JRLYA Down Under!

Last summer, I had the extraordinary opportunity to co-direct a month-long University of Washington iSchool study abroad children’s literature course to New Zealand (also known by its Maori name, Aotearoa) and Australia with Michelle Martin. The course had an Indigenous focus – we met Maori and Aboriginal authors, publishers, librarians, storytellers, and more! Through this immersive experience, all of us — ten grad students, two undergrads, and the co-directors — developed a deep appreciation for the richness and breadth of the children’s literature scene Down Under. Needless to say, I was very happy to see Dr. Kasey Garrison’s JRLYA article, “What’s Going on Down Under? Part 1: Portrayals of Culture in Award-Winning Australian Young Adult Literature,” which brings more of these titles to the notice of readers in the US. You’ll find it in the March 2019 themed issue, “Movements That Affect Teens.”

Articles in JRLYA are wide-ranging in their concerns, and relevant to both practitioners and researchers. With this article, practitioners may focus more on the collection development implications. The two appendices work well for this purpose – librarians can see easily which themes (class, disability, gender, immigration, Indigenous Australians, language, the LGBTQIA community, race/ethnicity/nationality, and religion) may be found in each of the twenty-four book sample, and the article introduces readers to two major awards: the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year for Older Readers (chosen by adults) and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Gold Inky Award (selected by teens). Researchers may be as interested in the method – the article is a critical content analysis – as in the findings.

Looking at portrayals of culture in YA books is timely, considering the robust discussion around diverse books in this country, and the paper extends this important conversation beyond books first published in the US. I am looking forward to Part 2, in which Dr. Garrison will look at the implications of the relatively poor representation of Indigenous Australians in the sample.

Annette Y. Goldsmith
Member, JRYLA Advisory Board

You Don’t Want to Miss it

YALSA’s new five week e-course, Start at the End: Backwards Design for Library, Programming, starts on July 8, 2019. Over the past few days I’ve been previewing the course materials, designed by the instructor Casey Rawson, and I can easily say, you don’t want to miss this learning opportunity. You don’t have to take my word for it, check out this 5 minute video in which Casey talks about the course and you get to know her a little too.

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Learning with YALSA This Summer

drawing of hands raised The teens in your community might be out of school for the summer (or just about to get out of school) however, library staff never stop learning. That’s why YALSA has some great options for you to keep your learning going this summer. Here’s what’s on YALSA’s continuing education calendar for June, July, and August:

New E-Course

Start at the End: Backward Design for Library Programming
7/8/2019 – 8/11/2019

This new online course, taught by Casey Rawson, a Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, gives participants the chance think about what they would like their library activities for and with teens to achieve. Then with that in mind work backwards to determine what programs they might provide in order to reach that goal/impact. During the five week course participants will learn about the backwards design framework for planning. They will also have the chance to develop learning goals for their activities for and with teens and through those goals better articulate the value of the work that they do. You can learn more and register for this e-course on the YALSA website.
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YALSA Community Survey Results

Thank you very much to everyone, both members and non-members, who took the time to fill out YALSA’s Community Survey this past year. The results are in, have been analyzed and passed on to the board for their review. It was great to have so much valuable and thoughtful feedback on what you think is important about YALSA and how it addresses the diversity and inclusivity needs of the people it serves.

Almost a third of the survey participants were either somewhat unfamiliar or not at all familiar with YALSA’s recently updated Teen Services Competencies. Many respondents reported a lack of time or simply not being aware of them as reasons for not implementing or planning to implement the competencies. Others responded that they were not currently working with teens, so the competencies did not apply to them in their current position. The highest rated competency most respondents said they implemented or were working toward implementing was interactions with teens with 68 percent of responses. This was followed by equity of access at 48 percent and teen growth and development at 45 percent.

Survey participants were asked what they saw as the most important work of YALSA and its leadership in the teen services library field. The top three choices were advocacy with 25 percent of responses, equity, diversity and inclusion with 23 percent of responses, and continuing education with 22 percent of responses. Reading and other literacies followed not too far behind with 13 percent. When people were asked what they thought was the second most important work, answers continued to follow this pattern.

The survey also asked people about YALSA’s communication channels in terms of how much they are used and how they keep up with the latest news about YALSA and library/teen services. Most of the responses indicated that people obtain the latest news from YALSA’s website and YALSA E-news with each choice being ranked first by 25 percent of responders. People said they also got their news from other YALSA emails and listservs and their colleagues and friends.

More than half of respondents, totaling 64 percent, were not familiar with YALSA’s updated Intended Impact Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  But when directly asked, about a third of people stated that increasing diversity in YALSA is the most important item on a scale of one to ten. Many different reasons were given for this, which included needing to be more diverse, wanting to reflect the communities they serve, and the importance of having different perspectives.

Some of the other general takeaways from the survey is that many respondents think YALSA is useful and has an important purpose, but the cost is prohibitive for many people. Many participants expressed concerns about the membership price, especially when attached to the cost of ALA membership and whether the benefits of membership were really worth the money. Other respondents felt YALSA mostly caters to public libraries and is not particularly inclusive for school librarians, small, rural libraries, special libraries, certain ethnic groups, demographics and sexual orientations. Some of the suggested solutions to address these issues included hiring more diverse people within the field, offering more conference discounts and grants, academic scholarships and free or discounted memberships, especially to diverse people. Cost was frequently mentioned as a barrier to diversity within the organization.

