YALSA is seeking a Member Manager 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 library programs of all kinds 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 the library community to connect with one another to support and display their efforts to continuously improve their teen programs. The site is expected to have a soft launch in July and a full launch in September. Please note that web developers have been contracted with to build the site. The Member Manager is not expected to have any web site design or development responsibilities.

The Member Manager will work with YALSA's Communications Specialist to ensure the site is relevant, interactive, engaging and meeting member needs for information about innovation in teen programming, as well as participates in the maintenance of the site and work within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Member Manager assists with the recruitment of experts and the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing; and assists with ensuring programming related activities, news and resources from YALSA are integrated in the site, and vice versa.

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The Zula B. Wylie Public Library has been chosen as a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) finalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.   The library was chosen as one of 50 finalists from 335 nominations, for its successful youth after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities learning programs.

The Zula B. Wylie Public Library is a cultural center for the community and provides diverse programming in the arts and humanities.  These highly professional activities include storytelling for youth, piano keyboarding and African drumming classes, art contests with local schools and author signing and book talks.  A themed annual Summer Reading Program is conducted for all ages with a variety of activities designed to encourage reading during the summer. The library also provides support services such as homework help, access to tutoring, and mentoring, career skill development workshops and readers advisory.

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One of the highlighted after school programs that the award winning library provides is the youth storytellers program for students in 3rd through 6th grades.  Approximately 60 students have participated in the storytelling program which was started in 2009 by professional storytellers Traphene Hickman and Toni Simmons.  Storytelling is an age old tradition, not only for entertainment, but to teach lessons, values and morals, to motivate and innovate and to pass on culture and heritage.  Storytelling provides the opportunity for oral expression of ideas, teaches public speaking skills and exposes students to a wide variety of literature from different cultures.

For more information regarding the Zula B. Wylie Public Library’s youth after-school and out-of-school programs please visit www.cedarhilllibraries.org.

 

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

May the fourth be with you. Today is May 4 and that can only mean one thing -- it's Star Wars Day! A nod to the phrase "May the force be with you" from the movies, today is a day for fans to celebrate their favorite franchise. Not to be confused with Star Wars Reads Day which has been held in October (October 6 in 2012, October 5 in 2013, and October 11 in 2014) to celebrate reading, Star Wars Day grew out of a grassroots movement started by fans and gained the support of Lucasfilm Ltd. With the release of the newest film Episode VII: The Force Awakens debuting in December, the excitement surrounding the Star Wars saga is on the rise. Over the past week, many libraries have been preparing for today, sharing Instagram sneak peeks of displays and programs. Enjoy your Star Wars Day celebrations, but beware of the Revenge of the Fifth tomorrow...

In addition, this past Saturday, May 2 was Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). Held on the first Saturday of May since 2002, FCBD is a single-day celebration of comics during which participating shops, libraries, and schools distribute free comic books. From hosting library Comic Cons to crafting with recycled comic book pages, this year's participating libraries offered a variety of activities in addition to free comics.

Did you hold an event for Star Wars day or participate in Free Comic Book Day? We want to hear from you! How did you spotlight your Star Wars collection for your teens and which programs did you offer? For FCBD, how did you obtain your comic books? How did you get the word out to your community?


For more information about Star Wars Day and the upcoming movie release, visit the official Star Wars website at: http://www.starwars.com/

For more information about Free Comic Book Day, visit the official website at: http://www.freecomicbookday.com

 

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I can take no credit in the creation of my library's longest-running teen-led program (teen programming guideline 3), and only a little for it's continued existence since I took it over in 2007. Project Playbill is an intense, 5-week summer theater program. Teens meet together at the library three days a week to write, produce and perform an original short play. Besides the inherent value in their participation, we also entice them with volunteer service credit.

In 2008, My then-supervisor told me that I could cancel Playbill if more teens didn't participate, because it sucks up a tremendous amount of time. In fact, because Playbill depends on teen leadership and labor to run, the fewer teens who show up, the more work I end up doing. That's one of the reasons why no teen is ever turned away: you can't host a teen-led program without teen participation. For the first couple of years I ran it, attendance hovered around five teens. I seriously considered putting Playbill out of its misery.

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YALSA’s recently updated Teen Programming Guidelines encourage the use of evidence-based outcome measurement as a means of developing meaningful programs for young people. The Public Library Association - through its latest field-driven initiative, Project Outcome - is also working to assist with librarians’ efforts to capture the true value and impact of programs and services. At ALA Annual 2016, PLA will launch Project Outcome, designed to help any programmer measure outcomes beyond traditional markers such as circulation and program attendance. Instead, Project Outcome focuses on documenting how library services and programs affect our patrons’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors. It will help librarians use concrete data to prove what they intuitively know to be true: Communities are strengthened by public libraries and patrons find significant value in library services.

Lessons from the Field:  Skokie (IL) Public Library

At Skokie Public Library, we participated in the pilot testing of Project Outcome in the fall of 2014 by administering surveys for 10 different programs. The surveys were conducted online, on paper, and through in-person interviews. In one example, teens attending a class about biotechnology were interviewed using a survey designed to measure outcomes for “Education/Lifelong Learning.” Participants ranked the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements measuring knowledge, confidence, application, and awareness. Results showed that 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something helpful, while only 43% agreed or strongly agreed that they intended to apply what they just learned. The results demonstrated some improvement in subject knowledge, information that can be useful for advocacy. But it also revealed that there’s room for growth in ensuring program participants understand how they can apply what they’re learning. In an open-ended question asking what they liked most about the program, teens mentioned the chemical experiments conducted during the program. This type of data is something that we can pay attention to when planning future programs.

