When I started thinking about posting about out summer intern experience, I began thinking about why we hire a summer intern.The obvious reason is that an intern fills the gaps for summer staff during our busiest time of the year.But, the summer intern experience is not really for us, the staff.We certainly benefit from having a teen here for the summer, but the summer intern experience is really meant for the teen.
So, how do we avoid just putting our teen to work, and instead give them an experience that could influence and direct their future?That’s not a question that I have a clear-cut answer for.While I’m sure that our summer intern spent lots of time just being put to work, I also know that our intern had a summer that shaped some of the choices that she will make for her future.
The range of activities that our summer intern participated in varied from checking books in and out, shelving, recording summer reading stats, helping with summer reading programs, creating summer reading craft projects, and developing promotional materials.All of those activities met our needs as a library during the busy summer reading program, and they helped shape the overall experience of our summer intern.
ALA has announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of 25-50 school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth. The grant application will open in late July. If you’d like to get notification when the application is open, sign up via this online form. The $500,000 program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure library staff are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. YALSA is partnering with ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, AASL, and ALSC to implement this program. Learn more.
If you’re attending Annual, I hope you can join us Monday, June 26, from 10:30-noon, in the Convention Center, room W184bc, for the Annual YALSA Membership Meeting and President’s Program!
During the membership meeting, you’ll meet the current YALSA Board of Directors, as well as next year’s Board. We’ll recognize grant and award winners, as well as donors. I’ll give a brief update of board actions over the past year, and the incoming president-elect, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, will discuss her initiative for next year.
Directly after the membership meeting, my presidential program task force chair, Valerie Davis, will lead a panel discussion on the theme of “Real Teens, Real Ready” about college/career readiness and adulting. She had great help finding these speakers–her task force members were Lisa Borten, Lisa Dettling, Jeremy Dunn, Katie Guzan, and Ellen Popit.
Tiffany Boeglen and Britni Cherrington-Stoddart, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Non-Traditional Career Paths
Laurel Johnson, Skokie Public Library – Neutral Zone/Peer Guided Conversations
Lisa Borten, Brooklyn Public Library – Youth Council/Urban Art Jamm
Jennifer Steele, Chicago Public Library – (PRO)jectUS, creative workforce development/partnerships
Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago – Neighborhood Development for Youth
The presentations are going to be awesome, so be prepared to find ideas that you can implement in your community! See you there!
A continuing trend for colleges and universities is to sponsor a Common Reading Program for incoming freshman. These programs aim to connect new students around a shared experience that promises to build community. Every freshman (in theory) reads the book, so when they arrive in August, they have something to talk about beyond the normal freshman small talk.
Now, this isn’t a new idea and in fact, lots of libraries have done similar programs with their more broader community. We might call it something different, like City Reads or One Book, One City, but the concept is the same. It’s a way to bring people together, create common ground, share diverse perspectives, and come to a better understanding of one another.
The library is a natural partner in these sorts of programs, not only for our ability to provide copies of the book, but also the wealth of resources around the book itself. We are in great positions to provide programming and additional information for those really interested in the book content. Additionally, because the library is often considered a third space, it’s a natural spot for some community discussions on the book.
YouthTruth has recently come out with a new survey, College and Career Readiness, of 165,000 high school students “between the 2010-11 and 2014-15 school years,” and found a vast amount of information that shows that high school students want to go to college, but “most feel unprepared to do so.” High school students also feel less prepared for future careers and are “not taking advantage of support services,” such as programs presented at libraries and more. Along with high school students, middle school students also feel unprepared for college and a future career.
Laura Pitts, a librarian from The Scottsboro, Alabama Public Library shares how “rural, small, and tribal libraries are helping middle schoolers with college and career readiness” through YALSA’s first cohort of Future Ready with the Library funded by IMLS. The program’s mission is to “develop a way, through partnerships with community organizations or educational outlets, to address the issue of college and career readiness initiatives among middle school students.”
In her YALS article, Pitts mentions that “the workforce is moving towards 21st Century skills set that prides itself on encouraging students to look at various career, vocational, and educational opportunities that may be available to them in their own backyard.” Although working in the Future Ready program would be a great opportunity for any library, there are still many things a library can do to help middle schoolers on their own. Part of Pitt’s article discusses how it is important to work with your community, and this is extremely important. Libraries can reach out to local businesses and provide a Career Day program specific for middle school preteens. Preteens could come to their local library and meet local business owners, and learn about their career pathways, and what they do at their job.
March was a month that kept me hopping. I really enjoyed meeting so many people in the community, and hearing their concerns and interests. I met this month with people from the economic development committee, school board, superintendent, our business owners who belong to the Main Street organization, a couple of teen groups, and some interested parents. I still have meetings lined up with the school librarian, PTO, and our state rep who has been working with our manufacturing locations on how to attract more employees.
As I’ve talked with other Future Ready with the Library cohort members, I’ve expressed some frustration with the tendency of people to associate libraries with early literacy exclusively, which is actually my LEAST successful service area. Because of the conversations I’ve had, I look forward to really turning up my advocacy and letting the entirety of the town know what we are up to in serving middle school youth, and other teens too. Part of this will involve taking the library outside the walls for programs. Continue reading
On Monday, March 20th, my library hosted our first College and Career Readiness programming roundtable event. Our goal was to find out what our community members feel the youth in our community need in order to be successful. We personally invited community members (including teachers, school administrators, school counselors, school board members, county commissioners and parents) to the meeting, we encouraged youth to attend and it was advertised on Facebook, at the school literacy night and through word of mouth. We had food – I ordered pizza and breadsticks and had water available. We only had five adults and two middle school students attend. It was definitely not the turnout I was looking for – I had a lot more people say they were coming than who actually came – but that is okay. I know the people who attended care, I know they had opinions that they wanted to share and I was there to listen.
I started with a brief discussion on what the Future Ready with the Library project is all about and what the library’s goals are as a part of that project. As each person walked in I gave them a copy of the pamphlet I created that provides information on the project. I also gave everyone an article from Forbes on the top 10 things employers are looking for in employees and an article on the seven skills students need to succeed. Then I opened the floor for open discussion to the public and what followed was a fantastic two hour discussion. Continue reading
One of my personal goals is to visit all 50 states before turning 30. After working every single day from January 2 through March 17 (thank you, second job), I took a week off to address this ambition. Off-beat road trips are my favorite–last summer I drove south along the Mississippi River until the road ended; in December, I followed an amazing secondary highway from Sterling, North Dakota down into Nebraska to visit Bailey Yard; this summer, I’ll be in Wyoming, camping in a fire tower–so of course I drove away on March 18 with goals of solo-hiking a very small stretch of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina (plus a bonus detour to South Carolina). I would be lying by omission if I didn’t say I was nervous: I spent my first mile of trail with pepper spray at-the-ready and came embarrassingly close to incapacitating a squirrel that ran out in front of me. But as this fear subsided, I soon found myself enjoying the risk of walking alone through an unfamiliar place. Continue reading