About 62 percent of survey participants hold a current membership in YALSA. Most of the survey respondents work in a public library, 82 percent are white/Caucasian, most do not speak another language, 88 percent are female, 69 percent are heterosexual, and 84 percent do not have a disability. Survey participants frequently referred to themselves as members of the majority and did not feel they were the right people to answer some of these questions.

The survey received a total of 436 responses.

This post was submitted by Rebecca Leonhard and Kimberly Kinnaird.

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff Webinar: Outcomes and Assessment

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffEach month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The November webinar (the full video recording is available after the break) on the topic of Outcomes & Assessment. The session featured two speakers, Samantha Lopez who discussed the Public Library Association’s Project Outcome initiative and Jason Gonzales from the Muskogee Public Library (OK) who discussed the value of logic models when developing outcomes and assessments.
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Teen Summer Volunteers: Wrapping Up

Wrapping Up

Summer Reading is officially over (at least for our library). The numbers are in, the prizes are gone, and the time has come to reflect on how things went. For the Teen Volunteer Program, this means looking at quantitative and qualitative data and coming up with a way to evaluate how it went.

We collected a few different kinds of information to help us evaluate the program. First, we kept track of how much each teen volunteered and the number of missed shifts. This quantitative data lets us make certain claims with confidence:

  • We only had three no-call no-shows, which was just under 1% of all scheduled shifts.
  • Teens showed up for a total of 298 volunteer shifts throughout the summer.
  • On average, five teen volunteers helped us each day.
  • Teens volunteered at the library for over 1,100 hours this summer.
  • At least one teen volunteered for 100+ hours this summer, qualifying her for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (check this out if you are looking for a way to recognize exceptionally dedicated volunteers).

Feedback from the teens suggests that using an online calendar (we used a Google Calendar) for scheduling was successful. We also emailed them regularly and made sure that they felt comfortable letting us know if they couldn’t make it in for a shift. Teens were never punished or treated differently if they couldn’t make a shift — volunteering, for all its similarities to a job, isn’t a job.

Towards the end of the program, we collected qualitative feedback using exit surveys. The teens’ responses were anonymous, and all answers were ‘long-form.’ (See the survey.) We gave these to the teens during the last two weeks of Summer Reading. In retrospect, it would be a good idea to have a midsummer survey ready. Only giving the survey at the end of the summer missed the teens who had to stop volunteering before then. We still emailed the survey to all of them, but only a few responded.

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Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: A Progressive Library?

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffA colleague and I recently had a debate. She said she thought a specific library was progressive and I disagreed. Why? Because as I see it the library she was talking about isn’t progressive as a system. There are a couple of staff that manage programs that are certainly progressive, but the library overall, not so much.

I think this distinction is important to consider. Think about it, if we want teen services to be future and teens first focused – as defined by YALSA in recent reports, blog posts, and books – then we can’t simply assume that if a library has a few good programs led by awesome people that the whole institution is progressive, future focused, and teens first focused. Thinking about this I asked my colleague, “What happens if the people facilitating the progressive activities leave the library system? Would the library still be progressive in your mind?”
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Presidential Theme for 2018-2019

It is energizing to begin my presidential work by building on the work of past-president Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s presidential theme and to collaborate with other division presidents’ creating presidential themes that compliment each other.

I have chosen Supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through Outcomes and Assessment as my presidential theme for 2018-2019. This theme furthers YALSA’s work of supporting library staff who serve teens in several ways. It highlights the need for a paradigm shift highlighted in YALSA’s Future’s Report that indicates the importance assessing programs for outcomes and not attendance. As well as, creating assessments that answer larger questions about teens interaction with your programming other than did they like it. This theme also supports the infographic Reimagined Library Services for and with Teens, which highlight the types of outcomes that can have impact on teens lives, and will help you figure out how to measure those outcomes. The theme also speaks directly to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, which includes assessment as part of Content Areas 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10. All of this speaks to the needs of members who are looking for guidance on impactful outcomes and assessment, and moves YALSA closer to reaching the goals it laid out in its implementation plan.
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Research on Competency Content Area 9: Outcomes and Assessments

Authored by the YALSA Research Committee

Throughout the current term, the YALSA Research Committee will be looking at Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the lens of research.  Through our posts, we will attempt to provide a brief snapshot of how scholarship currently addresses some of the issues put forth through the standards.

Researching outcomes, libraries, and assessments, the research committee narrowed the research results to three relatively recent studies on outcomes and assessments. The first study examines advantages and disadvantages for end of programs assessments (EPA’s) for LIS master programs utilizing a survey. In the second report the research committee will highlight a case study of a LIS distant learning program with an outcome of over 90% graduation rate and what their assessments look like. The third report looks at a review of recent research of school libraries and the importance of using evidence for successful student outcomes.

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New President’s Theme Implementation Taskforce

This year the Division Presidents are aligning their theme and all will focus on different aspects of EDI that speak to their Division. My Presidential theme will focus on supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) through assessment and outcomes by identifying, overseeing planning, and implementing activities. The theme will build on the ground work laid by the Advancing Diversity Taskforce and Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s Presidential Theme promoting youth advocacy. It also speaks to the needs of members who are looking for guidance on impactful outcomes and assessment, and moves YALSA closer to reaching the goals it laid out in its implementation plan. It is an ambitious plan, but has potential for impact.

The Taskforce will last for a year tackling a variety of activities throughout. Activities will include:

Advocacy & Activism

  • Incorporate the theme into summer learning, Teen Read Week™ and Teen Tech Week™
  • Create position and/or issue papers on the theme

Leading the Transformation of Teen Services
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