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One of my favorite sections of the Teen Programming Guidelines (is it nerdy to have favorite sections?) is "Align programs with community and library priorities." But you have to be deeply involved with community agencies and activities in order to be ready to act on the community's priorities as they arise. This sounds obvious (and it is!), but it's taken me a few years to figure it out.

Several years back my coworker and I began working with the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP). SYEP is a city agency that places youth with barriers in paid internships in a variety of environments in city government and the private sector. It also provides them with job training and academic support. We worked with SYEP staff to design a curriculum that would build the interns' digital and information literacy skills. We were sometimes surprised by the needs identified by SYEP staff and the interns' employers: touch typing, for example, and basic MS Word. We learned a lot about putting our own assumptions aside.

Over the years, we continually evaluated and adjusted the program. We dropped some pieces and added others to make it as relevant as possible to the youth's needs and the needs of their employers. Mayor YEP Logo

This year, Seattle's mayor put forth a huge Youth Employment Initiative in which he asked SYEP to more than double the number of youth placed in jobs over the summer. Suddenly, the community had spoken: youth employment was a major need. Because we already had an ongoing relationship with SYEP, the library was poised to expand the partnership to serve more youth with our trainings. We also helped in other ways, like providing meeting rooms for SYEP staff trainings. Next summer, the mayor intends to make the program five times larger than it is this year (eep!), which will present a huge opportunity for library involvement.

Of course, being in the right place at the time is always partly a matter of luck. But you can't be lucky if you're not out there.

Before last summer, whenever I heard the term "teen-led programming," this feeling of ennui would descend upon me like a black cloud.  Okay, I exaggerate a bit, but let's just say I felt . . . defeated.

I loved the concept.  How exciting to have programming not only for teens, but led by teens!  What better way to offer programming that is relevant and exciting for them?  But even with an active Teen Advisory Board, I had never been able to make it happen.  No one ever had the time, commitment, or desire to do the work of leading a program.

Then, last summer I planned and facilitated a Teen Writing Camp that was well attended by both teen program regulars and newbies.  We did all kinds of writing exercises, talked to YA authors via Skype and in-person visits,  ate snacks, and generally had a great time.  And then it was over, and we all moved on to other things.

That's when the ennui-busting magic happened.

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When we plan programs for teens, how do we create programs that will teach them something useful, but still fun and exciting? We can search the web, ask our colleagues for ideas, and look in old library school textbooks, but, ultimately, our journey begins with the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents.

When we look closely at the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents, the general framework focuses on the external and internal assets that can be found in a teen’s environment, which helps them develop. According to the Search Institute:

“The 40 Developmental Assets follow “building blocks of healthy development—known as Developmental Assets—that help young children grow up healthy, caring, and responsible”

What’s great about these developmental assets is that we already offer programs that support one or more of these assets.  Although we can’t hit every single asset (much to our chagrin), we can cover many of these building blocks by creating programs that ensure our teens are getting the support, encouragement, and opportunity to grow and learn in the library; by incorporating several developmental assets within our programs, we can help teens discover new things, which will inspire and entice them to come into the library with their friends to learn more. If we want to lure new teens, and current teens, I highly recommend introducing these programs during the annual summer reading program.

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Staffing situations vary from library to library based on a number of factors including population served, budget, and organizational structure. So who gets to staff programs? YALSA's guidelines lay out a number of considerations to take into account whenever making staff and volunteer assignments for a program, no matter our size or structure. Points 6.3 and 6.5 in particular consider the different roles that staff and volunteers take.

6.3: Consider which tasks are best suited to librarians and which are more suited to paraprofessionals, community partners and mentors, adult volunteers or Friends of the Library, and teen volunteers and participants.

With any program, someone needs to take the leadership role and accept responsibility for everything (the good and the bad) that comes of it. I find this is most often the person (usually a librarian) who pitches the program, and who believes in it enough to carry through with it. Whether hiring a presenter or relying on a crew of regular volunteers, the program leader needs to know (or find how to find) the answers to any question anyone may have about it from the time it first goes on the program schedule to three weeks afterward, when someone calls to ask when the next one will take place. The librarian leading a program is also most often the person charged with enforcing the rules as in, "Sorry, this a teen program for teens only."

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Texas A&M Commerce Habitat for Humanity photo of two teen girls working on a houseI've been thinking a lot lately about what we mean when we say "teen program." When I started in libraries a teen program was a very specific thing - for the public library it was an out-of-school time event that teens might be involved in creating, and that always had a beginning, a middle, and an end. (Coming up with an idea, planning out the idea, implementing the idea.) It might be a yoga program or a duct tape program or a how to get into college program or a series on creating robots. All very specific and focused. Once the one-off program or series was over that was it, we moved on to the next "program." As I continue to think about teen services in light of the YALSA Programming Guidelines and the YALSA Future of Libraries for and with Teens: A Call to Action report, I am more and more convinced that we don't serve teens as successfully as we might by defining "program" in such a narrow way.

Instead, we need to think more broadly and focus on a larger-scale framework that focuses on specific outcomes and enables library staff working with teens the ability to meet a variety of teens' interests and needs and at the same time give teens opportunities to gain skills that help them to succeed in life.
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