How CIPA Affects the Future of Libraries and Teens

275690-teen-computer At the end of July the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) teamed up to host a conversation on Revisiting the Children’s Internet Protection Act: 10 Years Later. This symposium, funded by Google, brought together thirty five experts from within and outside of the library community to discuss the long-term impact of implementing CIPA. The associated Twitter conversation that can be viewed with the hashtag: #CIPA_ALA2013.

Both Part I and Part II are archived on YouTube, and they’re definitely relevant for both public and school librarians in working with youth today.

For example:

• The efficacy/success rates for most filters (shown repeatedly in study after study) is 80% and less than 50% for image/video filters.

• Both filters in public libraries and school libraries block far beyond what CIPA requires (i.e. certain topics such as GLBTQ is one example of a frequent “overblock”)

• Getting around filters can be extraordinarily easy for patrons (misspelling words for example).

• CIPA doesn’t require filtering of social media, yet sites such as YouTube, FaceBook, and Google docs are often blocked.

So, how CIPA is contributing towards a digitally literate society? First, look at what exactly CIPA is… Continue reading

ALA Council at 2013 Annual and Youth Issues

ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

In January, I posted about Council decisions related to youth issues after Midwinter.

A brief summary of issues with implications for the youth we serve that were taken up by Council at the most recent conference can be found below:

  • Council adopted a resolution (CD#37) Reaffirming ALA’s Commitment to Basic Literacy. While there was discussion disputing the need for such a resolution as well as the perceived implication that one literacy was being privileged over another, the majority passed a statement of support. This resolution can serve as a reminder that literacy is a core service all libraries support and is essential in helping teens become productive adults. Continue reading

Advocacy Spotlight – Teen Trips

In March 2013, staff members of the Youth Services department at the Kansas City Public Library took a group of teens on a field trip to the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City.  This trip was just one of many that have come from a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Center (Kansas City, MO).  Not only are teens able to expand their knowledge of places in the Missouri area, but they are getting an opportunity to see different things that may affect their lives.  Teens are experiencing a host of activities that are enriching, educational, and fun.  The impact of these trips is obvious to us as librarians – we are hoping to create lifelong learners.  To those outside of our profession, we must advocate for teens, libraries, and the magical experiences in between.

Crystal Faris, the Director of Teen Services at the Kansas City Public Library, took the time to answer a few questions about the teen trips and the effect on teen programming at the library.

Continue reading

February President’s Report

What in the world have I been up to lately? It’s all here.

Key Activities:

Worked with the Board to appoint the fabulous Carla Land as the 2013-14 YALSA Board Fellow. We are thrilled to have her as part of the team!

Worked with the Board to appoint Pam Spencer Holley to fill the vacant position of Fiscal Officer. Pam will be working closely with the Board, the Executive Committee and the FInancial Advancement Committee Chair to help YALSA members and the public better understand YALSA’s finances. Thank you, Pam!

Had an inspiring, eye-opening, amazing time at the Summit on Teens & Libraries. We learned about teens, technology, Connected Learning and so much more. Save the date for March 19 so you can participate in the first virtual town hall on leveraging partnerships between libraries and other organizations: www.ala.org/yaforum & on Twitter: #yalsaforum.
Continue reading

New Canaan High School Leading the Way for Library Advocacy with Michelle Luhtala

I had a chance to speak with Michelle Luhtala, department chair of New Canaan (CT) High School Library, late last year about her students winning the American Library Association’s teen video Contest, “Why I NEED My Library!” in 2011. After learning that the American Library Association was sponsoring the teen video contest, “Why I NEED My Library!” , Michelle Luhtala, school librarian at New Canaan High School (CT) sent the information to a group of students interested in videography.  She let the students ponder the idea of the contest and they did the rest… ultimately winning the top prize of $3,000.00 cash.  The focus of the video was the library and the services offered.  Michele said the $3,000.00 cash prize was a huge incentive for the students.

Even thought they did not get to keep the money for themselves, the students did get to decide how to spend the money for the benefit of the school library, a way to leave their legacy.  Ultimately, 5 iPads were purchased for the school.  Each iPad is individually engraved with the student’s name and has its own cover which represents each of the award winning students.  Since receiving the iPads, Michelle said that many students come to the desk requesting to check out “The TIM” or “The Nick” iPad.

Continue reading

ALA Council at Midwinter 2013 and Youth Issues

8430121091_c719b48483ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

I’m an ‘at-large’ Councilor, which means I’m not representing a particular state, ALA division, or roundtable like some other Councilors do. For example, all divisions (like the youth ones, ALSC, AASL, and YALSA) have an ALA Council representative. There’s also an Executive Board and Council Officers as well. While the structure of Council might sound complicated and can be at times, every Councilor there has an important role.

Though not every issue Council discussed at Midwinter had to do with our service population, I have briefly summarized those issues which did apply below:

Continue reading

Advocacy Spotlight-Karen Jensen

Karen JensenHow did you become involved with libraries?

As an undergraudate student, I was referred to the local public library – The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County in Ohio – for a job listing. The rest is, as they say, history. I became their Young Adult Services Assistant, and I had no idea what I was doing. But I loved it and worked hard to learn, eventually getting my MLS from Kent State University in 2002.

How long have you worked or supported libraries?  

