Putting Teens First in Library Services: An Interview with Mega Subramaniam

Shannon Peterson and Linda Braun talk with Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. Mega discusses the Youth Experience certificate program, what it’s all about, and how to apply for the next cohort.

Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap is available for purchase in the ALA store.

Basic Leadership Skills: A New YALSA E-Course

In 2018 – 2019 YALSA will offer a series of leadership e-courses, to help library staff advance their leadership skills, regardless of job type or level.

Leadership is made up of multiple layers. In fact, in 2017, the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries project released the Layers of Leadership framework. The framework lays out six layers to consider in order to develop leadership skills and take on an active role as a leader in an organization – local, state, regional, national. In YALSA’s e-learning series, each area of the framework will be explored.

In the first course (scheduled for 1/22/18-2/18/18), Basic Leadership Skills, Josie Watanabe will facilitate learning related to the first two layers of the Nexus Framework: Leading Self and Leading Others. Learn more about what Josie is planning for this course in this 9 minute video.

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An Interview with Sean Gilmartin, Dorothy Broderick Scholarship Recipient

Claire Moore, from YALSA’s Leadership Initiatives Fundraising Taskforce recently interviewed Sean Gilmartin.  He was the 2017 recipient of the Dorothy Broderick Student Scholarship, which is funded through YALSA’s Leadership Endowment.  The taskforce’s goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of January 2018 to grow the endowment so that there’s enough interest to fund other leadership initiatives, like scholarships for a leadership e-course series that’s coming in 2018.  So far, the taskforce has raised approximately $12,500.  Any donation made now through Jan. 15th will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA.  Please consider making a gift–any size helps, and ALA will double your impact!

Dorothy Broderick Student Scholarship Recipient

Sean Gilmartin, Teen Services Librarian at Elmwood Park Public Library

How long have you been a YALSA member?

2 years

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Teen Services Competencies: An Opportunity

Last week YALSA published the newest edition of Teen Service Competencies for Library Staff. The introduction to the document states:

YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth was frst published in 1981 and last updated in 2010. Since that time the role libraries play in teen lives has gone through a paradigm shift, wherein library staff have been called upon to take a co-learner role in facilitating teen learning that is hands-on and interest-based.

As a result of the paradigm shift mentioned in the introduction, the Competencies are entirely new. Categories, used in the past to organize the skill areas that library staff need so to work for and with teens successfully, are completely re-envisioned. This re-envisioning is set within the context of the work YALSA has done over the past several years including the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report and the association’s research agenda.
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Research on Competency Content Area 1: Teen Growth and Development

Authored by the YALSA Research Committee

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

Our first post focuses on Content Area 1: Teen Growth and Development, which is generally described as,  “Knows the typical benchmarks for growth and development and uses this knowledge to provide library resources, programs, and services that meet the multiple needs of teens.” This standard includes different facets of teen development, cultures, media, and preparing patrons to transition into adulthood and how each of these themes apply to collections, programs, and services.  For this post, we’ll focus solely on aspects of teen development in research about youth library services.

Walter (2009) described “The Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development Project” which described a specific set of developmental outcomes that occur when teens successfully transition to adulthood.  The author further unpacked each outcome and examined how certain youth programs addressed the needs of youth to meet those outcomes through a youth employment program, which engaged teens in meaningful library work that allowed them to understand how their work impacted their community.   Akiv and Petrokubit (2016) examined the impact of the approach of youth-adult partnerships (Y-AP) in youth library programs.  The Y-AP approach suggests that youth and adults will collaboratively make programmatic and organization decisions.  The researchers found that giving teens the progressive responsibility that may help them prepare for adulthood.  Acknowledging the diverse needs of urban youth, Derr and Rhodes (2010) described how the development of an urban youth library space that meets these diverse needs can foster a continued engagement in library services as youth transition to adulthood.  Williams and Edwards (2011) examined how public library spaces can help sustain the psychological development of teens living in urban spaces.  They noted the conflict that often occurs between teen and adult schedules and the general lack of social space for teens.  The authors argued that providing specific space for teens in the library gives teens the space to feel safe, interact with adults other than their parents, and engage with resources.

Williams and Edwards (2011) and Walter (2009) make references to the need for library staff to educate themselves on youth development and what teens need to grow and transition to adulthood.  This education may help to mitigate the adversarial approach sometimes taken by library staff who don’t specifically work with teens on a regular basis. Walter specifically stresses that practitioners need to work with instead of do for teen patrons in order to best help them acquire those skills and dispositions that will help them grow.

Akiva, T. & Petrokubi, J. (2016). Growing with youth: A lifewide and lifelong perspective on youth-adult partnership in youth programs. Children and Youth Services Review, 69, 248-258.

Derr, L. & Rhodes, A. (2010). The public library as ürban youth space: Redefining public libraries through services and space for young people for an über experience. APIS, 23(3), 90-97.

Walter, V.A. (2009). Sowing the seed of praxis: Incorporating youth development principles in a library teen employment program. Library Trends, 58(1), 63-81.

Williams, P. & Edwards, J. (2011). Nowhere to go and nothing to do: How public libraries mitigate the impacts of parental work and urban planning on young people. APLIS, 24(4), 142-152.

