Week of Making: The Future of Making

When I read this the other day I thought, this is a call to action for library staff:

“The Department of Education (ED) and Alliance for Excellent Education are announcing the launch of Future Ready Librarians, an expansion of the Future Ready initiative aimed at raising awareness among district and school leaders about the valuable role librarians can play in supporting the Future Ready goals of their school and district. Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches who work side by side with teachers. In addition, a network of nationally recognized librarians, with support from Follett, will provide input on the development of strategies aligned with the Future Ready Framework, and five Future Ready Summits will be held in regional locations throughout the country and will include librarian-designed and facilitated sessions for district leadership teams on designing collaborative learning spaces. – From the White House Fact Sheet on the President’s Nation of Makers initiative.

I think that announcement is a pretty exciting one and not just because libraries are called out. (Yes, that’s awesome.) Also notice there is a strong focus on the impacts that making activities facilitated with, through, and by libraries. Read this again:

“Among other critical roles, Future Ready Librarians design collaborative library spaces that enable open-ended exploration, tinkering, and making that empower students as creators, and will serve as digital learning coaches…”

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Rethinking YALSA: Learning Agenda

On April 27, 2016, the YALSA Board adopted a 3-year organization plan for 2016-2018. If you haven’t had a chance to look at this document, I would highly recommend that you take some time to read about the future direction for YALSA as a division. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of how YALSA is evolving based on its report, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call for Action. As part of the organization plan, the Board discussed the Theory of Change and its influence over this plan, an intended impact statement, three major priorities of the plan, and finally, the learning agenda.

In this blog post, I will delve a little bit deeper into the learning agenda and highlight some areas of this section within the organization plan that particularly interested me. The different elements of this plan will involve YALSA researching further into areas that are otherwise unknown or new to the division. In order to achieve the goals of the plan, YALSA board, staff, and volunteers will need to take more time to research the priority areas laid out in the plan. These areas include leading the transformation of teen library services, advocacy, and funder and partner development. Each of these areas is critical for determining the success of the plan.   

Learning is an on-going process that can be approached in many different ways. This learning agenda highlights three: “on the job” learning, using the wealth of existing knowledge of YALSA members and library staff, and continuing education. All three of these approaches help support the learning that is necessary for the three priority areas of the organization plan. The learning agenda is an impressive step in the right direction for YALSA. A plan of this magnitude cannot succeed with constant learning and research by the division. By incorporating a learning agenda into the organization plan, YALSA is demonstrating the importance of education and research to the division.

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Rethinking YALSA: Virtual Town Hall on Monday!

Don’t forget to login on Monday, June 13, 2016, from 2 – 3 pm Eastern for a Town Hall Discussion!

The Town Hall will be about the Organizational Plan that the Board just approved.  See President Candice Mack’s recent blog post for more information.

The Town Hall will be led by Candice and me, and we’ll be joined by many board members, too. The agenda is as follows:

2:00 – 2:15 pm:  Overview of the Organizational Plan & Steps Already Taken

2:15 – 2:45 pm:  Discussion with Participants about Involvement & Engagement Activities

Question to Ponder: What YALSA member engagement activities have you found most meaningful?

2:45 – 3 pm: Q&A and Wrap-Up

If you can’t make it to the virtual town hall, but you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando, we’d love to see you at the session What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It! The session will be on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 am at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04. It will be similar to the virtual town hall, and YALSA’s strategic guru Eric Meade will join the discussion. You can find out more about the Whole Mind Strategy Group in this interview with YALSA Board member Kate McNair.

We’ll be using a format that the Board has been using to meet virtually– Zoom. You don’t have to use video, but it does make conversation easier. And we always love when cute animals accidentally walk in front of the screen!

Email the YALSA Office soon to receive the login information: yalsa@ala.org

YALSA Professional Learning Summer 2016

photo of two sneakered feet standing next to a tablet, notebooks, pencils From monthly webinars, to an e-course, to ALA Annual, YALSA has a lot of opportunities for you to take part in professional learning this summer.

Summer Webinars
First up is the June 16 webinar titled, Content Creation Tools for You and Your Teens. The session will be facilitated by Nick Grove from the Meridian Library. Nick is the digital services librarian at the Meridan (ID) technology center, unBound, in the heart of downtown Meridian. Anyone who participates in the webinar will leave knowing:

  • How to decide what content creation tools to use with and for teens.
  • How content creation can help support teen 21st century skills development
  • Where to go next to learn more about the topic

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YALSA’s Three-Year Organizational Plan and New Librarians

YALSA recently released their three-year organizational plan, which will stretch from now until 2018. It’s ambitious and builds off of the YALSA Futures report, published in December 2013. This plan calls for an understanding of a YALSA librarian’s changing role and the need for YALSA to adapt to these changes in the next three years. This plan has been getting a lot of buzz, especially on this blog (see why librarians are excited for this plan, Candice Mack’s great overview of the plan, and a post about member engagement).

In order to evolve and adapt, the plan picks three priorities that fit within both YALSA’s mission and vision statement. These priorities are

  • Leading the transformation of teen library services,
  • Advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services, AND
  • Funder partner development

With each of the three priorities, YALSA has outlined strategies to reach their priorities and tangible ways to measure three-year outcomes. These outcomes are paired with a learning agenda, recognizing the fact that in order for these outcomes to happen, we as librarians need to keep learning to reach these goals. Finally, there is an implementation plan, which gives activities for 2016 and potential activities post 2016. This implementation plan promises to be a flexible and living document, so it can evolve as the priorities listed above are put into place.

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Rethinking YALSA: What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It!

