Happy End of Summer and Back-to-School!

I’m so excited to be sharing my first YALSA President’s Report!

It’s been a whirlwind since ALA Annual, and here’s what I’ve been working on since then:

Done & Done!

  • Appointments to Edwards, Printz & Nonfiction Committees
  • Assigning Board liaisons to Strategic, Selection & Award Committees
  • Assign Board Members to Standing Board Committees
  • Column for Fall 2015 issue of YALS
  • Virtual training for New YALSA Board members
  • YALSA blog post on Presidential Initiative: 3-2-1 Impact! Inclusive & Impactful Teen Services
  • Worked with YALSA Board to appoint Renee McGrath to fill Krista McKenzie’s vacancy on the YALSA Board
  • Had first call with the Whole Mind Group, who YALSA is working with on Strategic Planning
  • With Chris Shoemaker, hosted first monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Standing Board Committees
  • Interviewed candidates for Member Managers for the Hub blog and Teen Programming HQ; appointed Molly Wetta as new Hub Member Manager and Jessi Snow as new Teen Programming HQ Member Manager

Works in Progress

  • Filling Strategic Committee vacancies
  • Filling Rachel McDonald’s Board vacancy
  • Appointing YALSA representatives to ALA groups
  • Strategic Planning
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meetings
  • Seeking content experts for Teen Programming HQ
  • Seeking out partnerships with ALA ethnic caucuses, ALA LGBT Round Table, ASCLA, Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, DeviantArt and more

Media & Outreach

Stats & Data

  • Friends of YALSA raised $1,155 in June 2015
  • Friends of YALSA raised $436 in July 2015
  • Membership: 5,113 (down -0.3% over this time last year)

Important Deadlines

  • Oct. 1 - Deadline to submit a volunteer form to be on YALSA's upcoming award, selection and strategic committees! More information here

Last, but certainly not least -

THANK YOU

  • All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!
  • Chris Shoemaker, YALSA’s immediate Past President, for passing the torch and mentoring current President-Elect Sarah Hill
  • YALSA’s ALA Annual 2015 Local Arrangements Committee, for a terrific job coordinating travel tips & info and local YALSA events in San Francisco
  • YALSA Board, for your hard work, leadership and enthusiasm - I know it's going to be a great year!
  • YALSA Staff, especially Beth Yoke, Letitia Smith & Nichole O'Connor, for your assistance and support with association logistics

Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Candice Mack, YALSA President

 

DIY1Library staff see a diverse crowd of students after classes end each school day. There are over-worked students looking for a place to unwind or cram in homework before after-school activities and jobs. There are also wandering bands of restless teens who don't seem to have anything in particular to do but make all the noises that weren't allowed during the day. We don't want to contribute to students' stress by piling on more work, but do want to provide them with a productive outlet for all that pent up energy.

Free-form DIY projects can provide an experience that many teens need. Happily, a self-directed (a.k.a passive) afterschool craft program can also be pulled off with no advance preparation, simply by putting out a bucket of craft supplies and a pile of leftover paper with no instructions but to do with them whatever they want.   This frees up library staff to work with other teens who need/want your attention.  With some prep-work (such as buying a few basic supplies for the DIY school supply program pictured in this blog post) a simple theme can take shape. Read More →

At many public library locations, the after school rush means an influx of teens that happens with clockwork precision and presents unique opportunities as well as challenges.

Teen services staff may smile when 45 teens (who have been cooped up for eight hours in school listening to adults talk at them….) burst into the library. But, if librarians and library workers start acting like security guards and security guards start acting like bouncers… bad things can happen. The after school atmosphere can become rule-driven and the focus may shift to customer control instead of customer service. And while certainly there are situations that warrant “control” and “rules” – staff should primarily be concerned with making the after school library experience of teens a positive one.  Anyone needing help with managing teen behavior can check out multiple resources from YALSA found on the wiki.

The after school rush is not a surprise. Ideally, there are positive patterns and routines established with library staff: these positive routines mean that during the after school rush staff does not disappear for off-desk time, break or dinner and teen activities take place. Staff is welcoming and not sending the vibe that they are bracing for an onslaught.

Learn the rush.
A library, like a retail location, experiences discernible traffic patterns of customer visits. Teen services staff should be observant and become aware of the teen traffic patterns after school at the library. First, is there an after school rush? Are there days of the week when teen traffic is heaviest? If there is an after school rush, when does it begin and when does it die down? Do teens tend to get picked-up when parents get out of work? Or leave to get home for dinner? Or linger until the library closes?

