Research Roundup: Social and Emotional Learning

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you.

While preparing the Research Roundup on Social and Emotional Learning for the Winter issue of YALS, I learned that there would be a flurry of publishing in late 2018 and early 2019 in the field of social and emotional learning. This update highlights some of these developments:

  • The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development released From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope in January 2019. It is the result of two years of study and conversations with experts, practitioners, and parents across the nation. It provides synthesis, case studies and recommendations for future work.  The report makes six recommendations:
    • Set a clear vision that broadens the definition of student success to prioritize the whole child.
    • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
    • Change instruction to teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and school wide practices.
    • Build adult expertise in child development.
    • Align resources and leverage partners in the community to address the whole child.
    • Forge closer connections between research and practice by shifting the paradigm for how research gets done.
  • CASEL’s Measuring SEL: Using Data To Inspire Practice has published a number of research briefs. I found this brief particularly useful: Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. Measuring SEL also hosted two design challenges, which give you the chance to learn about SEL assessment tools developed by practitioners.
  • In December 2018, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published an issue brief Social and Emotional Development Matters: Taking Action Now for Future Generations which gives an overview of key findings and links to reports on specific aspects of SEL that the foundation developed from 2017 until now.
  • The University of Minnesota recently updated its SEL Toolkit. The toolkit uses the Ways of Being SEL Model developed by the University of Minnesota. It focuses on youth in middle school, but provides many activities that can be adjusted for other ages. Many of these activities are applicable to out-of-school time programming.

Submitted by Committee member Bernie Farrell.

New Special-Themed Issue of JRLYA, Vol.10 N.1: Movements that Affect Teens

I am pleased to announce the publication of a special themed issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA). Volume 10, Issue 1 features three papers that examined movements that affect teens through the lens of literature, and how literature reflects certain movements.

#wndb; #metoo
In the first part of a two-part series, Kasey L. Garrison examined the portrayals of various facets of culture in a sample of teen literature from two Australian book awards in her article, “What’s Going on Down Under? Part 1: Portrayals of Culture in Award-Winning Australian Young Adult Literature.” Garrison found that the most prevalent cultural theme was gender, which was situated in stories that focused on issues of harassment or body image.  From her analysis and discussion of culture in this sample, Garrison concluded that Australian literature for teens holds a great deal of potential to serve as the impetus for discussions about social justice issues and movements such as the #metoo movement.

#curestigma; #stigmafree 
Responding to the increasing number of books for teens being published about people with mental illness, Diane Scrofano explored how the narratives of characters with mental illness are being situated. In her article, “Disability Narrative Theory and Young Adult Fiction of Mental Illness,” Scrofano used the narrative categories of restitution, chaos, and quest narratives to understand how characters with mental illness were being portrayed in 50 novels for teens. Scrofano discusses the implications of each narrative category and recommends that librarians and educators try to share more stories of mental illness in which characters have full and meaningful lives beyond their illnesses.

#antiwar
In her paper, “One, Two, Three, Four! We Don’t Want Your F**king War! The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in Young Adult Fiction,” Deborah Wilson Overstreet examined the depictions of the anti-Vietnam War movement in young adult novels, through the lens of three distinct narrative structures. Her findings suggest that the ways in which this sample of books depicts the responses of and to the anti-war movement, may not align with the historical record. Wilson Overstreet concluded her research by discussing the importance of providing today’s teen readers with accurate depictions of activism in order to help readers understand how they can effectively make their voices heard.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.

Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA

Call for Papers for Special Themed JRLYA Issue: Movements That Affect Teens

Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA), the official research journal of YALSA, is currently accepting submissions for a special themed issue. It will highlight research related to Movements That Affect Teens (#metoo, #whatif, #blacklivesmatter, etc.).

Researchers, librarians, graduate students, and others who conduct research related to teens (ages 12 – 18) and libraries are invited to submit manuscripts. Papers describing scholarly research (qualitative, quantitative, or theory development) as well as action research are welcome for peer review and consideration of publication. Papers that report library programs but lack an original research component will not be considered. View the writer’s guidelines. Email manuscripts by December 31, 2018, to the editor at: yalsaresearch@gmail.com.

JRLYA is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with this population.

Tips for Submitting an Article to YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA)

Greetings from the JRLYA Advisory Board! Have you ever thought about submitting an article to #JRLYA, but maybe you need a refresher in how to prepare an article for a peer-reviewed journal?  Well then, this blog post is for you! Following is a list of tips to help you get your work ready to submit:

