YALS – Libraries and Learning: A Resource Guide for “Make, Do, Share”

cover of spring yalsYou should have already or will soon be receiving your Spring 2016 edition of YALS. The topic of the issue is Libraries and Learning. All the articles are excellent but the one that stood out to me was the featured interview with Shannon Peterson, the Youth Services Manager for the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library (KRL). The library received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for their program Make, Do, Share: Sustainable STEM Leadership in a Box.

One of the great things about this interview is that not only did we learn the context of this project (it began with a project called BiblioTEC, sponsored through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation) but also heard about how Shannon and her staff frame the work they are doing. Many times in public libraries, we are so focused on helping our community, we don’t think about the reasoning behind our behaviors. These behaviors and the programming we create can be influenced by the theory we read and the theory we believe grounds our work as librarians. Shannon’s interview was full of all the things she and KRL was thinking of as they created the Make, Do, Share programming.
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Instagram of the Week – March 28

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

While library Instagram feeds share images of programs in action, memes that make you chuckle, smiling library staff members, and striking images of the building and grounds, the majority of posts are focused on books. Whether it be new books that just arrived, a fresh book display, pets posing with books, or book recommendations (to name a few!), libraries are finding ways to showcase materials to patrons. Recently, I’ve found that many libraries are tagging authors, illustrators, and publishers in the comments section of the post or in the image itself. At first glance this may seem commonplace given the constant sharing and tagging that goes on within the platform, but in light of the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report and YALSA’s Social Networking Toolkit, the action has an important impact.

The Futures report explains that today’s library staff have the tools to meet teens where they are and must help them develop multiple literacies that extend beyond the library’s physical space. Listed in the report are seven ways that we can help teens gain media literacy skills as presented by Renee Hobbs at the Summit on the Future of Library Services and Teens. As suggested by the list, getting teens to think about how they interact with media can help them analyze what they consume and make good choices with regard to what they listen to, read, and watch. Library staff can help teens research personal interests and gain skills that will help them analyze and interpret messages, create content, as well as share ideas and represent themselves in the future. In terms of social media specifically, the Social Networking Toolkit states that the act of creating a social media profile, writing content and comments, and editing content develops reading and writing skills. Learning how to use social media tools in a safe environment will allow teens to develop boundaries and expectations when using social platforms, demonstrate a commitment to learning, feel empowered, and see library staff and teachers as positive role models for navigating social media. The Social Networking Toolkit provides an example in which a teen follows an author’s blog or Twitter feed as the author reflects on his or her writing and reading experience. The student can then use the author’s social media account as both a platform for research and a way to communicate with the author.

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Create it at Your Library: Preparing for Teen Tech Week 2016

Teen Tech Week is YALSA’s yearly initiative encouraging libraries to engage their teen community with resources that enhance their digital literacy skills. During March 6-12, libraries across the country will be buzzing with tech programs, STEM activities, and will be showcasing their digital resources with pride. Not only does this week in March allow us to engage teens with exciting opportunities, but it also gives libraries the ability to demonstrate their incredible value to the larger community. As library staff, we understand how imperative it is that our teens enter college and the workforce with skills that will allow them to hit the ground running. For some, this is an exciting task that they feel well equipped to tackle. For others, it’s a struggle; budgets are tight and technology can be pricey. However, no matter what the technological climate is in your community, there are a myriad of ways to prepare for Teen Tech Week that don’t involve dumping loads of cash into a new 3D printer. With the help of some great resources and inspiration, you’ll be well on your way to hosting the best Teen Tech Week ever.

Taking incremental steps is the best way to begin your preparation. Head over to YALSA’s Teen Tech Week site and register for a free account to access all of the resources that are available to new members. Under the “Resources” tab, you’ll find toolkits that will help you advocate for teens and technology, develop programs and activities, and publicize this exciting week in your library. As you explore the site, you’ll be ready to integrate the maker mindset into your programs and services. Use the Easy Advocacy toolkit to get your administration on board and word out to local policy makers and community leaders. Understanding the importance of this initiative will ensure their support and help you out in the long run.