I have worked in public libraries for 19 years now, always working as a young adult librarian and either youth services or adult services. I have worked in 4 different libraries, each having a different structure, size, and level of funding. Leaving my last library and my teens at Marion Public Library was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but the economy hit Ohio hard and my husband found employment in Texas so we moved. I now work part-time at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie. And the only thing I can say that I have loved about the move is how it lead me to start my advocacy project, Teen Librarian Toolbox, and how it has resulted in my growing so much as both a librarian and an advocate.
Continue reading

November President’s Report!

November President’s Report:

Key Activities:

Attended the 2012 YA Lit Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri and had a blast meeting all of the amazing attendees and authors! I’m really looking forward to 2014’s event, October 31-November 2 in Austin, Texas!

Worked closely with the YALSA Office, Linda Braun and the Forum Advisory Council to hone the details for the upcoming National Forum on Libraries and Teens summit in Seattle this January. Thanks to all of our members who applied! Learn more at www/ala.org/yaforum.

Participated in Giving Tuesday, a special after-Thanksgiving national fundraising effort to help YALSA build support for our Spectrum Scholarship.

Worked with the YALSA office to develop a new training module for Selection Committee Chairs. I’m looking forward to chatting with chairs and committee members on December 6 and 13!

Chaired the November board conference call. It was great hearing about all of the exciting work that YALSA’s committees, juries and taskforces are doing. Minutes will be posted in the governance section of the website.

Worked with the Executive Committee to review applications for the YALSAblog Member Manager position and set up phone interviews.
Continue reading

National Library Legislative Day: An interview with Heather Gruenthal

Interview with Heather Gruenthal, recipient of the Friends of YALSA (FOY) scholarship to attend National Library Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.

By Gregory Lum

I had the pleasure to visit with Heather at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim.  Both Heather and I served on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection committee in 2011.
GL: Tell me a little bit about where you work and what your focus is?
HG: I have been a Teacher Librarian in the Anaheim Union High School District in Anaheim, California for twelve years.  We are a high school district, so I have been exclusively serving teens in grades 7-12. My main focus in working with teens is to get them to read, particularly the teens who are considered “at risk” and are placed in intervention classes.  Many teens do not read because they can’t find anything interesting, and when they don’t practice reading for enjoyment they find it much more difficult to tackle their academic reading.  Using YALSA’s selection lists, particularly Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers has helped me find books for teens with a wide variety of interests.  My co-teachers have remarked on how much their students’ reading habits and abilities improved because they were actually reading something that was interesting to them.  Students who couldn’t be forced to read more than 5 minutes at the beginning of the semester were suddenly begging for more time to read.  Some students even confessed that they had never read a book all the way through to the end until that year.  These kinds of interactions are what make my job worthwhile.
Continue reading

Why Teens Need Libraries

If you have a passion for serving teens, advocate for them! District Days is an excellent opportunity to speak directly to legislators and maybe even include your teens in the conversation.

There are many reasons to serve teens at your library, including that you may thoroughly enjoy reading young adult literature and helping teens find a book they might like as well.  Did you know that the impact of libraries on teenagers reaches farther than we could ever imagine?  Take into account some of the following statistics:

  • 25% of all public high school students fail to graduate on time
  • 34 million American between ages 6 and 17 are not receiving sufficient developmental resources
  • 74% of U.S.eighth-graders read below the proficient level

Libraries are vital but challenged sources of support for the growing youth population in the United States. Census data shows that in 2010 there were over 42 million young people aged 10 -19 (comprising 13.6% of the population) in the US.   In 2010, half of the nation’s 14 – 18 year olds reported visiting a library to use a computer.  The Opportunity for All study  reported that youth ages 14-24 make up 25% of all library users, which makes them the largest group in the study, and that youth were drawn to libraries to use computers, receive help with homework, socialize, and participate in programming.   Similarly, school libraries are available to about 62% of youth enrolled in public schools  and youth turn to their school libraries for recreational reading, learning support, and technology access.  However, critical library resources are endangered by widespread economic impacts on public and school libraries, as noted in the State of America’s Libraries Report 2012 .  The 2012 PLA PLDS Statistical Report indicates that just 33% of public libraries have at least one full time staff person dedicated to teen services (down a startling 18% from five years ago).

Teens are likely to suffer most in the absence of library services, yet libraries are key to supporting teens’ learning and development.  The impact of library services and programming is astounding: students that are involved in library programs and have a library available to them with extended hours score higher on ACT English andReadingtests than those who don’t.

We also have the opportunity to give teens not only positive reinforcement, but a visible role model who enjoys the pursuit of leisure reading.  Other than the educational setting, many teens may not have a person in his or her life who noticeably appreciates the written word.  You could be having an impact on a teenager without even realizing it.  Isn’t that worth just a little extra effort now and then?

What can you do?  At the local level, you could become a Friend of your Library or start a Friends group, volunteer at your local library, sponsor or support legislation that helps libraries, or serve on your library’s board of Trustees.   You can participate in National Library Legislative Day, District Days and other advocacy activities sponsored by ALA and YALSA.  Check out the advocacy resources on YALSA’s web site for more information.

Do teens need libraries?  Of course they do.  Keep these statistics in mind when talking to friends, colleagues, and administrators.  This is why YOU need to participate in District Days!

Information used in this post was gathered from the YALSA Brochure “Teens Need Libraries.”

Megan Garrett
Legislative Committee