I started a new job as a teen services librarian one month before I graduated with my MLS. I was thrilled to get a full-time position serving my ideal population – at a dream location, to boot! My MLS program was amazing, and I learned more than I expected to. I felt confident with my library skills as I started the job. But any librarian can tell you, everything isn’t book-smarts! (No library pun intended.)
The skills that have really helped me roll with the punches as I get comfortable in my new position were learned from YALSA. Blog posts about passive programming have helped inspire me to bring some easy-to-implement ideas to my library’s teen section, which are looked at favorably since I’m new and not asking for lots of programming money right away. And countless other posts, along with the wiki, have good ideas for programming that I’m adding to my list for when I do feel comfortable asking for money.
It’s also nice to know you’re not alone, that other librarians and library workers have the same problems you might face: “Finally the big day arrives, it’s program time and…not one teenager shows up. Now you’re standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by supplies, and alone with your formerly fabulous program idea.” [from Pop-Up Programming 2 by Becky Fyolek]. And I say “you might face” already knowing, just two months in, that you are going to be alone in that programming room, and it’s going to make you feel pretty pathetic.
Developing collections that meet the specific needs of the teens in a local community is not an easy undertaking. It requires knowing who the teens are in your community – those teens that use the library already and those that are not library users, yet. It requires building relationships with the teens in the community to truly understand their needs and interests. It requires building relationships with others – librarians, educators, stakeholders, community members, and more. And, it requires ongoing work with and for teens and the community. This is not a one and done process.
I initially got involved in ALA because of the Emerging Leader program. I was forwarded an email by an administrator talking about the program the year it started, and I applied and didn’t get in. The year after that I applied and was sponsored by YALSA, but had to withdraw at the last minute because of health issues. In 2009 I was again sponsored by YALSA and finally made it! During the three years before, however, I was becoming more and more involved in ALA, and particularly in YALSA. My desire to just get into the EL program inspired me to push myself to join committees and attend conferences. Since “graduating” I’ve been on several more committees and have chaired a few, most recently taking on chairing the YALSA Mentoring Taskforce this year. I was elected to two terms as an ALA Council member-at-large and I’ve served as a YALSA Board Fellow and At-large Board Director. I have taken on more of a leadership role in my state organization, and I am not afraid to branch out and get involved in other ALA divisions and round tables which has helped me to grow and develop new skills and meet people I wouldn’t normally meet. The Emerging Leader program really opened up a whole new aspect of being a librarian to me and helped me get involved on many different levels. It was a really great experience and one that I am glad I had the chance to experience.
The latest YALSA Snack Break is ready and waiting for you to take a look.
Along with including some great insights and ideas on how to support teen success, the video highlights YALSA’s September webinar. This webinar will be facilitated by a stellar group of people, Erica Compton (Program Manager, ID STEM Action Network), Audrey Hopkins (Teen Services Librarian at Rita & Truett Smith Public Library, Plano TX), and Shanna Miles (Library Media Specialist, South Atlanta (GA) High School) who are ready to talk about the topic and answer your questions. Continue reading
I started my journey in libraries determined to be a teen services librarian. I knew those jobs, especially full-time, were few and far between but I was able to land a position as a part-time teen services librarian for Santa Clara County Library District. There, the amazing team of teen services librarians showed me all of the resources available to me, primarily from YALSA. I was blown away with the breadth of tools for different types of programming, collection development and so much more that was available online, right at my fingertips. I took this invaluable resource with me and as I entered a full-time teen services librarian for San Mateo County Libraries and continued to use them for the next 4 years. I kept my membership to YALSA current as it was my primary resource for keeping up to date with innovative programming, learning the changing need for teens, as well as opportunities for grant funding.
When I attended my first ALA Conference, I immediately sought out the YALSA booth as they are easily my go-to, library family. I learned about the YALSA-sponsored programs, networking opportunities and was introduced to more teen services librarians. When I applied to the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders program and was accepted, YALSA was right there for me as my financial sponsor, which helped me tremendously as attending conferences can be costly. The Emerging Leaders program impacted my professional career by introducing me to exceptional library professionals from all over the state and internationally, and I was also able to learn about the various leadership opportunities within the ALA organization and committees, something I was not familiar with prior to attending. After Emerging Leaders ended, I was asked to be on the 2015 Printz Award committee, an honor that a teen services librarian only dreams of. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would never forget and introduced me to another set of inspiring librarians working in teen services.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the incredible and enriching experience I had as a 2016 YALSA Emerging Leader. Without the Friends of YALSA and your donations, I would have not had enough money to attend both conferences as was necessary with this honor.
Participating in the Emerging Leaders program has changed my life as a new librarian. Not only did I have the privilege of attending both ALA Midwinter and Annual, but I got to participate in leadership training with 49 other outstanding young librarians. It was an amazing networking opportunity, not only with my diverse cohort, but also with the leaders of the program and guest speakers.
I also had the privilege of working on a project for YALSA with 5 other Emerging Leaders. We created a social media calendar for YALSA to use with its members. We started by surveying YALSA members about how they use social media, then developed best practices based on the response, and finally developed a social media calendar with Facebook and Twitter posts for the entire year. I learned so much throughout this process, including how to communicate and manage a large scale project virtually. At ALA Annual, we presented our project at the Emerging Leaders poster session, but also to the YALSA Board, which was super exciting.
YALSA’s webinars this fall cover a variety of topics from school library partnerships to coding as a learning activity to transitioning from summer reading to summer learning. Along with these new webinar topics YALSA is moving to a new webinar platform and format. Starting in September webinars will be hosted using Zoom and instead of 50 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A we are going to focus on 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes in which attendees get to talk with each other, and the presenters, about the topic. Here’s a brief overview of what’s coming this fall: Continue reading
What can library staff serving teens do to support teen mental health needs? That’s the focus of the latest YALSA Snack Break and August webinar. In this Snack Break, Meaghan Hunt Wilson discusses the value of supporting teens in this area.
Welcome to the YALSAblog News of the Month. In this post we highlight a few news items from the past month that we think are of interest to staff working with teens in libraries, schools, and youth development organizations.
In her recent article in YALS, Workplace Expectations for Today’s Library, Kimberly Sweetman asks “what should you be able to do in order to succeed in today’s workplace?” This brings to mind many thoughts about what was once expected in the library workplace, and what is currently expected.
Sweetman mentions that from the 1990s, and into the future, libraries are more about distribution of power, systems thinking, improved collaboration and more. These are all very important to understand when working in the library. Collaboration is great because with today’s technology, library staff can share ideas throughout their system or nationally with faster results than ever before. Collaboration also is key when “people who have different areas and levels of expertise” work together. This was just one of the ways that I was able to become more efficient at my job, and learn skills that made it easier to transition into higher library positions. I am always learning from fellow library employees, and some of the best ideas come from collaboration with others.