New Taskforce for Volunteers!

YALSA is known for its work in providing professional development toolkits to teen serving library staff. Take a look at a listing of all the toolkits YALSA provides under the ‘Resources and Tools’ tab-it’s a lot!

Like most information, the content periodically needs to be evaluated to determine what, if anything, may need to be updated in order to be more relevant. If that’s a task you would like to participate in-here’s your chance!

The YALSA Board recently passed a motion during Annual to create a taskforce to evaluate the need to update both the Teen Literacies Toolkit and the Teen Advocacy Toolkit with a recommendation report submitted by December of this year. While other toolkits may need to be evaluated as well, we’re starting with these two first.

If you’re wanting to apply, fill out the Volunteer Committee Form. Make sure your YALSA membership is updated and you follow the ALA Policy of a 3 committee limit.

Any questions? Contact Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President 2021-2022 (kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com)

Volunteer Opportunity – 6 Month Commitment 

YALSA volunteers contributions are immensely valuable and the association would not be where it is today without the commitment, expertise, and efforts of so many of you. At the same time, we are as strong as the support mechanisms that were placed under us and we are better equipped to be future forward, when YALSA practices and policies within the volunteer environment acknowledge existing inequities and work towards redressing them. 

One outcome from the YALSA Board’s monthly chats has been the identification of the need for the Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce. This volunteer team will collaborate with several YALSA volunteer groups from July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021 to evaluate and update volunteer resources for inclusion and diversity and form recommendations for continued areas for improvement. The resources that will be evaluated include, but are not limited to (a full list will be shared with the group), the following: 

        • Volunteer groups’ charge and size;
        • Book Awards and Selected Lists policies and procedures; 
        • Continuing education presenter guidelines; 
        • Virtual volunteer member training for incoming chairs and group members.

Interested members may follow this link to apply here by June 1, 2021 to be considered for this opportunity. Further inquiries about the work of this taskforce may be directed to YALSA President AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org. Please feel free to reach out.

The YALSA Board recognizes the work already completed towards improving member engagement (2018) and believes that this Taskforce will encompass a different direction that is less focused on the volunteer appointment process. Likewise, the YALSA Board recognizes the big steps already completed towards updating the Odyssey and Morris Award manuals and believes that this new Taskforce will continue using a DEI lens in updating other YALSA Book Award and Selected Lists policies and procedures for inclusion and consistency. 

YALSA Advocacy: Resources to Stop Anti-AAPI Hate

On March 3, 2021, the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association issued a statement condemning the attacks against Asian Americans due to racist misconceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Young Adult Library Services Association wishes to join their sister organization in condemning these horrid attacks, and if you have civically-minded teenagers at your library, offer resources for them to take action themselves.

YALSA recognizes and strongly condemns the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes that have grown in intensity over the past year due to hate speech directed at the Asian community. Here at YALSA, we believe no one should be discriminated against due to their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

How can teen librarians support their patrons, and encourage teens of all races to stand up for each other? One of the most important issues can be recognizing racism, and figuring out what to do about it in the moment. Hollaback, a non-profit organization, has been offering free online trainings for how to disrupt and intervene when someone witnesses racism. This can be the first resource librarians hand out. While that training touches on the troubled history American has with Chinese immigrants, this article also provides a brief history, beginning with the way Chinese immigrants were painted as dirty and infectious to stir up anti-immigrant feelings and eventually exclude Chinese immigrants from voting or owning land.

Librarians can also host programs on racism. While her upcoming program isn’t specifically geared towards anti-AAPI racism, teen librarian Kim Iacucci from Fort Lee Library expects that it will come up naturally. She has scheduled a program titled Changing The World One Click At A Time: Teens And Activism In The Social Media Age. Fort Lee is a heavily Asian-American city right outside New York City, and held a Stop Asian Hate rally that drew a large crowd. She’s also working on a program for the library that’s about anti-Asian racism for all ages. 

Every teen should be able to come to the library and feel safe and protected. Being able to intervene, or even say that we see their struggle could mean the world to a teen struggling through the strangest year of their lives.

 

Posted by Stacey Shapiro, YALSA Board Advocacy.