Scheduling programming/activities during the after school rush can seem daunting. Be vigilant about the excuse: “(I/we/you) can’t do a teen activity after school because there are too many teens in the library.” The after school rush may be the best time to begin offering activities—because teens are already there.  Talk to them to find out why they're there and what activities may interest them or support their needs.

Know what time school dismissal occurs and talk to your manager about how this is not the time to schedule off desk time and dinner breaks. Staffing and after school activities for teens should be scheduled to meet the needs of customers (teens) not the convenience of the staff. Think of it in retail terms: shops schedule more staff during peak shopping hours to provide adequate customer service – (and because they want to make sales) - libraries can’t afford to be any different.

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YALSA is seeking teen programming Content Experts for its upcoming web resource, Teen Programming HQ. The mission of the new site is to provide a one-stop-shop for finding and sharing information about programs of all kinds designed for and with teens. The site will promote best practices in programming by featuring user-submitted programs that align with YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines and Futures Report. The site will also enable dissemination of timely information about emerging and new practices for teen programming; raise awareness about appropriate YALSA tools to facilitate innovation in teen programming; and provide a means for members and others interested in teen programs to connect with one another to support and share their efforts to continuously improve their teen programs. The site is in beta testing now and will fully launch October 1st.

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Recently this image has gone viral. It’s a photo from Sacramento Public Library that seems to have been first posted online in January. Many of my colleagues have been inspired to post a similar sign in their branches. This sign demonstrates a practical solution for providing assistance to teens who, for whatever reason, are reluctant to ask staff for help.

Many teens I find roaming in the library often do not want to engage with staff. I do things like wear fandom buttons on my lanyard, which has helped to start conversations, but when most staff offer to help  a teen find a book or show them how to use an e-source, they politely decline.

So how do you serve someone who doesn’t ask for help? Read More →

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

While the most popular of public library summer programs, Summer Reading/Learning is only one of many activities that benefits and serves teen communities. Tapping into the various motivations within your own teen community are crucial to creating and implementing a well-received passive or active teen program. Are there other creative and publicly available spaces in your community, or does your library provide the only opportunity for free creative exploration? Does your library serve teens who seek to advance themselves academically during the summer months? Is there an independent maker space in your town or city, or is the library the sole source of maker activities? Do the teens in your community attend magnet schools or schools with advanced tech programs? Do those schools offer opportunities for summer tech projects, or does the library have a unique opportunity to provide the space and tools for coding, movie-making, and more? Exploring what teens already have free access to (and use!) and identifying what service and material/supply vacuums exist in your wider community will teen services librarians create and implement effective programming.

What research do you do before implementing a new program or innovating an existing program? Do you research other offerings in your town/city to prevent overlap or identify potential collaborative opportunities? How does the summer closure of schools affect programming opportunities in your pulic library? Please discuss in the comments below!

For more information, please see the Summer Reading/Learning section of the YALSA wiki, as well as the YALSA Teen Programming Guidelines.

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September is traditionally back to school time, so get ready because it's coming soon.  With some teens in their senior year of high school many may be thinking about what they will be doing when they finish with things like; jobs, vocational/technical/college.  How can you in your libraries help teens get ready?  Here are some links that provide resources and some possible program ideas you may incorporate to help your teens to make some decisions.

College/technical/vocational School Resources:

Accrediting Commission of Careers Schools and Colleges

Campus Pride Campus Pride represents the only national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students.

Casey Family Services – Information on financial aid and scholarships and much more for youth in foster care

College Board and Khan Academy free practice tests and other resources to help prepare for college.

Developing the Next Generation of Latino Leaders  internships, fellowships, scholarships, financial aid information and more for Latino students.

Federal Student Aid information through the U. S. Department of Education  lays out all of the steps in order to think about colleges, identifying colleges and applying to colleges.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP) through the U.S. Department of Education a grant program to increase the number of low-income students to succeed in postsecondary education.

Homework Help Programs (webinar) learn how you can offer free or fee based homework help programs in your library.

List of Community Colleges in the United States 

NAACP Youth and College Division

Orphan Foundation of America – Scholarship opportunities and Educational and Training Vouchers for foster youth.

Real Work Matters vocational school database

Trade Schools Guide 

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecordary Institutions and Programs

U.S. Department of Education Career Colleges and Technical Schools

YALSA College and Career Readiness site

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Which young people in your community could be most positively impacted by services that your institution currently provides or could provide?

Are there foster youth, homeless teens, teen parents, teens from military families, incarcerated youth, disabled teens, LGBTQ teens, immigrant teens, teen English Language Learners, or teens from various cultural, ethnic, racial or socioeconomic backgrounds in your communities who could really use the library’s help to succeed?

