This post is part of a series where the YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in “mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.
Today we will listen to a conversation about the Philadelphia Free Library Foundation Learning Lab from K-Fai Steele (pronounced Kay-F+eye), Teen Programming Specialist SteeleK@freelibrary.org. (more…)
Full confessions: I’m terrible at video games. I lack the hand/eye coordination needed to work magic with the controllers. But I like to watch gamers. I know I need more practice, and I think that I would love gaming if I didn’t get so frustrated. It’s a vicious cycle.
Gaming in the library seems to come in cycles. First there was the DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and Guitar Hero, big spectacles that could be as much to watch as to play. Librarians raved about those parties. Then there was the Wii games – specifically, sports with teens (and also with seniors). Once a niche event, National Gaming Day has expanded and evolved into International Games Day.
This year Minecraft programs have swept through libraries around the country, but the Darien Library in Connecticut took it to the next level, scaling up to make the gaming experience even better. They host a county-wide server. (more…)
Data-driven decision-making. Research-based programming. Outcomes-based planning. Are these some familiar phrases around your library, school, or organization? Do you know how to incorporate research and data about teens into your library services and programming? The YALSA Research Committee’s new project is aimed at helping YALSA members make connections between research about teens and best practices for programming, services, and library advocacy.
This Fall, our committee been curating a collection of existing research related to the lives of young adults. This effort isn’t so much about finding data on young adults and library use, but if you are interested in research related more specifically to teens and libraries, technology, and literacy, be sure to review the most current YALSA Research Bibliography, annotated and organized according to the YALSA Research Agenda.
To complement the Research Bibliography, our committee searched for research and statistics on topics to help inform librarians and their work with teens. (more…)
by Paulina Haduong
I’m an Ed.M. Candidate in Technology, Innovation, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This semester, I’ve been a student with Library Test Kitchen, a library innovation class at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I’m working on a class project right now that’s designed for teens and YA librarians, and I’d love to get some input!
For the last few months, I’ve been fascinated by the YA GoodReads community, and the recent trend of using GIFs in book reviews. To that end, I’ve been developing a kind of “photo booth” for use in a library’s teen room. The gist of the concept is that teens (or anyone, really), would be able to scan a book and make a selfie-GIF as a #bookfeel. I’m playing around with the idea here, and the outputs are on this Tumblr. In theory, the app would sit on a computer inside of a cardboard photo booth.
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.
by author Jill Williamson
What’s a friend or family member to do when a loved one has gone astray? Should we speak up? Let them know what we think of their reckless behavior? Or do we avoid confrontation and simply try and be a good friend, waiting until our loved one is ready to ask for help or confide in us?
Is there an in-between for teens? Is there a perfect answer?
In my book Captives, Omar, the youngest of the Elias brothers, makes a deal with the enemy, hoping to carve out a better future for himself. But his plan backfires when Safe Lands enforcers kill dozens of his village people. Omar is left bearing the title of traitor, hated by many who were once his friends. This wasn’t how things were supposed to happen. The guilt is overwhelming.
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…)
As I work with students and teachers, I keep close tabs on my email and RSS feeds throughout the day. It’s not killing time, it’s keeping up, and it’s essential to my work as a school librarian. And I’m just as quick to respond to a request from a colleague thousands of miles away as to help those in my building. And when I have a question, I throw it out to my PLN, educators and librarians across the country and around the world using a vast variety of networks, automation systems, and applications in a diverse range of settings. And the response is always useful, and often thought-provoking.
It’s what’s called being a Connected Educator, and this is how it’s described by the eponymous organization: ”Online communities and learning networks are helping hundreds of thousands of educators learn, reducing isolation and providing “just in time” access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration. However, many educators are not yet participating and others aren’t realizing the full benefits. In many cases, schools, districts, and states also are not recognizing and rewarding this essential professional learning.”
I’d venture to say that many school librarians were connected educators before connected educators were a thing.If you’ve worked in this field for more than a decade, I’m sure you can remember earlier incarnations of burning up the bush telegraph, via listservs, gopher-esque discussion boards, or text-based email between buildings or across the state. Then blogs and RSS started cropping up, making it even easier to pull the information you want, rather than just the information you need, or to push your own information to others.
So many youth services librarians work alone — as either the only information professional, or the only teen specialist, in a larger institution. And I hope that our professional preparation armed us for combating this this isolation. I remember signing up for two listservs as a requirement in an introductory class in library school in the late 1990s. I chose one for art librarians (I had majored in art as an undergraduate) and one for newspaper librarians. And I now know ridiculous amounts about working in those type of special libraries, just because of that passive exposure years ago.
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…)