JRLYA Down Under!

Last summer, I had the extraordinary opportunity to co-direct a month-long University of Washington iSchool study abroad children’s literature course to New Zealand (also known by its Maori name, Aotearoa) and Australia with Michelle Martin. The course had an Indigenous focus – we met Maori and Aboriginal authors, publishers, librarians, storytellers, and more! Through this immersive experience, all of us — ten grad students, two undergrads, and the co-directors — developed a deep appreciation for the richness and breadth of the children’s literature scene Down Under. Needless to say, I was very happy to see Dr. Kasey Garrison’s JRLYA article, “What’s Going on Down Under? Part 1: Portrayals of Culture in Award-Winning Australian Young Adult Literature,” which brings more of these titles to the notice of readers in the US. You’ll find it in the March 2019 themed issue, “Movements That Affect Teens.”

Articles in JRLYA are wide-ranging in their concerns, and relevant to both practitioners and researchers. With this article, practitioners may focus more on the collection development implications. The two appendices work well for this purpose – librarians can see easily which themes (class, disability, gender, immigration, Indigenous Australians, language, the LGBTQIA community, race/ethnicity/nationality, and religion) may be found in each of the twenty-four book sample, and the article introduces readers to two major awards: the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year for Older Readers (chosen by adults) and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Gold Inky Award (selected by teens). Researchers may be as interested in the method – the article is a critical content analysis – as in the findings.

Looking at portrayals of culture in YA books is timely, considering the robust discussion around diverse books in this country, and the paper extends this important conversation beyond books first published in the US. I am looking forward to Part 2, in which Dr. Garrison will look at the implications of the relatively poor representation of Indigenous Australians in the sample.

Annette Y. Goldsmith
Member, JRYLA Advisory Board

YALSA Community Survey Results

Thank you very much to everyone, both members and non-members, who took the time to fill out YALSA’s Community Survey this past year. The results are in, have been analyzed and passed on to the board for their review. It was great to have so much valuable and thoughtful feedback on what you think is important about YALSA and how it addresses the diversity and inclusivity needs of the people it serves.

Almost a third of the survey participants were either somewhat unfamiliar or not at all familiar with YALSA’s recently updated Teen Services Competencies. Many respondents reported a lack of time or simply not being aware of them as reasons for not implementing or planning to implement the competencies. Others responded that they were not currently working with teens, so the competencies did not apply to them in their current position. The highest rated competency most respondents said they implemented or were working toward implementing was interactions with teens with 68 percent of responses. This was followed by equity of access at 48 percent and teen growth and development at 45 percent.

Survey participants were asked what they saw as the most important work of YALSA and its leadership in the teen services library field. The top three choices were advocacy with 25 percent of responses, equity, diversity and inclusion with 23 percent of responses, and continuing education with 22 percent of responses. Reading and other literacies followed not too far behind with 13 percent. When people were asked what they thought was the second most important work, answers continued to follow this pattern.

The survey also asked people about YALSA’s communication channels in terms of how much they are used and how they keep up with the latest news about YALSA and library/teen services. Most of the responses indicated that people obtain the latest news from YALSA’s website and YALSA E-news with each choice being ranked first by 25 percent of responders. People said they also got their news from other YALSA emails and listservs and their colleagues and friends.

More than half of respondents, totaling 64 percent, were not familiar with YALSA’s updated Intended Impact Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  But when directly asked, about a third of people stated that increasing diversity in YALSA is the most important item on a scale of one to ten. Many different reasons were given for this, which included needing to be more diverse, wanting to reflect the communities they serve, and the importance of having different perspectives.

Some of the other general takeaways from the survey is that many respondents think YALSA is useful and has an important purpose, but the cost is prohibitive for many people. Many participants expressed concerns about the membership price, especially when attached to the cost of ALA membership and whether the benefits of membership were really worth the money. Other respondents felt YALSA mostly caters to public libraries and is not particularly inclusive for school librarians, small, rural libraries, special libraries, certain ethnic groups, demographics and sexual orientations. Some of the suggested solutions to address these issues included hiring more diverse people within the field, offering more conference discounts and grants, academic scholarships and free or discounted memberships, especially to diverse people. Cost was frequently mentioned as a barrier to diversity within the organization.

About 62 percent of survey participants hold a current membership in YALSA. Most of the survey respondents work in a public library, 82 percent are white/Caucasian, most do not speak another language, 88 percent are female, 69 percent are heterosexual, and 84 percent do not have a disability. Survey participants frequently referred to themselves as members of the majority and did not feel they were the right people to answer some of these questions.

The survey received a total of 436 responses.

This post was submitted by Rebecca Leonhard and Kimberly Kinnaird.

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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