Future of Teens Public Librarian Education

YALSA supports the work of the IMLS grant funded project led by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill SILS faculty members, including Brian Sturm, Sayamindu Dasgupta, Casey Rawson, and Sandra Hughes-Hassell (YALSA Past President, 2017-2018). In YALSA’s letter of support for the project the following was stated:

“Changes in the services and programs public libraries offer, and in the increased diversity of America’s teens, require librarians who work with teens in public libraries to have new knowledge, skills, and dispositions. By aiming to reimagine LIS curricula for teen librarians, this project has the potential to transform the field of teen services librarianship.”

As current or former students of the LIS degree, we ask that you please consider contributing your time and insight towards this project by participating in an upcoming group feedback session: Re-envisioning LIS Curriculum.

Join us in re-envisioning the LIS curriculum for public library youth services.  Drop in any time between 3:30 and 5:-00 ET, April 8, 2021 to share your thoughts.  

How can I join?
Zoom link: https://unc.zoom.us/j/98463439117?pwd=OERZZkx2UlFFMUFQNVJNUzVkdDFSZz09
Meeting ID: 984 6343 9117
Passcode: 900103

What if I can’t come?
No worries. Add your ideas to this moderated Padlet.
Padlet URL: https://padlet.com/futureofys/60kguyq3zbvtyjgz

Questions?
Contact:
Sandra Hughes-Hassell <smhughes@email.unc.edu>

Linda Braun <lbraun@leonline.com>

We are looking forward to learning what you think.

 This project is being conducted by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.  

 

A Time to Connect: My Experience at the 2020 Virtual YALSA Symposium

The following blog post is written by one of YALSA’s 2020 Symposium Registration Grant student winners, Esperanza Pacheco.

My name is Esperanza Pacheco, and I am the Assistant Director/Young Adult Librarian for the Englewood Public Library in New Jersey. My community was super proud and excited that I was selected to attend the virtual YALSA YA Services Symposium from November 6-8 this year.

On the Friday of the Symposium, I started looking into which prerecorded sessions I could log into to begin my conference experience. Immediately, the session title which caught my eye was #DiverseReading: Encouraging Teen Readers with Instagram. I’ve created Instagram accounts for three libraries and am constantly seeking ways to use it, as well as other social media platforms to attract teens’ attention towards reading. I had the pleasure of e-meeting Rachel Milburn, who recorded this video for us. She is the Teen Services Librarian at the Frankfort Community Public Library, Frankfort, Indiana. Instantly, through our library accounts, I followed her pages on Instagram and Twitter. I was so impressed by how much time and deliberation went into her posts. She had one title that had basketballs surrounding the books on the shelf. This is a great idea as it draws immediate attention on an app, where people are constantly scrolling and only stopping for something alluring to the eye. I kept in mind some of the details she mentioned when it comes to using Instagram professionally, such as switching over to a business account in order to view the background Insights of your account interaction and engagement. It is interesting to see the outliers in how many thousands of views her top post garnered, which could have been due to the title of the book she posted or perhaps how she set up the post.

The next recorded session I tuned into was called Our Voices, Our Protest: Migrant Stories in Latinx Young Adult Literature. I was especially excited to view this one because I was able to place these authors’ titles right into a cart for my library to purchase; the beauty of online services! The authors were Aida Salazar, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Daniel Aleman, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Yamile Saied Mendez, and Ernesto Cisneros. I love sessions like these that teach me about authors I may not have known or seen. Being able to ask these authors questions in real time was a real treat. I think it is imperative for both sides too, as authors get the benefit of hearing readers’ feedback. Continue reading A Time to Connect: My Experience at the 2020 Virtual YALSA Symposium

Virtual Conference Does World of Good

The following blog post is written by one of YALSA’s 2020 Symposium Registration Grant student winners, Jana Wiersma.

YALSA’s Young Adult Services Symposium theme for 2020, “Biggest Little Spaces: How Libraries Serve the Expanding World of Teens”, was a play on Reno’s slogan “Biggest Little City”, where the symposium was originally supposed to be held. When it became clear the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t letting up, the symposium moved online, and representation, diversity, and inclusion were not lost in the shift. As disappointed as I was to not attend the symposium in my backyard, connections and networking were still possible, and many young adult librarians were able to join from all over the world. As a first-time YALSA symposium attendee, I was able to enter the community of young adult librarians and share experiences in a meaningful way.