The YALSA Board has been hard at work throughout this year and last year looking at YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report, association capacity and sustainability, and incorporating member and stakeholder feedback to re-envision the organization’s Strategic Plan to create an association that is more nimble, more modern and more reflective of the needs of teens and our members both today and into the future.

The result is YALSA’s new Organizational Plan!

Please check it out: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/strategicplan

You can also find YALSA’s new Mission, Vision, and Impact Statements (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/mission%26vision/yalsamission) and the Implementation Plan (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/ImplementationPlan.pdf)

Mission: Our mission is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.

Vision: Our 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

Intended Impact Statement: To meaningfully address the challenges teens face today and to put more teens on the path to a successful and fulfilling life, YALSA will support library staff who work for and with teens in the transformation of teen library services so that:

  • Libraries reach out to and serve ALL teens in the community no matter what their backgrounds, interests, needs, or abilities, and whether or not they frequent the library space.
  • The library “space” is at once both physical and virtual. It connects teens to other people, printed materials, technology, and digital content, not limiting teens to a designated teen area but rather inviting them into the full scope of the library’s assets and offerings.
  • Teens co-create, co-evaluate, and co-evolve library programs and activities with library staff and skilled volunteers (including mentors and coaches) based on their passions and interests. These programs and activities are connected to teens’ personal, work, or academic interests across multiple literacies; generate measurable outcomes for teens’ skills and knowledge; and are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community.

To achieve this impact, the YALSA Board identified the following priority areas:

  • Leading the transformation of teen library services (including a cultural competency component)
  • Advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services
  • Funder and partner development

We’re really excited about the new plan and our #TeensFirst focus and we want to know what your thoughts and/or questions are!

To that end, we’ve put together an Organizational Plan FAQ: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/organizational-plan-faq-2016-2018

YALSA President-Elect Sarah Hill and I are also hosting a virtual video townhall on Monday, June 13th, from 2-3 p.m. Eastern via Zoom.  Please contact the YALSA Office at yalsa@ala.org for the access information.

And, if you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando next month, we will also be hosting a face to face session on YALSA’s new Organizational Plan on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04, called What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It!

If you have any other questions, comments, concerns and/or compliments, feel free to email me at candice. YALSA [at] gmail.com or reach me via Twitter @tinylibrarian! Hope to see you online and/or in person at our Townhall and at ALA Annual!

YALSA’s Mentoring Program: Make a Difference in a Library Staff Member’s Life

hand writing on a chalkboard with the word mentorI bet that many YALSAblog readers have been fortunate enough to have a professional mentor. Maybe that experience was serendipitous and the mentoring relationship wasn’t planned but nonetheless ended up being an important part of professional growth. I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be mentored both spontaneously and through specific planning. Each has been a fantastic experience and I am grateful to the mentors I’ve had in my professional life.

I’ve also been a mentor and was fortunate enough to act as a mentor as a part of YALSA’s formal virtual mentoring program. That too was a great experience. Not only did I get to help a newish library staff member move forward in their work, I also learned a lot from the people I worked with. Learning about their work, their questions, and the projects they wanted to pursue helped me to think more about what are the best ways to serve teens with and through libraries.

Now you have the chance to make a difference in a library staff member’s life and also perhaps gain some new insights yourself. YALSA’s virtual mentoring program is accepting applications for both mentors and proteges through June 1. It’s a perfect opportunity. And, if you know someone who you think would be a great mentor please pass this information on to them.

STEM in Informal Learning Settings

wikimedia photo of someone working with a robot “After a 15-month review of the current evidence base, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Science Education concluded in a recent 2015 study that out-of-school programs have been shown to:

  • contribute to young people’s interest in and understanding of STEM,
  • connect young people to caring adults who serve as role models, and
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YALSA Professional Learning Series: The Future of Library Services for and with Teens –Working with At-Risk Teens

gameboard

Welcome to the second in YALSA’s new monthly professional learning series. Each month we’ll highlight a topic and give readers the chance to learn about it as well as discuss it with others. Here’s how it works:

  • On the first of each month the YALSA Blog will post an overview of the topic of the month. That overview will include links to resources to read, watch, listen to, etc.
  • If you are interested in participating in the learning during the month, comment on the initial blog post to say something like, “yes, I’m in.”
  • Each week the facilitator of the topic – that’s me this month – will check-in with participants with a post that poses questions and helps to focus conversation on the topic.
  • Participants can converse with others about the topic by commenting on those posts.

We hope this is a low-stress way to learn something new or expand your knowledge on a topic. There is no pressure, just a desire to learn and discuss your learning.

Onto this month’s theme – Working with teens who may be at risk

In 2013 YALSA published the Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action. That report, based on a year of research, prodded library staff working with teens to think differently about the teens they serve (and don’t serve) and think more broadly about who they are, where they are and what their needs may be.  Like the Future’s Report itself, this isn’t something that just happens, it takes time, conversations with your colleagues, really looking at your community and also thinking outside the box. 

The resources below should help you to begin thinking differently about your services for and with teens. It’s up to you what you read and/or watch. Pick and choose from the selections as a way to get started and to focus on what you think is most useful. You may make your way through them all, you may not. I’ve included some ideas of what to consider while you read or view so as to help provide context and focus.

Definition of “at risk youth” There are a lot of definitions of “at risk” youth and they can be loaded as well as sounding negative toward youth.  A broad definition can be that at risk teens can be at risk for not completing high school, may struggle socio economically, homeless, involved in drugs and/or alcohol, in foster care, court involved and each of these can put them at further risk and trauma.

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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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