What would that assistance or those services look like?

My YALSA presidential initiative, “3-2-1 IMPACT! Inclusive and Impactful Teen Library Services,” focuses on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations. It is a call to action to all of our members to take a close look at our communities, identify service gaps and address needs by using or contributing to YALSA resources like the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, Teen Programming Guidelines, our new Teen Programming HQ and more.

Visit YALSA's wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence. For a list of selected resources relating to building inclusive services for and with teens, check out this flyer (.pdf).

Other activities that we hope to work on this year include collecting stories from members who are reaching out to underserved teen populations and sharing best practices and/or advocacy messages, creating spaces or pathways for members who are focusing on the same teen population to connect with one another, providing continuing education to help members reach out to specific populations and also gain leadership and cultural competence skills/knowledge, and compile existing and/or create new resources to help members serve various underserved teen populations.

As YALSA President, I’m excited about harnessing the passion, energy and activism among all of our members to help create positive, inclusive, impactful change for and with the teens that we serve in our communities. I’m looking forward to working with all of you and to the amazing work that we are all going to do together this year.

Programming is a big job for library staff. To come up with program ideas we hold Teen Advisory Board meetings, talk with educators and community members, and find out what our teens are interested in or want to learn about. We nurse a program idea through planning meetings, we order supplies, choose a date, and promote our baby program on every channel at our disposal. 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. But is it really that your idea wasn’t good? Did no one want to come, or is it actually that teen schedules are beyond crazy and it’s impossible for any library staff member to take every possible conflict (including the unpredictable weather) into consideration when planning a program. My money is on the latter.

If your library is like mine then you have some days when it’s so quiet that you expect an honest to goodness tumbleweed to blow through the department, but then the very next day is so over the top busy that you feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get home. Granted, most days are somewhere in between, but wouldn’t it be nice if your fabulous programs could coincide with those marathon busy days? This is where pop-up programming can become your new best friend. Instead of picking a date and hoping teens will show up at a predetermined time, do everything except schedule your program. That’s right, plan, order supplies, and then…wait. Wait until the day when there are so many teens in your department that they’re practically climbing the walls. Wait until you hear, “I’m so bored,” over and over in one afternoon. Then, bust out that fabulous program at the most opportune moment.

The easiest programs, in my experience, to do in a pop-up format are crafting and technology. There are craft projects out there that require little set up and almost no instruction, seriously, have you tried perler beads? My teens are obsessed. The same can be said of technology programs, if you have a stash of iPads at your disposal then apps like Quiver, a free 3D coloring app, and Videoshop, an inexpensive and easy to use video editor compatible with most social media platforms for easy sharing, are great for quick, fun programs. It can also be fun to invest in a wireless printer (my library has a Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer). These little printers give teens the option to print their smart phone pictures, which you know they never do, wirelessly with a free app. The images can be edited before printing and they come out looking like tiny polaroids, just begging to be decorated with markers, glitter, washi tape, etc.

Pop Up programming has its challenges, but with a little creativity, flexibility, and enthusiasm you can make sure that your programs are well attended and no teenager is standing around whining about how bored they are. I suggest still having traditional, scheduled programming, but always with a few pop up programs ready to go just in case.  Have you tried pop up programming before? How did it work for you? What kinds of activities have you tried?

For more information and ideas:

YALSA Stem Programming

Teen Programming Guidelines

Determining Teen Needs Through Community Assessment

 

In the craziness of finishing up a week of camp (both for the teens and the younger campers who came in the morning) and heading back to Champaign-Urbana, I didn’t get a chance to write a Friday blog post. However, I’m here for a day five recap and a brief reflection on the week as a whole.

On Friday, we gave the teens more design time on their projects and also, gave them a chance to put their ideas together into a final presentation. A few of the teens made a PowerPoint presentation, giving an overview of their week and how they arrived at their design projects. It was a nice way to summarize the week and reflect back on what they had done.

After a brief dress rehearsal, it was showtime! The director of the Peoria Heights Public Library was there, some 4H staff members (the camp was sponsored through 4H and the University of Illinois Extension), and some of the parents of the teens. Their presentations were both informational and a celebration of their hard work.

And boy, did the teens have some great ideas. Each project showcased the teen’s strengths and their insight. The projects focused on how to make the teen space in the library more inviting for teens. Some focused on the physical space, others on what was in the collection, and others about how to bridge generation gaps between teens and older adults, using the library as the setting. The library director was intrigued by many of the ideas. I was reminded that we need teen perspectives because they have valuable opinions. I would be curious to return to the Peoria Heights Public Library in a few months and see what input was considered and put to use.

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