The author lineup was incredible in its diversity of the powerful voices that YA librarians could not only hear, but also discuss relevant issues with. The excitement of the authors at being represented and presenting together on panels was palpable and contagious, even via Zoom. Even with the plethora of diverse authors, there was still an overwhelming call for more diversity in publishing, editing, and writing. Each author recognized the need for our teens to see themselves in whatever space they occupy — represented as readers, yes, but also as authors, editors, publishers, media specialists, and more. During the opening session, author Alan Gratz said, “There isn’t one America, there are many different American experiences,” which I felt entirely summed up YALSA’s 2020 Symposium.

From the pre-conference to end of symposium, sessions included relevant topics like teaching teens to spot and stop the spread of fake news, ramping up library teen volunteer programs, creating book boxes to help teens and tweens destress, fostering community partnerships to advocate for teens beyond the library, transforming teen services, providing support to our immigrant youth, and more!

Each session provided a wealth of information and resources we could bring back to the library and apply with confidence to better support our local teens and the spaces they occupy. With this information, our team can go forward with our top priorities: re-evaluating our teen volunteer program, re-configuring our teen space to better support the needs of our young adult community, and helping our teens feel both represented and connected during this especially difficult time of separation.

As the Young Adult Services Symposium wrapped up, I was inspired and motivated by all the possible ways I could apply what I learned, how best to implement shared tips, and how to better diversify our young adult services on a daily basis. My to-be-read pile now has a thousand books on it, and my inner book-nerd heart was bursting with the joy of getting to hear from so many amazing authors! I cannot wait for YALSA members to meet in person once again, but in the meantime, meeting and connecting virtually still did a world of good.

Jana Wiersma
MLIS Student @ University of North Texas,
Senior Library Assistant, Carson City Library, NV

COVID-19 : While your library and/or school is physically closed

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your continued commitment to your work for and with teens in libraries, as we all adjust to these unique circumstances. I’ve received a number of questions about what YALSA members and others who work for and with teens can do to help during the shutdown of many schools and libraries, coupled with social distancing mandates. Obviously, this doesn’t allow us to connect directly with the teens we serve, but give thought to the many venues our 21st century technology affords us. At this time, what we can do for teens will require us to consider more indirect support than what many of us are used to providing. Advocate with administrators to ensure that any online programming that your school or library posts includes teens and the needs they have. Be mindful that most teens are not used to being away from their friends, and conversely are spending an unexpected amount of time with their nuclear families. Parents and guardians, too, are trying to figure this out as they go along.

Of course, not all teens are privileged, and we should remain cognizant of our most vulnerable populations and those who face the greatest challenges. Serving those teens at this time is more difficult than ever before. Using the online tools afforded us by our partner community and government organizations, we can consider this a time to recognize what holes in the safety net exist, and how we can better approach these problems both now and when a semblance of normalcy returns.

Many of us have turned, by choice or necessity, to online forums and tools to stay connected with our students, colleagues, fellow committee and task force members, and our families and friends. As time permits in our lives turned upside-down, I’ve provided a list below of items produced by YALSA to keep us engaged with our work and if nothing else, a needed break (as appropriate) from the pandemic coverage. While some of this may appear to be basic, we’re all getting our footing again, and ensuring a strong foundation will help us all as we move forward.

Please note: I am aware that not everyone has the time or energy at this time to devote to continuing education opportunities or ideas of how to prepare themselves for when schools and libraries reopen. Others are not being paid, and I am not recommending that you work for free. Do whatever works for your situation; caring for your own needs is critical.

  • This is a good time to review some of the basic tenets of YALSA membership and the best practices of teen services in libraries. Have you read through the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff recently? This is a bedrock document, which also has free webinars associated that discuss each of the ten competencies. Watching them may provide you with areas to think about improving personally or institutionally, and, depending on your workplace, may count as continuing education credit. Similarly, our recently adopted EDI Statement and EDI Plan are core elements to everything YALSA does. Think about how they may apply in your own setting. Make a list of thoughts to share about how your school or library can strive to eliminate inequities and encourage more inclusive practices.
  • One of the ongoing concerns of those of us who work with teens is the lack of media literacy that has plagued us in the Information Age and as social media has proliferated. The Teen Literacies Toolkit focuses on media literacy, and now would be a great time to review that document and provide library staff with ways to help teens navigate their world and the data they’re consuming. For more information on the current state of media literacy, I recommend the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s 2019 report.
  • What programming will teens want when they return to the schools and libraries that serve them? The Teen Programming HQ is a good start to think about potential programs that are current and have proven to be popular. This could be a chance to look into the many making and crafting opportunities for teens that are available online, as either active or passive programs. If you are able to stay in contact with your Teen Advisory Group/Board, ask for their input. List programs or ideas and poll teens for their favorites. This is a terrific time to be creative, as everyone, teens and adults alike, is in the process of figuring things out.
  • Think about the options that you have for keeping up-to-date on YALSA’s awards and selection lists. Read or listen to that book you’ve always meant to, or the one you overheard teens discussing recently. If you don’t have the opportunity to check out ebook or e-audiobook versions, you may want to browse professional and individual’s reviews online. Keeping up-to-date with what teens are reading and listening to, along with their other interests, can allow you to make connections that may not occur otherwise. Pay special attention to the Teens’ Top Ten list, which are voted on by teens themselves. If possible, share your own reviews or book talks online using your institution’s social media accounts.