  1. First, do a bit of research.  If you’re not a regular reader of the journal in question, look at a few articles in some of the previous issues to make sure your work will fit.
  2. Next, carefully read the call for submissions, if there is one, and make sure your article clearly connects to the theme.
  3. If there is no specific theme, make sure that your article is a good fit for the journal.  Is your subject matter appropriate?  (In the case of #JRLYA, does your article report research related to teens (ages 12 – 18) and libraries?)
  4. Carefully read the writer’s guidelines.  Is your paper formatted correctly?  Do you know how and when to submit it, and to whom?  (For #JRLYA, you can find the writer’s guidelines here: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/)
  5. If you are submitting to a journal that primarily publishes research articles (like #JRLYA), rather than a trade journal, is your article written in scholarly language?  Generally, this means more formal, as opposed to conversational, English.
  6. Usually, articles prepared for peer-reviewed journals follow a basic format: Introduction > Literature Review > Purpose/Research Question(s) > Methods > Results > Conclusion(s)
    1. Introduction: the introduction should give a brief overview of the subject matter and a focus for the rest of the paper (the intro is usually around 1-2 paragraphs).
    2. Literature Review: the literature review should summarize the existing body of related work.
    3. Purpose/Research Question(s): here you should state the purpose of the research and/or the research questions that drove the project’s design and implementation (this is generally not more than a paragraph or two).
    4. Methods: what did you do?  What were your methods?  Summarize your approach step by step.
    5. Results: this is where you give your facts and figures – what did the data show?
    6. Conclusions: this is where you tell the audience why they should care about the research you conducted – what did the data analysis bring to light that makes this important? Also, what still needs to be done?
  7. Finally, PROOFREAD! Articles are often rejected due to poor grammar and multiple typos.

Hopefully, this blog post has demystified the article prep process a bit.  We hope that you will consider writing up your project and submitting it to #JRLYA!  You can contact the journal editor at yalsaresearch@gmail.com, and be sure to check out the latest issue at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/!

Research Roundup Blog – Year-Round Teen Services

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you. To match the theme of the fall issue, this column focuses on year-round teen services by examining current articles that share opportunities to mentor teens and support their leadership development.

“The Value of Continuous Teen Services: A YALSA Position Paper” available at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/value-continuous-teen-services-yalsa-position-paper. In April 2018, YALSA published a position paper recommending school and public librarians “support healthy adolescent development, teen interests, and work to help mitigate the issues teens face by providing year-round teen services.” Current research also points to the value of including teens in the planning process to ensure authentic learning experiences and provide young adults with opportunities for leadership and personal growth.

“Adulting 101: When libraries teach basic life skills” available at https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/05/01/adulting-101-library-programming/. A popular new idea in year-round teen services involves teaching basic life skills. Adulting 101 programs might have originally been planned for older patrons, however librarians are reporting high attendance from teenagers. Teresa Lucas, assistant director of North Bend Public Library in Oregon, and library assistant Clara Piazzola “created a monthly series of six programs focused on cooking, finances, job hunting, news literacy, apartment living, and miscellaneous topics such as cleaning an oven and checking engine oil” (Ford 2018). Programming costs are minimal and oftentimes community members volunteer to teach specific areas of expertise. Adulting 101 series provide a meaningful service to teenagers preparing for their future.

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Summer Learning @ Octavia Fellin Public Library

The Octavia Fellin Public Library (OFPL) in Gallup, NM used the funds from the Summer Learning Resource Grant to purchase equipment to begin a Youth Media Lab where tweens and teens would have access to film and audio equipment as well as editing software. At the end of May OFPL was approached by the Miss Navajo Council, Inc. seeking help for creating a multimedia project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of 1868, which allowed the Navajo Tribe to return to their ancestral homelands after being deported to the Bosque Redondo Reservation. We partnered with the organization utilizing our new equipment and community members to create an intergenerational reading of the Treaty accessible to a modern audience.

The resulting project involved 14 community participants (youth and adult) from the community, and historical photographs from the Library of Congress and National Archives. It was shown at 3 commemoration events in Flagstaff, Arizona; Farmington, New Mexico; and Gallup, New Mexico. OFPL also hosted an exhibit detailing the importance of the treaty and its lasting impacts.

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Research on Competency Content Area 9: Outcomes and Assessments

Authored by the YALSA Research Committee

Throughout the current term, the YALSA Research Committee will be looking at Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the lens of research.  Through our posts, we will attempt to provide a brief snapshot of how scholarship currently addresses some of the issues put forth through the standards.

Researching outcomes, libraries, and assessments, the research committee narrowed the research results to three relatively recent studies on outcomes and assessments. The first study examines advantages and disadvantages for end of programs assessments (EPA’s) for LIS master programs utilizing a survey. In the second report the research committee will highlight a case study of a LIS distant learning program with an outcome of over 90% graduation rate and what their assessments look like. The third report looks at a review of recent research of school libraries and the importance of using evidence for successful student outcomes.

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Digging into the IMLS Strategic Plan

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has been an essential resource for libraries and library schools since its inception over two decades ago. According to its mission statement, this agency works “to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant-making, research, and policy development.” On the ground, the work supported by the IMLS takes the form of anything from STEAM programming to data-rich research projects. “Transforming Communities,” the recently published 2018-2022 IMLS Strategic Plan, reviews specific successes and focuses on broader strategies to lead us into the next few years. Certain aspects of the plan—approaches to learning and literacy, library engagement statistics, and serving the under-served—might be of particular interest to library staff who work with youth.

