2014 Teen Read Week Site Launch

As part of Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the 2014 Teen Read Week website officially went live today!

Online community members now have full access to a variety of resources to help them plan their Teen Read Week. Individuals who are not online community members yet are encouraged to join for free to gain full access to resources, perks, and monthly updates.

Resources and incentives include:

  • Downloadable low-resolution theme logo
  • Forums: Discuss and share TRW related resources and experiences
  • Grants: Teen Read Week Activity Grant and Teens’ Top Ten Book Giveaway
  • Ready to use planning and publicity tools
  • Products: Posters, bookmarks, manuals, and more
  • Showcase: Share your planned events
  • Webinars : Free access to a live webinar to help you prepare for TRW, as well as archived webinars
  • And more resources and perks to come

The theme this year for Teen Read Week is Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library and will be celebrated October 12-18, 2014. The national spokesperson for this year’s celebration is Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, who stars in the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the book, The Giver, set for release on August 15, 2014.

As libraries shift into full gear to plan for Teen Read Week, authors and publishers are reminded that they can also be involved in Teen Read Week as well. Publishers and other corporate groups can become sponsors to help YALSA build the capacity of libraries to meet the literacy needs of teens. Current sponsors include Blink and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. For more information on how to become a sponsor, please contact YALSA’s Executive Director, Beth Yoke at byoke@ala.org.  Authors can visit the Teen Read Week site for a list of ideas on how they can participate.

For more information about Teen Read Week, visit the Teen Read Week website.

YALSA Staff Appreciation Week

YALSA is a member driven organization and accomplishes amazing things through the dedication and hard work of volunteers. We celebrate this through National Volunteer Week, Volunteer(s) of the Year Awards, a Writing Award, grants, weekly shout-outs, and more.

In the background, staff ensure that all of these things happen and support members in a 1,000 different ways. From securing corporate sponsorships to planning logistics for the YA Literature Symposium, organizing a webinar series to crafting the perfect press release, managing hundreds of member appointments to supporting annual initiatives, the list of the hard (and great) work that they do goes on and on and on. Even if you’ve never met one of these dynamos, there’s no question that each of them has positively impacted your YALSA experience, so let’s celebrate them. The YALSA Board and I have unofficially resolved that this week shall be declared YALSA Staff Appreciation Week! Join us this week to write, tweet, or email your thanks and appreciation for all that they do on behalf of the organization each and every day.  Beth Yoke, Nicole Munguia, Nichole O’Connor, Letitia Smith, Jaclyn Finneke, and Anna Lam, we salute you!

Librarians in Literature

I love reading about librarians in books. Sometimes they are annoyingly stereotypical-the bun-wearning shushing types. But other times they are more true to the librarians I know-creative, energetic, and maybe with some secret powers!

I got excited when I saw an upcoming release, The Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swan Downey. (Sourcebooks, April 2014) The book is  “Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians.” (from Goodreads) It got me thinking about a few of my other favorite librarians in literature.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

-Alcatraz must save the world from the most evil villain there is-librarians! They’re plotting to take over the world and Alcatraz must stop them.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illusrated by Michael Emberly

-Miss Brooks is a great librarian who won’t give up on reader’s advisory-even when she’s faced with the toughest critic.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

-Mr. Lemoncello isn’t a librarian, but he builds an amazing library and employs some great librarians-who happen to be inspired by real life librarians.

Who are your favorite fictional librarians?

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts?  The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens. 

 

 

 

Volunteer for Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees

Now through June 1st YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for the Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees that will begin work Feb. 1st, 2015.  These committees are partially filled by elected spots and partially filled by appointed spots.  The election going on now will determine who will fill the elected spots on the committees.  After the election results are announced on May 2nd, Chris Shoemaker will then need to fill the remaining appointed positions.  If you are interested in one of these committees, the first thing to do is learn all about what the expectations are for committee members.  These resources can help:

YALSA is seeking individuals with the highest ethical standards, a passion for YALSA’s mission and expertise in evaluating YA literature to serve on these committees.  If you feel you have meet the criteria and have the time available to serve on one of these YALSA award committees, you are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form between now and June 1st at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook#form.  In order to be eligible to serve on a YALSA committee, you must be a current personal member.  To learn more about membership, or to join, go to http://www.ala.org/yalsa/join.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Chris at cinf0master@gmail.com

Connected Learning: Connecting with Coaches

energyOver the past two weeks, the YALSA President’s Program task force has been meeting with connected learning coaches who will facilitate discussions in Las Vegas to discuss their experience with and use of connected learning ideas. The diversity of these discussions cemented the feeling that connected learning comes in all shapes and sizes and we can’t wait to hear from you at our program at ALA Annual.

