.

Raising two white sons, but having close relationships with many young girls through friends and family, this is always on my mind and I am constantly learning. When one of my sons was in 4th grade, the white teacher recommended that he join an advanced math group. Excited to have the teacher recognize that he needed to be more challenged, but also knowing about (sometimes unconscious) early tracking, I asked her if two friends of his, two African American girls, had also been included in this invitation. Having had the privilege of volunteering in the classrooms over several previous years, and having close relationships with these families, I was aware that these girls had always been side by side with my son in learning progress and work efforts. The teacher responded that the girls had not been invited to the higher math group, because their test scores had been low enough not to be in the range required for recommendation. When I asked about the test score difference, it did not seem to warrant not inviting them, based on their history, excitement about math and strong work ethic. I asked my son what he thought about this, and he said that his two friends were just as good as he was in math. I both reached out to the parents with this information and also to the teacher to reconsider, challenging an education system that often leaves kids of color and girls behind when it comes to advanced math. The flip side of this equation is that advanced classes are often pushed by privileged white families, who then keep quiet about this privilege. So speaking up about this ‘silence’ is also important, exposing privilege and making all families aware of what opportunities exist. Reframing and valuing high expectations in education for all of ‘our’ kids, not just our own families. Reminding and encouraging educators to look at a bigger picture than test scores when recommending kids for advanced courses. Continue reading

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Jefferson City Public Library

When entering into our Teen Internship Program, I was prepared to mentor our teens in critical job skills to equip them for their futures. I wanted them to learn to work as a team, to gain confidence in their natural abilities, and to see that they are unique and important contributors to their communities. But my experience with our internship program taught me – once again – that the relationship between a teen and their librarian is different from any other. And I discovered that the most important lessons teens learn with us aren’t necessarily those we plan.

Because teens are still growing up and learning to handle an array of life skills, they bring all their learning needs with them to whatever they do. We think they are coming to an internship just to learn job skills, but they have more needs than that. And they might just turn to us for help. I don’t know exactly what it is about librarians that makes us more accessible than others. Perhaps it’s because we’re adults who are respected, but not authority figures. Perhaps it’s because we stand by the gates of knowledge (holding them open) and they instinctively associate us with the ancient figure of the “priestly advisor.” 

Whatever the reason, I’ve found this special role requires being emotionally sensitive and available to our teen patrons. This summer, I discovered it to be crucial for our teen interns. Being the intern coordinator required a balance of being a job-skills mentor – directing events, guiding projects, and showing the ins and outs of the library – and being a life-skills mentor – a confidant, comforter, and encourager. My job was not just to teach things like how to successfully manage a program, but also to be keenly sensitive to any personal struggles. For one teen in particular, I had to understand the affect her struggles had on her performance and be patient so as to allow her time to regain her equilibrium. I mentored her through life lessons that were not related to job skills.

In some ways, I doubted our success in fulfilling the purpose of the grant because the most important skills learned were not career centered. Then I realized that success in the job world requires more than just a set of technical skills and job-centered ideals. A person must have certain personal qualities. I remembered the idea of emotional intelligence and did a quick search. I discovered that according to Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, there is “Intrapersonal Intelligence.” This intelligence is the “capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes.” These are the qualities the teen intern developed over the summer. Qualities she will need in her work life as well as her personal life. And –wait – it sounds very much like the goal “to gain confidence in their natural abilities.” So in the end, being an “accidental” life-skills mentor was being a job-skills mentor.

Teen interns lead a storytime.

Teen interns lead a storytime.

 

Emily L. Shade is a Library Assistant at Jefferson City Public Library.