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Coming soon to a library near you: Digital Learning Day 2016

Digital Learning Day is right around the corner (Wednesday, February 17th to be exact). I’m sure there are already some librarians primed and ready for this day while others are reading this post wondering…

“What is Digital Learning Day?”

Digital learning, more generally, is about utilizing digital tools to help teach and strengthen a student’s learning experience. In a time when digital learning (and various digital tools) seems to be a popular trend, it’s important that the people who are using this technology are sharing their experiences with others.

Equity_RafranzThis day is also tied into the idea of digital equity. We keep working towards providing digital opportunities for every student and perhaps these are days when we can reflect on who we reach and keep thinking about how we can reach even more.

The day was started in 2012 to allow conversations to happen between teachers, educators, professionals, and librarians about the digital learning they are doing in their communities. It’s about showcasing innovations, sharing stories, and helping everyone see the impacts digital learning can have.

Digital Learning Day is sponsored through the Alliance for Excellent Education. At the Digital Learning Day website, they have a resource page, blog posts by educators using technology with their students, and graphics you could use to promote the day in your community!

Think about this day as not only a celebration of digital learning, but more importantly as a day and time to make connections and think about collaborations for future projects. If you are going to have an activity on the day, make sure to register your event! And if you’re not hosting an event, make sure to check out the resources or follow the hashtag #DLDay for updates and activities.

Is anyone participating in the day and if so, what are you doing?

Digital Literacy with Digital Sketchpads

What will the Covina Public Library be doing for Teen Tech Week? We will be hosting two active participation events and one passive activity in promotion of Teen Tech Week. The first activity will include hosting a Digital Literacy Day, providing a tutoring session focused on Google images, skills in Microsoft Word, and tutoring on the use of a digital sketchpad tablet. This activity will teach digital literacy skills directly related to success in school.

The second activity will spawn from the Digital Literacy Day in which teens more timid or unable to visit the group tutoring session via the Digital Literacy Day will have the opportunity to make one-on-one appointments during Teen Tech Week. During the appointments teens will be given tutorials one-on-one and will be based on the topics presented on Digital Literacy Day. In addition, teens will have the opportunity to be tutored on subjects specific to their needs. For example, teens will learn the basics of photo editing.

The final activity will be passive where reading resources may be checked out from a book display. Resources purchased through the grant and items from the library’s collection will be displayed to encourage digital literacy in a passive form. To prepare for this activity, all books will be selected from the collection and the grant and will be labeled “Teen Tech Week.” When teens check out any labeled item, their name will be placed in a drawing and a name will be selected for a chance to win a prize.

All activities will be presented in an effort to promote community and connected learning geared towards this age group. Through participation, teens will qualify for prizes including gift cards and resources that promote digital literacy. Random drawings will also take place from checking out digital literacy books, attending the tutorial sessions, and attending the Digital Literacy Day event.

We believe the most vital measurements of success include connected learning and skills building exercises, resulting in using knowledge hands-on. For Teen Tech Week, this means the library will purchase digital sketchpad tablets for each teen computer station and tutor teens on their use. By providing access to essential resources, this will enable teens to be empowered. In addition to providing connected learning, the digital sketchpad tablets will encourage teens to be passionate thinkers and idea makers. For instance, converting drawings to the computer for manipulation encourages creativity and mechanical thought processes. All this will be done in an effort to encourage teens to learn and have fun with learning new technologies so that they can become lifelong learners and be successful in school and life.

Covina Public Library is nestled just 25 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley. We serve many low income families and seniors and promote the library as a family library. As a community center, Covina Public Library endeavors to make a difference in the community by being a Family Place Library, providing story times, crafts, movie days, tutoring for all ages, and seasonal events and activities.