As we dove into discussion with the coaches a few themes kept recurring and we wanted to share them with you. Connected learning is already happening in many libraries, some just don’t have that term in their vocabulary to label what they are already doing. Libraries are poised to be the place where passion-directed learning happens. Already a community hub, we can help connect teens with the resources, mentors and spaces that will help them follow their passions. Now that we know what connected learning is and can see it already happening in our libraries, we can begin to foster it with intention.

As we begin to plan programs, services and classes with connected learning in mind, we have to stay flexible. Self-directed and passion-based learning is difficult to direct without derailing the learners enthusiasm. This is an easier goal for public libraries, who likely do not have to prove the learning happening at their programs, and can let the process take as long as it needs to. Schools face the challenge of identified outcomes to every class or program, but there are some great examples of librarians using the concepts of connected learning to add additional value to their testable outcomes.

Connected learning is happening in all types of libraries, as evidenced by the diversity of our coaches. At A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning they will help participants identify connected learning already happening in their environments, and as a group we will discuss ways to level up what we are already doing. There are small things we can do to bring big rewards to our teens.

If you want to find out more about connected learning please start with the wonderful posts on the YALSA Blog, starting with this one. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning, Monday, June 30,  1-3 pm.

President’s Report

March 2014 President’s Report
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national organization of librarians, library workers, and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens.

Happy National Volunteer Week! YALSA is an innovative, dynamic, and generally awesome organization because of the enthusiasm and dedication of amazing volunteers. Thank you.

Activities
• Led the YALSA Board in a Spring Quarterly conference call meeting.
• With Executive Director Beth Yoke and the Executive Committee, finalized an agenda for the Spring Executive meeting.
• With President-elect Chris Shoemaker and Past President Jack Martin, participated in virtual discussions on topics related to YALSA’s report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. Recordings of all sessions are available on the National Forum webpage.
• Participated in media interviews on Teen Tech Week with NPR, Huffington Post Live, and School Library Journal.
• Discussed candidates with the Executive Committee and held interviews for the YALSA Blog Manager position.
• Discussed virtual engagement needs and possible strategies with Division Presidents.

Updates
• National Library Legislative Day is right around the corner and YALSA wants YOU to participate. From organizing an event to tweeting your senator, there are a variety of ways to make an impact. Check out the YALSA NLLD wiki for links, ideas, and talking points.
• Registration for YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium is open! Join us this November in Austin to learn, connect, and have an amazing weekend with teen librarians, educators, and YA authors from all over the country.
• Gearing up for summer? Join YALSA’s Summer Reading and Learning Ning to check out free webinars, resources, recommending lists and more.
• Looking for some professional development on your lunch break? YALSA has over 40 on-demand webinars that are free to members.
• Share your Teen Tech Week feedback via a brief online survey. We’re looking to get your input by April 15th so we can use it to improve and expand this initiative for next year.
• Our Making in the Library Toolkit has been launched! Thanks to Erica Compton and the Maker Committee for their hard work in creating this amazing resource.
Polls for ALA and Division Elections close April 25th. Don’t forget to cast your vote!

Gratitude
• Thank you to YALSA Membership guru Letitia Smith for her patience and expertise in helping me to coordinate and complete Spring Taskforce appointments.
• Thank you again to all of the fab panelists who participated in the Mondays in March Future of Teens and Libraries series, I’ve learned so much from you! Crystle Martin, Mimi Ito, Renee Hobbs, Ernie Cox, Marijke Visser, Maureen Hartman, Peter Kirschmann, K-Fai Steele, Kafi Kumasi, Vanessa Irvin Morris, Linda Braun, Jan Chapmen, and Sarah Ludwig.
• Thank you to the Summer Reading and Learning Taskforce for selecting this year’s grant recipients. Cheers to the grantees and huge thanks to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for making these member grants possible.

In Feb. membership was at 5,131, which off -1.3% over this time last year. Donations for Feb. totaled $200.

100 Days till Summer Countdown

Join YALSA in counting down to the first day of summer!

