It all started with a grant received by McKinley Elementary, a Title 1, Tulsa Public School, in Oklahoma. The idea was to pull our neighborhood young adults and recent McKinley Elementary graduates in and keep them reading throughout the summer, thus preventing the “summer slide!”
The unfortunate reality of the situation, in retrospect, was that we really had no way to reach these kids. We had a marquee, which advertised the school’s “Summer Cafe,” support and our volunteer based summer camps for our school’s youngest students and we had a telephone. We enthusiastically approached the all call, reaching out to our 5th and 6th graders, but the result was negligible, at best. In addition,if the young adults wanted breakfast, I’m certain they slept right through it and likely lunch as well.
The positive to all of this was that Jennifer Latham, a local Tulsa writer, but not a lifelong Tulsan, had a recently released young adult out, entitled “Dreamland Burning.” The book was a fictionalized account of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. The young adult novel, published by Little Brown was not only engrossing, but it was assigned to the 9th graders at Tulsa Public School’s leading high school, Booker T. Washington, which was actually in the novel.
Thanks to YALSA and The General Dollar Literacy Foundation English, fifty students were able to increase their ability to read, develop an interest in books, and become more comfortable using school library services. As a high school librarian and the recipient of a Summer Learning Resources Grant, I created a summer program that would provide funds for students to select books THEY WANTED to read as part of a field trip experience to the local bookstore. Looking online or through catalogs to select a book does not get the student as involved as actually seeing, touching, smelling and perusing thousands of books—that is a much more engaging experience for developing booklovers! Also, witnessing other bibliophiles outside the school in the real world provides students with a new and refreshing perspective on reading, the love of books, information and the freedom to choose.
Our school is fortunate to have a store within walking distance of our school, and the field trip took place on a beautiful, sunny day which only increased the pleasure and privilege of the experience for the students. Participants are English Language Learners (ELL) who come from families facing language and socio-economic challenges. Many do not have the resources or family support to purchase books for reading other than what is provided by the school. As grant facilitator, I was able to build relationships with the students, and draw them into the library, building their confidence in not only reading, but utilizing the library space and resources as a beneficial support system for future academic success. Collaboration with ELL teachers provided additional supervision, support and enthusiasm for the project, as well as encouraged future use of library services for their students. Since the students reviewed and donated their book back to the library, it increased the library collection with high-interest student selected books. Additionally, the grant provided funds to purchase culturally relevant lit circle books for reading and discussion that the students look forward to reading next. Here is a simplified project itinerary: Continue reading
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.
Serving on the Teen Read Week committee has given its members the opportunity to read numerous applications submitted for the TRW mini-grants. This valuable experience has provided us with handy tips to improve our own future grant writing endeavors, and we wish to share our insights with you for the purpose of strengthening your own 2017 YALSA/Dollar General Teen Read Week Grant application.
First, align your concept with YALSA’s Teen Read Week theme “Unleash Your Story”. Be sure to demonstrate how the funds will support teens as they write, tell, and share their own stories. Will the grant help connect teens with the numerous stories, biographies, autobiographies, and folktales in your library? If not, what purpose will it serve? Refresh yourself with The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action to ensure or adjust your proposal to better align with it.
Be sure your purchases meet the grant requirements. Funds must be used to enhance activities and services for teens. Seek alternate funding in your community to purchase snacks, decor, or signage for the event. Be specific in your application about your purchases, as the grant reviewers will want a complete breakdown of fund allotments. Explore other YALSA grants, such as Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant or YALSA’s Great Books Giveaway, for the purchase of collection development materials.
Consider your community. Gather statistics from credible sources like the United Census Bureau or your state’s Department of Education. Use the data to illustrate the need the grant funded program will fill for your teens. Include under-served teens in your idea as well. How many teens live locally? What are their interests? Contact a local local organization and partner up on the project. A clear narrative of your activity must be provided. Explain your vision and define your purpose. Break down the steps of preparation and implementation. Incorporate best practices as outlined in YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines. Perhaps most important is to know and communicate the knowledge or skills teen participants will gain by participating in your event or activity.
Wrapping up and evaluating your program is as important as the preparation for it. Determine which indicator is most appropriate to measure the impact of your project. Will you ask teens to complete a survey? Are you going to take attendance? Will teens be required to successfully complete a task? Will you tally return visits or circulation increases? Providing examples or briefly describing your method for measuring the impact of your program will show that you know your teen patrons and understand how a grant-funded program will serve them.
You can find other well-thought out TRW mini-grant award recipients on the YALSA Programming HQ. Check out a few examples of successful past grant awardees, such as those listed below, to compare and improve your proposal.
Co-written by Amanda Barnhart (2016-2017 Teen Read Week chair), Aimee Haslam (2016-2017 Teen Read Week committee member) and Melissa West (2016-2017 Teen Read Week committee chair and 2017 Emerging Leader).
In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now
to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) D.C .Vito describes how media literacy can be used to combat youth extremism. His article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:
France Robles, (2015, June 20) “Dylann Roof Photos and a Manifesto Are Posted on Website” New York Times.