I hope some or all of these ideas are helpful in answering the questions I have received. There are many, many more opportunities to stay relevant and keep on top of our teens’ ever-changing circumstances. Again, I appreciate your continued work for and with teens, whether in person or virtually!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Teen Services Competencies 7 – Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

YALSA Secretary Josie Watanabe of the Seattle Public Library is this month’s guest blogger. 

YALSA Board Training: Undoing Structural Racism by Schools’ Out Washington

I wanted to share what the YALSA Board was up to over Midwinter!  If you keep up with ALA, you will know that this Midwinter meeting was filled with new ideas from SCOE and frank conversations about the ALA budget. All of this is really centered on the idea that libraries, library staff and our communities are asking for different support and pathways to do our work in new ways. YALSA has heard the call and over the last few years has created a strong EDI charge.

What is EDI you ask??? EDI is a huge topic that spans over mega conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion. The terminology is so broad it can mean many things to many people. Over the last few years YALSA has focused on diversity, and when the time came to write our new strategic plan, we had an ambitious charge: to center our work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion by infusing it into every and all aspects of our new strategic plan. This was innovative and important work for YALSA and we knew it would entail a lot of learning and growing on our part.

To start with, YALSA Board wanted to have a firm grounding and understanding of institutional racism. Most of you have heard about the personal work we all need to undertake to undo racism—this encompasses understanding implicit bias, blind spots, anti-blackness, microaggressions, etc…. However the legacy and future power of racism exists at the institutional level, this includes the various policies and procedures that organizations create and enforce; and at the structural level where several organizations—schools, out-of-school learning organizations and other institutions work together to create systems where white people unfairly benefit because of the color of their skin.

This happens in housing, education, the criminal justice system, health, etc.  YALSA Board understands, as an institution, the power and impact we have on the library profession, staff and ultimately youth. Boards often control the budget and direct the work of Executive Director, they create policies and procedures that support the organization and spend much of the time making strategic decisions that will either move the work of the organization towards or away from their mission or EDI plan.  So, yeah—that’s a lot of responsibility—but it’s an amazing way to make change and most importantly institutional change!

This is exactly what we the YALSA Board determined was most important—we wanted to take our already powerful EDI plan and find new ways to deconstruct the policies, procedures and systems that keep our board, book lists, medals, workgroups, etc… homogeneous,  but we also wanted to actively create policies and procedures that would recruit diverse library staff to YALSA and remove barriers of participation.  One step in this direction included YALSA board spending some of our time at Midwinter with School’s Out Washington,  a leading out-of-school time organization that supports youth providers in positive youth development approaches, such as, Youth Program Quality Assessment, SEL (social emotional learning) and advancing racial equity.  The workshop they led was called Undoing Structural Racism and here are some of the big topics we discussed at the training:

  • Basic forms of racialization: internalized, interpersonal, institutional and structural
  • The history of structural racism through a short video clip: A Brief History of White Privilege, Racism and Oppression in America
  • The policies and practices that exemplify structural racism: redlining, public education system funded by property taxes, subprime lending, hiring practices and “stop and frisk” laws.
  • We often blame youth or families when we should be blaming systems.
  • Ongoing impact of structural racism: How structural racism plays out in health, wealth, schools and policing.
  • Racial Equity: A path forward and things to consider:
    • We live in a society where race matters.
    • We’re all part of the picture. None of us asked for this. The structure of race and racism were set up in the past. But still, all of us are responsible for the present and future.
    • As we sit here talking about race and racism, racism is playing out. We need to have these conversations, but we also need to take action on what we can influence to end racism.
  • How we can talk about race.
  • The Continuum on Becoming and Anti-Racist, Multi-Cultural Organization: Take a look at the link and see where your organization is on the continuum.