YALSA Snack Break: Creativity in Leadership

YALSA’s November webinar, Creativity in Leadership, was facilitated by three librarians in Montana – Rebekah Kamp, Heather Dickerson, and Cody Allen – who inspired attendees with strategies and examples of bringing innovative practices and leadership to services for and with teens. The November YALSA Snack Break is a five minute excerpt from this webinar. It focuses on how to make decisions about teen services activities, the importance of risk in teen services, and accepting and reframing failure. Check it out below:

You can view all of YALSA’s Snack Breaks by accessing the Snack Break playlist.

YALSA members have free access to all webinars (login required). Non-members can purchase webinars for a low cost.

Transforming Teen Services Through CE

This post written by Carrie Sanders, Youth Services Coordinator, Maryland State Library.

At the beginning of the month, I journeyed to Louisville, KY for the annual YALSA Symposium. I heard vibrant authors and teen services librarians discussing current literature written to meet the needs and interests of today’s teens, and I learned about serving teens with disabilities, social action programming, and strong teen volunteer programs. At the end of these very full days, my brain took a breather on Sunday afternoon, and then it went into full gear on Monday-Tuesday, November 6-7, during the YALSA National Forum.

photo of participants in the YALSA ForumWhat was the purpose of this Forum? Under the theme “Transforming Teen Services Through Continuing Education”, YALSA and COSLA, through a grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), gathered representatives from 45 states, along with YALSA Advisory Committee members and other facilitators, to align library teen services with current societal and learning trends of this age group. We gave equal attention to the “what and the how” of Continuing Education (CE) for library staff: what should today’s content be in our teen programming? — and how should this CE be delivered to library staff so that our public library programming and services, nationally, meet the identified emotional, social, and learning needs of today’s teens? Big questions for us to tackle in a day and a half! We listened to a variety of experienced colleagues with experiences and research to share; we looked at national trends and research about the social/emotional needs of teens and their learning styles; we discussed what we are doing in our states; and we asked questions throughout the Forum that bubbled up from our learning. YALSA will take information gained at the meeting to continue developing a national agenda for supporting professional learning needs of library staff working with teens. And, the state representatives attending the Forum, will take back the findings and discussion from our time together and start implementing, through communications and trainings, some of the learnings from the event.

photo of Sandra Hughes Hassell presenting at the YALSA ForumSandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President and Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) opened the Forum noting key paradigm shifts that need to happen in teen services, in response to YALSA’s IMLS-funded report, “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action.” The shifts include:

  • Library services to teens need to be “Teen-centric” – not “library-centric.” Library staff need to put teens first; we need to reach ALL teens in our communities (not just the readers). Today, 48% of our total youth population are teens of color – our services need to reach the marginalized teens in our community. Our services should focus on the person or the process — not the “stuff” or the product.
  • Amplify Teen voice. Library staff should involve teens in the development and implementation of their programs, and they should be the ones to identify social issues in the community. Involving teens in this way is not “giving them a voice” because they already have one. Rather, including them in the planning of teen programs centers their voice.
  • Broaden literacies. Work skills have changed, but skills taught in school are not mirroring these changes. Library staff needs to go beyond book clubs and specific events by focusing on learning in teen programming. Learning should include multiple literacies and include aspects of connected learning: student choice; collaborative, social learning; self-directed learning; authentic audience; maximizing use of technology (producers, not just users). These learning experiences created by and for teens is purposeful and centered on relevant issues. It often includes service learning. Continue reading

YALSA Snack Break: Reaching Outcomes

Each month YALSA posts a new Snack Break. These short videos are designed to give those working with and for teens a chance to learn something in a short amount of time.

In the latest YALSA Snack Break, Homer, Alaska, Youth Services Librarian, Claudia Haines talks about the value of working towards achieving impact with and for teens, even when an activity only is attended by just a few youth.

You can view the full YALSA Snack Break Playlist on YouTube

YALSA Board – Advocating for Teens in Other Associations

YALSA Board Members – Other Associations

Earlier in October, the YALSA Board of Directors held a virtual discussion about what it means to serve as ambassadors for YALSA. We discussed our role in advocating with state and national elected officials and in fundraising, as well as how we actively support and advance YALSA’s positive reputation with members, within the profession, and within our own communities.  Ask any YALSA board member and we’ve got our “elevator speech” ready to go–I know I’m not the only board member with our mission statement memorized! Throughout our Board chat, we realized that we are very active in many organizations, not just YALSA.  Click on the graphic to see where else we spend our energy.  With every meeting, conference call, workshop or listserv message, YALSA Board members are advocating for teens in these organizations, too.  YALSA also has many sponsors and partners who are helping us advocate for teens–companies, foundations, nonprofits, and ALA partners.

What do we want to see?

YALSA’s vision is that all teens have access to quality library programs and services ‒ no matter where they occur ‒ that link them to resources, connected learning opportunities, coaching, and mentoring that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and that create new opportunities for all teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development.

Think about the connections you have beyond the library. Where else do you spend your time and energy? How are those avenues that you can use to advocate for teens and your library?

We appreciate that you have chosen to be an ALA and YALSA member.  Thank you for your support and for believing in our vision!

Graphic Key

A-Association, IG-Interest Group, RT-Round Table

Putting Teens First in Library Services: An Interview with Ryan Moniz

Shannon Peterson and Linda Braun talk with Ryan Moniz, community librarian at the Markham Library. Ryan talks about how he and his colleagues engage with youth and community to design responsive and flexible programs and services.

You can learn more about Ryan’s work in the YALSA webinar, No Hammer Required: Overcoming Barriers Between Teens and Library staff. Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap is available for purchase in the ALA store.