Jon Anderson (2015, April 20) “Hoover woman joins ISIS: Meet Hoda Muthana who fled U.S. to Syria” Alabama Media Group.
UNESCO “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together“.
In the Spring 2017 issue of YALS (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website), Audrey Hopkins describes the connections between literacy and advocacy. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:
Bluestone, M. (2015, June 10). U.S. Publishing Industry’s Annual Survey Reveals $28 Billion in Revenue in 2014. Retrieved from http://publishers.org/news/us-publishing-industry%E2%80%99s-annual-survey-reveals-28-billion-revenue-201
Lee, S.A. (2014, May 5). Beyond Books, Nooks, and Dirty Looks: The History and Evolution of library Services to Teens in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/2014/05/beyond-books-nooks-and-dirty-looks-the-history-and-evolution-of-library-services-to-teens-in-the-united-states/
Strickland, A. (2015, April 15). A brief history of young adult literature. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/15/living/young-adult-fiction-evolution/
This post is an invitation to check the Research Roundup column in the Spring issue of YALS. The column focuses on advocacy, activism and technology and provides a short overview on three resources and some ideas about how you might integrate the findings and recommendations into your work with youth.
Although I wrote the print column back in January, the column’s topic could not be more relevant. As I have been re-writing this post, both ALA and YALSA’s efforts to create awareness and action about the cuts in funding reveal the different forms that advocacy takes as well as its importance for libraries. At the same time, Congress decided not to pass a set of rules that would give consumers more control over what happens to the data regularly collected by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While the exact consequences of this decision are not yet clear, this setback highlights the many challenges related to internet privacy. Coincidently, also in January, esteemed colleague Dr. Chelton published a Position Paper for YALSA on the protection of teens’ privacy from government surveillance. The paper examined the potential threats of a set of FBI guidelines that recommend the surveillance of Internet use by at-risk students in secondary schools in connection with recruitment by terrorist organizations. Among her suggestions, I would like to highlight the following two:
- Take advantage of technology that protects library patrons’ privacy
- Identify and work with community partners who are also committed to protecting teens’ rights
These two suggestions are directly connected to this month’s Research Roundup column and the two projects and the researcher that I invited teen librarians to explore. The two projects I discuss offer a manageable starting point for information professionals; easy for newbies and for those already involved in this type of tech-focused advocacy. Hopefully they will also strengthen teen librarians’ knowledge about privacy protection and data surveillance issues to feel more comfortable creating events and activities for and with teens about these topics.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and a lot can be shared with teens about the negative side effects underage drinking can have on youths. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol usage by youths “is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex, and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction.” The NCADD also shares that “more than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions more people – parents, family members, friends, and neighbors.” Research has shown that teens who have open conversations with their parents about alcohol and drugs are 50% less likely to use versus teens who do not have these conversations with their parents. These statistics alone are proof enough that parents, as well as educators, librarians, etc. should be bringing these conversations and issues to light.
Although the idea of teens using alcohol and drugs is daunting, there are a lot of ways that librarians can bring facts and information to their teen customers. Sometimes teens don’t want to listen to what their parents have to say, but librarians can do a lot to get these facts out. One thing librarians could do is to have a teen council, or program, where the idea of alcohol awareness is shared. Librarians can even present a quiz the NCADD developed for teens to see if they have alcohol issues. The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens) has a few free, online games that explore what happens to the brain and body when drugs and alcohol are used.
Last Monday, I talked about the benefits of a middle school collection in a public library, and how we chose a name, chose a collection size, and gathered feedback for my Library’s new Middle Ground. Our next steps were to get into the specifics of what exactly belonged in the Middle Ground versus the Juvenile and Young Adult Collections.
As I said in my last post, the way you structure and build your collection is going to depend on your community. I’m providing an account of how I did it as an example, to give you some things to think about while creating your own collection. For more guidance, check out YALSA’s Collections and Content Curation wiki page.
We learned through surveying that many of our middle school patrons were interested in nonfiction and graphic novels. Nonfiction and graphic titles tend to appeal to a wider age range of readers than fiction. In Middle Ground Fiction we were collecting books that spoke directly to middle schoolers, but such books are few in nonfiction and graphic novels. We wanted to include these collections in the Middle Ground, but chose to tweak the rules a bit for them.
A year and a half ago, I was tasked with creating a collection of reading materials aimed at middle schoolers for my public library. These types of collections—sometimes called junior high or tween collections—are becoming more popular in response to growing demand from patrons, but creating them poses some unique challenges. In my next two blog posts, I’ll share some information on my Library’s process: we did, why we did it, what we learned, what, and how you might begin your own process of creating such a collection. This can only serve as a guideline. You will need to develop your own methods to build a collection that meets the specific needs of your community.
In this post, I will discuss reasons for having a middle school collection in the public library and first steps to creating one. The next post will be about selection guidelines for the collection, and how to use those selection guidelines.
I will use the term “middle school collection” to refer to any collection designed to serve readers in the range of ages 10-14.
This is my library’s Middle Ground collection as it currently appears. We are working on expanding it to some additional shelving.