In mid-November I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Changes Everything™ national conference on summer learning and have been thinking ever since about the library’s role in this area and what the impact is for teens. First, I think it’s important to point out a few things:
- The summer of learning concept is not new. It might be new to libraries but it has been around for awhile. In 2000 the Center for Summer Learning was created by Johns Hopkins – a spin-off of a successful project they had going on in Baltimore – and in 2009 the Center became the National Summer of Learning Association.
- The idea behind the summer of learning is to help students of all ages keep up in a variety of subject areas during the summer months. This of course includes reading, which libraries have focused on for a long time, AND math (another area in which young people lose skills over the summer), and really all other subject areas that young people need to keep up on in order to not fall behind by the start of a new school year in the fall.
- Many school districts, community based organizations, funders, and local agencies are looking at ways to stop the summer slide in math, reading, STEM area,nutrition and more. The library needs to partner with those institutions in order to serve teens successfully. (more…)
In response to President Obama’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ campaign in 2010, in order to improve student’s participation and performance in STEM, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and MacArthur Foundation teamed up to offer planning and design grants to libraries and museums throughout the country. “The Labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.”
YALSAblog contacted all of the grantees to learn more about these exciting plans and partnerships with their organization. While the details for each place varied, especially by incorporating the local significance to the services and programs, there were several aspects that were pretty uniform across the board. Some of these tenets include the importance of teen input, mentorship (peer and adult), Connected Learning, principles of HOMAGO and of course over-the-moon enthusiasm for supporting teens and giving them all opportunities to become successful adults.
Today we will read about the Dallas Learning Lab in Texas which is a partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science from Nicole Stutzman Forbes, Chair of Learning Initiatives and Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education (firstname.lastname@example.org). Twitter: @nicstutzman (more…)
DeSTEMber is sponsored by Girlstart, an organization whose mission involves empowering girls to continue STEM studies, an ambitious goal considering the White House estimates only a mere 24% of scientists and engineers are women. If you’re not particularly science-oriented, promoting STEM can seem daunting, bit Girlstart’s associated website provides a wealth of programming ideas, many in online modules, as well as an archive of DeSTEMber content from 2012. There are synchronous guest lectures planned from many top-flight science centers and zoos around the country as well, so all you have to do is dial in.
Ways to connect with DeSTEMber 2013 from Girlstart:
1. Join Girlstart’s exclusive ‘Girlstart for Educators’ Google+ community‘ to receive our DeSTEMber activities before we release them to the public.
2. Request to get your classroom involved to participate live with virtual guest speakers here.
3. Download State and National Standards aligned DeSTEMber calendar here: 2012 and 2013.
4. Follow #deSTEMber to share your classroom photos on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
5. Click here for DeSTEMber 2012!
The YALSAblog will join in DeSTEMber throughout the month, sharing exceptional STEM programming and resources for teens and tweens. And Kelly Czarnecki will be highlighting a range of Learning Labs supported by the Macarthur Foundation, and your imagination is bound to be sparked by these spaces and programs in museums and libraries across the country. We hope this constructivist movement will provide a nice antidote to the consumerism of the season.
The tweens at my library love the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. With so many fans, I knew this series would be great for a program. For my program inspiration, I used several of the activities in Art2-D2′s Guide to Folding and Doodling. I was nervous about putting on an origami program, because I am not very skilled at origami myself.
I set up the room with origami paper and additional supplies we would need for drawing our own comics as well as print outs of how to do some of the more difficult origami folds. Nine tweens gathered on a Sunday afternoon at my library to learn how to do origami and talk about the series.
We started the program out by talking about the book series and why they liked it (it’s funny and they liked the drawings throughout). About half of the group had read the books, the other half were attending the program either for the Star Wars or origami aspect. I started the group out with the simple five fold Origami Yoda that the author has posted to his website. This also gave me a good way to gauge how well the group could handle origami. Most of them had some trouble getting started but quickly figured it out. Once we made our Origami Yoda’s, we talked about the books some more and talked about favorite characters (Origami Yoda was the ultimate favorite character). While some of the origami was a bit complicated, the group stuck with it and they tried their hardest to complete Darth Paper and Origami R2-D2. In addition to origami, we made eraser Wookies and learned how to draw a simple Darth Vader helmet, both from the Art2-D2 book. (more…)
by Mirele Davis and Elizabeth Savopoulos
In order to spark more interest in recreational reading, our school library decided to throw an Ender’s Game party in anticipation of the release of the Ender’s Game movie. Our library at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School had never had an event like this in its history, and we were proud to be the pioneers. The goal, we decided, was to stimulate student interest in reading the book and in reading for pleasure in general. We began preparing a month in advance, posting announcements on our website, putting up flyers around the school, and making special announcements during lunch-time and advisory meetings.