To help libraries gear up for summer reading & learning programs, YALSA is hosting discussion forum activities on its Summer Reading & Learning website.

The upcoming discussion forum dates are:
April 8 – Effective School Outreach
May 2 – Building Summer Learning into Existing Reading Programs
May 27 – Tips for Marketing to Teens

On each scheduled date, a forum will be created on the Summer Reading & Learning website with a topic related to summer reading and learning. The discussion activities will be a daylong activity. Interested participants can log on any time during the designated days and take part in the discussion topic by sharing their own stories, resources, ideas, etc. related to the topic. At the end of each discussion activity, participants will also have a chance to win a YALSA gift pack.

For more information about the 100 Days till Summer Countdown, please visit the Summer Reading & Learning website.

Yakama Nation Library: Great Books Giveaway

Yakama Native students could hardly wait to check out new books at the Yakama Nation Library, the latest recipient of YALSA’s Great Books Giveaway. YALSA donates thousands of dollars worth of books every year to qualifying libraries across the United States.

Yakama Native students reviewing new books.

Yakama Native students reviewing new books.

 

The Yakama Nation Library serves 12 schools within a 5-mile radius, and students from all of those schools need access to books and information for reports, language studies, and recreational reading. Before YALSA’s donation, the books on YNL’s shelves were outdated. Now the collection has become richer with a more current range of fiction and nonfiction books and media to choose from.  Continue reading

Self-Directed Programs: Scavenger Hunts

An amazing way to get your tweens and teens to know the “unfamiliar” bits of your library is to do self-directed scavenger hunts. You know that your “kids” tend to congregate to one particular area- whether it’s your teen space, a place with the most comfortable chairs or a low table for card gaming, or the place furthest away from the supervising eyes of the non-teen people at the desk. And while they’ll know where to find the YA books, MAD Magazine and Alternative Press, and manga, do they know where to find non-fiction books for reports? Or how to operate one of the databases? If you become devious and take a little time out of your day, you can take a theme and turn a lesson in the library world into a creative self-directed program that will make them want to participate.

Scavenger hunts can be as intricate or as simple as you want them to be. Think about your current teens and the browsers that you have. What do they like, what things grab them? Do you have a program coming up that you could use this program as a gateway, like a Lego or Rainbow Loom makerspace? Are your teens gearing up for state tests or are you starting to build up for summer? Are you celebrating Free Comic Book Day or Star Wars Day or any of the newer movie releases? Take any of those and create silhouettes or in-house graphics to place around the library- depending on the length you decide your program will be (a day, a week) they can be printed on normal printer paper or card-stock, but they don’t have to last long.

Or, like I did for Teen Tech Week this year, take a page from Gwyneth Jones (http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/2012/05/qr-code-quest-scavenger-hunt-part-deux.html), The Daring Librarian, and go with a QR scavenger hunt! Instead of characters and pictures, make your hunt virtual and hide QR codes around the library for teens to scan and learn. I used ours to introduce our new Ipad and tablets to our tweens and teens.QR Code hunt

Once you have your theme, decide on the length of the hunt. I typically have used 8-10, depending on the size of the library, but you may want to go larger or smaller. Remember your audience- you don’t want them to completely zone out, but you don’t want them to think it’s a “baby” thing, either. Questions I’ve used before have been:

  • Nicely, introduce yourself to a staff member you’ve never met before, and get their initials. (with a picture of the Mad Hatter Tea Party on the reference desk)
  • Horror is a sub-genre of our fiction section, and Carrie is based on a book by this author. Find the author and the book and find your next clue.

So get creative and then sit back and watch the fun!

Submitted by Christie Gibrich

Las Vegas: The New Downtown

As you are making your plans for ALA in Las Vegas, be sure to save some time to see more than just the Convention Center and the Strip. Just minutes north of the Las Vegas Strip lies the downtown area of Sin City. Its laid back atmosphere and hip young crowd are drawing more visitors away from the Strip. The last few years have seen a long-awaited revitalization effort taking place in the downtown area of Las Vegas.Vegas [Photo courtesy of www.sunset.com]

Thanks to the efforts of many investors and entrepreneurs, downtown is cleaning up its old image and bringing more culture, food, and fun to Sin City. The area hosts a series of events throughout the year, like the Vegas Valley Book Festival each fall, First Friday events each month, Vegas StrEATS Food Truck Festival, and most recently the Life Is Beautiful music festival that featured local artists The Killers. Continue reading