This was just a start and as a board—we committed to using a part of our monthly board chats to continue our learning and understanding of institutional racism by going through their materials. Follow along with the YALSA Board by reading and discussing these resources with your friends and workmates. Also consider the powerful work you can do by joining the YALSA Board. Check out our Board Fellow position to learn more about board service.

For Further Reading:

  • Why are all of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • So You Want to Talk About Race? by ljeoma Oluo
  • Fakequity Blog

For Self-Work:

  • Me and White Supremacy-The Workbook by Layla F. Saad

For Working with Youth:

  • 1000 Black Girls Books Resource Guide by Marley Dias
  • Teaching Tolerance

For Work with your Colleagues:

——-

Thanks, Josie, for this excellent recap of our Board training and what was accomplished at last month’s Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Thoughts on two common teen developmental topics

Hi everyone!

To wrap up the month of the first of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, Teen Growth and Development, I thought I’d look at a couple developmental issues that affect teens and can cause inequities. Returning to the US Health and Human Services website, I found this fascinating statistic:

According to teens themselves, 57% of males and 37% of females (no data was apparently collected for non-binary teens) reported devoting at least sixty minutes of physical activity to their schedules, five or more days a week. Research has shown that among male teens, there is a considerable importance for “boys of all abilities to seek both structured and unstructured physically active fields, activities, and opportunities that elicit excitement, novelty, a sense of inclusion, and pleasurable experiences. However, those teen males in the same study “who self-identified as having low physical ability also revealed negative self-perceptions and body dissatisfaction and had internalized the idea that their (too fat or thin) bodies had no place in mainstream sport and physical activity”. Some teen males are less likely to use library services because they focus their time on physical activity; yet that very focus may limit them from pursuits that potentially will be of more interest to them and make them prosper as individuals. There are also many aspects to what type of physical activity options are available to teens, depending on their access to parks, gyms, rec centers, and other optimal locations and environments to pursue physical fitness. It is a critical need to close the gap to provide all teens in all communities with equal opportunities.

Chronic health issues affect nearly 1 in 3 teens. While many people default to thinking of adolescents as being in the “physical primes” of their lives, this is often not the case. Many teens struggle with often debilitating physical conditions (the most common of which is asthma), which library staff need to be aware of to best serve these users. As an example, sharing information with your peers about what asthma in teens looks like can be helpful is better understanding what some of your students or library users may be going through. Teens that deal with chronic illnesses, particularly those with issues that are not instantly visible, deserve understanding and the same services that are provided to those who have not been diagnosed with these maladies.

Thanks for reading and the work that you do for and with teens! Don’t forget to watch the free webinar that discusses this competency in-depth.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Teen Demographic Shifts

Hi everyone!

As we continue to consider Teen Growth and Development, the first of the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, particularly through the lens of equity, it’s critical that we realize just who the teens are that we serve both today and in the coming years. The below (left) image from the US Department of Health and Human Services website The Changing Face of America’s Adolescents shows that by approximately thirty years from today, there will have been a major race/ethnicity shift. This demographic shift was also outlined in YALSA’s landmark study The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. As the faces that we serve in school and public libraries change, so must our actions in providing them with appropriate services. (To clarify a couple acronyms on the chart on the left, AIAN = American Indian / Alaskan Native, and HPI = Hawaiian / Pacific Islander.)

Between 2014 & 2050, the percentage of youth in each demographic is expected to change: White: 54.1% to 40.3%. Hispanic: 22.8% to 31.2%. Black: 14.0% to 13.1%. Asian: 4.7% to 7.4%. AIAN Alone: .9% to .7%. HPI Alone: .2% to .2%. Multiracial: 3.4% to 7.0%

These figures are for the United States overall; your own community or service area’s population may be considerably different. But it’s a good starting point to consider the ways American society will change in the coming decades. It’s also interesting to note the chart on the right, below, that the teen population as an overall percentage of the US population is decreasing. This will be important to note when competing for funding and resources. With an aging population, an emphasis on care and assistance for those of an advanced age may eclipse that devoted to younger people. This will require continuing advocacy work for the needs of teens in your communities. Even though the net number of teens is estimated to grow from 42 to 45 million by 2050, the overall percentage will have decreased.

Adolescents will represent a decreasing percentage of the U.S. population, from 13.2% in 2014 to 11.2% in 2050.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your work for and with teens today and in the future!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl