YALSAblog News of the Month – July 2016

Welcome to the YALSAblog News of the Month. In this post we highlight a few news items from the past month that we think are of interest to staff working with teens in libraries, schools, and youth development organizations.

YALSA @ ALA Annual 2016: Update on Board Meetings, Discussions & Actions

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

As we celebrated our country’s independence last weekend, YALSA, too, has sought to break free from past models of association work and is currently exploring new ways to engage our members that better meet their interests, skills and busy lifestyles.

It was with those #teensfirst  and members’ first ideals in mind that the 2015-2016 YALSA Board approached our work before and during ALA Annual last month as we worked on aligning existing YALSA groups, programs and services with the association’s new Organizational Plan.

Here are some highlights:

– The Board adopted the following consent items, which were items that were discussed and voted on previous to annual, including:

– The Board also approved a more concrete structure to support and revitalize interest groups.

– The Board approved experimenting with new kinds of member engagement opportunities, especially virtual and short-term ones.

As part of its effort to align YALSA’s existing work with the new Organizational Plan, as well as update member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, the Board began a review of all existing member groups at our June meeting.  While the Board was not able complete the review, we did come to decisions about some of the groups.

– The Board agreed that the following committees’ structure and workflow will remain as they currently are:

  • Alex Award Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Board for YALS/YALSAblog
  • Financial Advancement Committee
  • Margaret Edwards Award Committee
  • Mentoring Task Force
  • Michael Printz Award Committee
  • Morris Award Committee
  • Nonfiction Award Committee
  • Odyssey Award Interdivisional Committee
  • Organization and Bylaws Committee
  • The Hub Advisory Board

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YALS Summer 2016 – A Library’s Role in Digital Equity

cover of summer issue of YALS with pathway/map and images related to college career readinessIn the summer 2016 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Crystle Martin’s article on teens and digital equity explains why the library is such a valuable asset when providing access to digital tools and digital learning. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

Research Mentioned
Davison, E., & Cotton, S. (2003). Connection discrepancies: Unmaking further layers of the digital divide. First Monday 8(3).

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education: An introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: MacMillan

DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality. In K. Neckerman (Ed.) Social inequality (pp. 355-400). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital na(t)ives? Variation in Internet skills and uses among members of the ‘Net Generation.’ Sociological Inquiry 80(1), 92-113.

Hargittai, E. (2004). Internet access and use in context. New Media & Society 6(1),137-143.

Hargittai, E., & Walejko, G. (2008). The participation divide: Content creation and sharing in the digital age. Information, Communication & Society 11(2), 239-256.
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NEW ISSUE OF JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON LIBRARIES & YOUNG ADULTS PUBLISHED

The newest issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now published and freely available online at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/. It includes two award-winning papers from YALSA’s Midwinter Paper Presentation series and two additional research papers describing recent research related to teens and library services.

Mega Subramaniam’s paper “Designing the Library of the Future for and with Teens: Librarians as the ‘Connector’ in Connected Learning” won the 2015 YALSA Midwinter Paper Presentation award. In her paper, Prof. Subramaniam describes the basic concepts of connected learning and discusses five cooperative inquiry techniques that librarians can adapt for use in working with teens to design library programs and services. Each technique creates design partnerships between adults and teens, building on the concept of connect learning and enabling teens to take active roles in their own learning and library programming. The five design techniques include: “bags of stuff,”  “mission to Mars,” “layered elaboration,” “big paper,” and “sticky noting.”

Kyungwon Koh and June Abbas received the 2016 YALSA Midwinter Paper Presentation award for their paper entitled: “Competencies Needed to Provide Teen Library Services of the Future: A Survey of Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces.” They discuss their survey of information professionals who manage makerspaces and other learning spaces in libraries and museums. The survey results reveal common job responsibilities and the major skills and knowledge needed for effective management of these spaces. The survey findings have much to teach us as the field of teen librarianship moves toward continued broadening of the role of libraries as informal education institutions.

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Rethinking YALSA: Virtual Town Hall on Monday!

Don’t forget to login on Monday, June 13, 2016, from 2 – 3 pm Eastern for a Town Hall Discussion!

The Town Hall will be about the Organizational Plan that the Board just approved.  See President Candice Mack’s recent blog post for more information.

The Town Hall will be led by Candice and me, and we’ll be joined by many board members, too. The agenda is as follows:

2:00 – 2:15 pm:  Overview of the Organizational Plan & Steps Already Taken

2:15 – 2:45 pm:  Discussion with Participants about Involvement & Engagement Activities

Question to Ponder: What YALSA member engagement activities have you found most meaningful?

2:45 – 3 pm: Q&A and Wrap-Up

If you can’t make it to the virtual town hall, but you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando, we’d love to see you at the session What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It! The session will be on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 am at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04. It will be similar to the virtual town hall, and YALSA’s strategic guru Eric Meade will join the discussion. You can find out more about the Whole Mind Strategy Group in this interview with YALSA Board member Kate McNair.

We’ll be using a format that the Board has been using to meet virtually– Zoom. You don’t have to use video, but it does make conversation easier. And we always love when cute animals accidentally walk in front of the screen!

Email the YALSA Office soon to receive the login information: yalsa@ala.org

YALS – Libraries and Learning: A Resource Guide for “Make, Do, Share”

cover of spring yalsYou should have already or will soon be receiving your Spring 2016 edition of YALS. The topic of the issue is Libraries and Learning. All the articles are excellent but the one that stood out to me was the featured interview with Shannon Peterson, the Youth Services Manager for the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library (KRL). The library received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for their program Make, Do, Share: Sustainable STEM Leadership in a Box.

One of the great things about this interview is that not only did we learn the context of this project (it began with a project called BiblioTEC, sponsored through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation) but also heard about how Shannon and her staff frame the work they are doing. Many times in public libraries, we are so focused on helping our community, we don’t think about the reasoning behind our behaviors. These behaviors and the programming we create can be influenced by the theory we read and the theory we believe grounds our work as librarians. Shannon’s interview was full of all the things she and KRL was thinking of as they created the Make, Do, Share programming.
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Write for YALSA!

Have you considered writing for YALSAblog or the Young Adult Library Services (YALS) journal but are unsure what topic to write about? The YALSA Publications Advisory Board conducted a survey of blog posts and YALS articles from the past few years. Our results show that some topics get much more coverage than others, creating a need for more articles on certain topics and services. Here is a brief summary of our findings and how you can help fill these holes by submitting to the blog or YALS.

Please note that the purpose of the survey was to identify articles and posts that could be compiled into topic-based publications, so we didn’t include articles that were out of date, that were dependent on a theme such as Teen Tech Week, or were otherwise unsuited for a compilation. All results were finalized November 2015 for the YALS survey and March 2016 for the blog survey.

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Teen Research Trending: Mapping “boring” places—Socio-Spatial Research on Libraries

Ee, L. C. (2015). Mapping library spaces: Measuring the effectiveness of school libraries using a sociospatial approach. School Librarian, 63(2), 78-80.

As a PhD student writing a dissertation on geography in YA literature, I am a self-professed map lover. As a member of YALSA’s Research Committee, I’ve found myself increasingly intrigued with the physical and virtual mapping of our libraries and teen spaces. Loh Chin Ee’s 2015 article in School Librarian proposes a socio-spatial approach for librarians and school administrators to better understand how their libraries are being used. From the initial mapping of the physical space, allowing for recognition of resources and spatial relations, to the employment of ethnographic methods (observation, interviewing, and fieldnotes, in this particular study), Ee remarks on an underutilized school library space opening room for future research.

Focusing her study on a secondary school in Singapore, Ee sought to answer why students were under-utilizing the school’s library.  A preliminary report found that 40.9% of the school’s 1,113 students visited the library (and 21.8% visited at least once a week) and Ee remarked that the library felt empty during most of her visits. Ee illustrated a birds-eye view of the library and took pictures of particular spaces within the library, noting how each space was used. Ee recorded the usage of the library through various times of the day (morning, recess, afternoon), and noted that the space was also used as a space for meetings, hosting foreign visitors, and after school detention. Additionally, she interviewed students on their perceptions of the library, as space can motivate desire and action (Moje, Overby, Tysvaer, & Morris, 2008). Students frequently called the library “boring” and the library was seen as both a “dead space” (with little student engagement) and a “negative space” (as associated with detention) (p. 80).

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New issue of JRLYA

Volume 7, Issue 1, of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/all-volumes/.  This newest issue features research papers relating to teens, libraries, and LGBT issues.

In the first paper, “‘They Kind of Rely on the Library’: School Librarians Serving LGBT Students,” author Shannon Oltmann examined school librarians’ perspectives on collecting LGBT materials to show that school librarians generally support collecting them and positioning their libraries as safe, supportive spaces.

With his paper “Sex in the Stacks: Teenager Sex Education Information Seeking Behavior and Barriers to the Use of Library Resources,” Kyle Marshall focused on understanding the information sources teens use to gather sex education information, including curricular materials, interpersonal sources, digital media, and print sources. The teens in his study relied on a wide variety of resources for their sex education information needs, yet none relied on libraries when looking for sex education information.

Moving to a focus on library collections, Elizabeth Chapman and Briony Birdi analyzed 13 British public library collections to look for LGBTQ teen fiction holdings. As the title of their paper, “‘It’s Woefully Inadequate’: Collections of LGBTQ Fiction for Teens in English Public Library Services” suggests, they found generally limited holdings of LGBTQ fiction materials, regardless of library size or budget.

Lastly, in their paper “The Curriculum Materials Library as a Hub of Resources, Literacy Practices, and Collaboration: Expanding the Role of the Library to Support Foster Youth,” Yonty Friesem, Kelsey Greene, and Mona Niedbala show that organizational vision and relationship; structure, responsibilities, and communication; authority and accountability; and resources and rewards are all crucial to the creation and maintenance of successful ongoing collaborations between libraries and other organizations that serve teens.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal. It aims to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support teen 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. If you’re interested in publishing your research in JRLYA, see the writer’s guidelines at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/ or send queries to editor Denise Agosto at mailto:dea22@drexel.edu.

Submitted by: Denise E. Agosto, editor, JRLYA

 

Teen Research Trending: Sparks, Caring Relationships, and Developmental Outcomes for Youth

Ben-Eliyahu, A. & Rhodes J.E. (2014) “The Interest-Driven Pursuits of 15 Year Olds: “Sparks” and Their Association With Caring Relationships and Developmental Outcomes.” Applied Developmental Science, 18, 2 p. 76-89. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.894414

As a practicing teen librarian, I am interested in research that helps me with my interactions with teens and the ability to convey the importance of teen librarians to my community. This research study examines the characteristics of teens’ deep interests and the role that caring relationships have in supporting the development of those interests. Ben-Eliyahu and Rhodes performed an exploratory study to examine how emerging deep interests related to a variety of characteristics including academic outcomes, demographics, social and emotional.

They defined a deep interest as a “spark” using previous definition that Benson and Scales used which was a “passion for a self-identified interest, skill or capacity that metaphorically lights a fire in the adolescent’s’ life, providing energy, joy, purpose and direction.” (p.76) They recruited participants through a Harris Poll Online and included only fifteen year-olds who resided in the United States. The participants received reward points in a rewards program and offered to enter into a sweepstakes. The surveys were self-administered and included 1,860 participants.

The researchers used a latent class profile analysis to determine groups of the participants based on the seven components of sparks such as joy and energy, lose track of time, purpose and focus, skills for career, getting along with others, improve surroundings, and encourage learning. These broke the participants into three groups: no spark, low spark, moderate spark or high spark.

Ben-Eliyahu et. al. had several interesting conclusions. The youth who identified with a wide range of sparks and high intensity had positive associations with supportive relationships. These relationships had positive outcomes. They stated that youth in the Low Spark group reported that their spark was in computers/electronics than the higher Spark groups and they spent more time online. They also reported that the Low Spark group spent more time pursuing interests related to studying, reading or learning. They suggested that these were more solitary activities. The High Spark group, on the other hand, reported interests such as sports, dance, or serving others which were more social.  The researchers suggested that these social activities lead to a rich context for developing peer and intergenerational relationships. These activities also contributed to greater academic success and increase their energy levels and readiness to learn.

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