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Engaging with the 2016 Opportunity Index

Since 2011, Opportunity Nation and Measure for America have collaborated to create the Opportunity Index. This expansive report examines economic, social, and geographical data as a way “to help policymakers and community leaders identify challenges and solutions” with regard to education and employment rates. The most recent edition of the Opportunity Index–which spans 2016–has just been released, giving the public better insight into the contributing factors that determine opportunity in a given community. Since one of the goals of this annual study is to be “useful as a tool to create community change,” we wanted to examine this as a potentially rich resource for public libraries, and explore the ways in which library workers might be able to incorporate these findings into our services (Opportunity Nation and Measure of America, 2017).

This is an infographic from the Opportunity Index.

Several aspects of the data taken into consideration for this study prove extremely relevant to library services, and can be cited in conversations of change and adaptation. The index itself is divided into three components: Economy, Education, and Community. In order to address how library staff–specifically those working with youth–might engage with this report, each component will be addressed individually.

Economy

In order to gauge the economic status of each state, the Opportunity Index gathered a wide variety of statistics including those related to median income, unemployment rates, affordable housing, internet access, and poverty line proximity. Many of these factors already affect our daily interactions with library visitors, and we are likely aware of our community’s economic standing simply by working within it. However, understanding how our state measures up compared to the national average might help us prepare ourselves–emotionally and practically–for our interactions with youth. For states like Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Alabama, which fall on the low end of the Economic Index score, this might confirm what some library staff already know about the necessity of their services. However, a deeper understanding of this dataset–and the factors that influence it, like internet access and access to banking–might inform the programming or workshops available. Tangible actions might include increasing accessibility to financial literacy resources, introducing teens to summer work-and-learn programs and resume assistance, or forging connections between internship and volunteer opportunities. After all, a recent Partner4Work study found that “the various types of work experience [young adults] received in their program enabled them to explore career interests, identify new career goals, and even gain access to employment opportunities” (2017).

Education

In the context of the Opportunity Index, the following factors make up the Education component–preschool enrollment, on-time high school graduation, and post-secondary completion. While our youth services might already include test prep or post-secondary information, we can certainly look at where our state falls on these individual scales. This data, combined with the data collected by our own districts, might inform the workshops or resources we offer our young adults and college students. Offering continuing assistance to our patrons as they navigate the college experience might include increased collaboration with nearby academic libraries, or implementing support systems for college students in the area. According to an article published in the September/October issue of Public Libraries, “49 percent of adult Americans don’t know that online skills certification programs are available at their libraries” (Perez, 2017). This knowledge, combined with the data provided by the Opportunity Index, might suggest we increase informational sessions surrounding the rich collections of e-resources and educational tools accessible through our library networks.

Community

The third component of the Opportunity Index is the Community Score. This category is expansive, and takes into consideration factors like access to healthy food, volunteerism, violent crime rates, and group membership. Of particular interest to library staff working with young adults is the “Disconnected Youth” factor, a category describing young people who are not working or in school. Libraries in states with high percentages of Disconnected Youth might compare this data against their own patron base. If these young adults are engaging with library services, this opens up opportunities to provide information about trade programs, employment opportunities, or online education resources. However, if there is a low level of library use among this population, collaboration with community centers and neighborhood resources might be an avenue of outreach to pursue. The Community Score is only a data-based snapshot of the opportunities and gaps within our communities, but examining these factors has the potential to inform the service we provide in positive ways.

Armed with this data, library staff can find new and different ways to work with and for their young adult patron base. There are countless ways to use the Opportunity Index as a platform upon which new programming can be built, and as a catalyst for change within existing services.

 

References and Resources

Opportunity Nation and Measure of America. (2017). “2016 Opportunity Index.” Opportunity Nation. http://opportunityindex.org.

Perez, Amilcar. (2017). “Finding and Partnering with Trainers for Tech Programs.” Public Libraries 56(5): 15-17.

Petrillo, Nathan, ed.. (2017). “How Young Adults Choose a Career Path.” Partner4Work. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZOwyMd0C53F7INlgXvOYb68F-3WznswQsP_Fz9k1zko/edit.

Next Library 2017: An International Library Conference

This summer I had the pleasure of attending Next Library 2017, an annual gathering of library professionals and innovators from around the world with a vested interest in furthering the work of libraries everywhere. With more than 38 countries represented, the conference offers a sneak peek into the inner workings and successes of libraries all over the world. As I found out, it seems libraries, regardless of type and region, seem to share many of the same core challenges: funding, understanding community needs, generating program ideas, staying current with technology, and making connections with those we serve. In many ways, this conference is a celebration of diverse libraries and the great strides they are making despite these challenges and how other libraries can benefit.

Dokk1 Library in Aarhus, Denmark

Here are the highlights:

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