We selected a student who was enthusiastic about the project to take on a formal participatory role in planning the event. He attended planning meetings, helped with advertising, and contributed to the overall vision and goals of the event. We advertised a space-themed party that would include neon snacks, space-themed video games, a spaceship Lego building contest, and a simulated laser-tag battle based on the tournaments in Ender’s Game. (more…)
by Eleanor Guldbeck
Have you been running teen events for years at your library but want to try something bigger? Would you love to see hundreds of teens invade your library? Are you ready to shake up your library a bit and have a completely new event? Do you want an excuse to have a rock band play at your library, have a zombie walk, and have a karaoke contest on the same day? Young adult librarians all have experience putting together fun, quirky and amazing programs for teens. The trick is to bundle these activities together on one day, make them bigger, better, and louder and add a few extra special events.
As Young Adult Librarians know, there aren’t many places teens can hang out, much less attend a safe and fun all-day festivals. There are many Family Festivals out there but very few festivals just for teens. The Miami–Dade Public Library System has been attracting over 1,000 teens to the Teen Zone Festival for the past five years. Over the years we have featured teen rock bands, speed haiku, video gaming tournaments, manga giveaways, Hunger Game Crafts, book discussions, Cosplay contests, story slams, Steampunk crafts, zombie walks and more.
I want to share with you some of the tips we have learned over the years.
Prepare a Timeline
You already know that you are better off planning this event months in advance. There are a lot of decisions that you will need to make right away, like the date, the location, the budget, and the staffing level. Plus, there may be many deadlines that you can’t control such as marketing, permits, contacting authors or booking a local band. (more…)
On behalf of the MAE Award Jury
Do you run a spectacular teen book club that engages underserved audiences? Did your summer reading program or literature festival connect teens with literature in an innovative way? Have you connected teens to literature or helped them gain literacy skills via some other exciting means? If so, you could win $500 for yourself and an additional $500 for your library by applying for award. Individual library branches may apply.
YALSA members who have run an exceptional reading or literature program in the 12 months leading up to Dec. 1, 2013 are eligible to apply for the MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, which recognizes an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults.
The MAE Award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Applications and additional information about the award are available online. Applications must be submitted online by Dec. 1, 2013. For questions about the award, please contact the jury chair, Laurie Amster-Burton. The winner will be announced the week of Feb. 9, 2014.
Not a member of YALSA yet? It’s not too late to join so you can be eligible for this award. You can do so by contacting YALSA’s Membership Marketing Specialist, Letitia Smith, at email@example.com or (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390.
Recognize the great work you are doing to bring teens together with literature and apply today
As you might recall from my blog post last month, I recently switched gears in my professional life. After seven years of working with teens in public libraries, I am now an elementary school librarian in a large, urban public school. I’ll be writing a series of blog posts about how the two jobs intersect. This month I’m discussing programming and how it relates to what I do in my current job.
When I was a teen services librarian, I had a love/hate relationship with programming. The thrilling highs when tons of happy faces exited the library after a successful venture didn’t always make up for the crushing lows when nobody showed up for the program I’d spent time and taxpayer dollars on.
Still, I had supportive management who let me try lots of different things and tailor my programming to whatever teens were asking for. When I sat down to figure out what I’d be offering in the coming months, I was only bound by my own imagination and what I knew would appeal to teens. Whatever worked I was free to continue, and whatever tanked, I was free to abandon. If the program served only to entertain teens, that was okay. There didn’t need to be an educational angle or goal to guide the program. (more…)
As a librarian working with teens, I often think of one of my most important roles is encouraging connections between young people and the wider world. I’ve done a project where students up-cycled magazines into PostSecret-type confessions to unburden themselves, but even looking for PostSecret examples to share with teens can be a little like Russian roulette, given that so many of the messages are NSFW.
A new book by Keri Smith, encourage users to use the public postal mail format to share in a more targeted way. Smith, the creator of Wreck This Journal, uses a similar creative scaffolding in her new project Everything is Connected: Reimagining the World One Postcard at a Time (Perigee; October 1).
Smith’s partially-designed postcards offer space for readers to confess their secrets, become superheroes, travel through time, create a secret identity profile and interact with people yet unknown. And it will provide teen librarians with an easy, fool-proof programming resource, as well a great jumping-off point for conversations about the shared challenges of the human condition.
The result of the postcards, Smith hopes, is a deviation from life as usual and the discovery of human connections—new and old.
Everyone’s talking about STEM (or the arts-added version showcased in the October issue of School Library Journal), and YALSA’s STEM task force produced an updated toolkit earlier this year to provide 41 pages of STEM programming resources just for young adult librarians.
If you’re stumped for ideas and looking how to integrate science, technology, engineering and math into your program schedule, look no further than YALSA’s STEM Toolkit.
It includes step-by-step program plans, advocacy information if you need to justify your program plans, resources, and dozens of ideas to get your program going. Chock-full of research on best practices and “why” STEM should be a priority for library professionals, the toolkit highlights the importance of developing a thorough program plan and guides you through initial brainstorming efforts to an adaptable teenprogram evaluation. Passive and active programming ideas from around the country are included,including three immediately replicable projects.
Check it out today! And thanks to STEM Task Force Member Jennifer Knight for the heads-up on this great resource.