*Please note that the PPYA and Amazing Audiobooks Committees are virtual. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

Past-President Chris Shoemaker noted in his blog post last month that the YALSA Board adopted a new policy about serving on YALSA award committees (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey & Printz).  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they are eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee.

If you have been on selection and award committees before, please consider volunteering for the new Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (more info can be found in this board document).  This new committee needs experienced YALSA members to serve as liaisons and to standardize policies and procedures for selection and award committees.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by Oct. 1, 2015. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
  • If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (so I know you're still interested and want to do serve another term)
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
  • Need more information? Click on the links above. Check out the Committee FAQ.  Watch the Selection Committee Webinar.
  • Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail .com.

Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!

Title: Specimen: A Game About Color
Cost:  Free
Platform:  iOS

If, like me, you've always loved the paint chip aisle at your big box hardware store of choice -- the orderly color squares andSpecimen rectangles, the fun color names, the act of comparing a Bubblegum Pink and a Primrose Blush until you can see their subtle differences plainly -- you, too, might think you'd be a whiz at a game that's only objective is the matching of colors. If so, I wish you better luck than I've had.

Specimen: A Game About Color is a color-matching game that puts your eye for color to the test. Instead of gazing at rows of orderly paint chip samples, players are called to match jellybean-like blobs of color floating in an inner circle to the color that fills the screen outside the circle, all while a timer ticks away the seconds.

The game gets tough pretty quickly, though you can earn extra lives by showing exceptional skill, and the addition of special blobs in the higher levels allow you to do things like detonate two color blobs at once (or so I hear.) Lives and special blobs can also be purchased through the app to further gameplay.

At first glance, a color-matching game might not seem to lend itself to library programming, but for those libraries with Apple devices, Specimen could be an unexpected addition to an art-based STEAM program. And much more fun than staring at paint samples.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know.  And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

 

Another good day at the Teen Design Lab. We had a pretty free form day, complete with some inspiration, project time, and stickers.

What we did:

  • Watched some library related humor videos (such as Check It Out made by the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library — what a great job they did incorporating Taylor Swift into EVERYTHING). These videos served as inspiration and a potential design project. We wanted to give teens the option of making a video parody to promote the library.
  • Then it was design time. This is the neat part of the camp. We just let the teens be, serving really only as sounding boards and offering words of encouragement. We provide laptops, paper, pens, and other design supplies (such as clay, building blocks, felt, etc) so they can create a prototype of some sort. It was neat to see the teens find their element — some needed to make something with their hands while others made detailed dream plans and steps to success charts. The design process also the teens to showcase their talents and strengths, which is awesome. At the same time, we are aligning with library and community priorities — giving suggestions on how to make the teens feel welcome or participate in their community and or library.
  • The day ended with a sticker workshop. Again, this pulls from Makerspace and Fab Lab ideas and equipment (check out the Maker & DIY Programs YALSA Wiki page for more information about this sort of programming). It was an easy setup — laptops running Silhouette software, Silhouette vinyl cutters, and vinyl for the stickers. It’s another workshop where the teens really have free reign over what they want to do. Our only suggestion was using a silhouette image for the cleanest cut. The teens really took off on this project, most printing multiple sets of vinyl. They picked up on it pretty quickly (and a few had done this before). It was a nice way to end the workshop.

The teens will be back tomorrow, continuing to work on their designs and then give a brief presentation to their peers and community members we’ve invited to come so the teens’ opinions can be heard!

Back for day two reflection! We added one more teen to the group, bringing our total up to five. Today was a heavy work day, although we were taking into consideration the request from the teen for more projects.

The afternoon began with working on something for the internet. We gave the teens three options: make a Facebook post for the Peoria Heights Public Library page (since our camp takes place at this library), make a blurb that could go up on the Richwoods Township website (since Roger came from the township to talk to us yesterday), or create a Google Map with pins at places they had visited on the community tour on Monday. More on that in what went well and what could be improved. 

Then, the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab made an appearance (and they are team members in this larger grant helping to pay me and my co-teachers to develop and run this camp). They brought along a friend, aka a portable laser. Holly, one of the Fab Lab instructors, led the five teens though designing a notebook cover to be lasered on a small Moleskine notebook. It was a great workshop and the teens had to find a quote they liked. We can definitely think of this workshop as a way to develop interest-based, developmentally appropriate programs that support connected learning. The teens had full say in what their notebooks looked like and this design process exposed them not only to design tools, but file management, USB procedures (like eject USB before physically removing it), and exposure to technology they might not have seen or used before.

With the notebooks begin lasered, the teens then did Hack Your Library. Essentially, they each had a clipboard, pencil, and a bunch of post-it notes. They were to carefully and thoughtfully go through the library, writing down on the post-it notes what they liked about the library, what they didn’t like, and things that surprised them (very similar to what they did the day before in downtown Peoria Heights). The afternoon ended with the teens presenting their findings to the group. The director of the library who we’ve been working closely with couldn’t sneak away to hear the presentation but was looking at the feedback on our way out after camp was over.

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Hi everyone! So I wrote a post on Friday about an upcoming camp I was helping to plan. During the afternoons this week, we are leading a Teen Design Lab camp. Our general objectives for the camp are:

  • Help youth learn about the community through exploration
  • Engage youth in contributing to community problem-solving
  • Learn about digital media and technology

I’ll be leading a week long reflection series about how the camp goes with the teens each day and how what we are doing fits in while YALSA’s programming guide. I’ll try to have the reflection post every evening, although this first post is the morning after (since the first day is full of craziness, debriefing, and figuring out where to get dinner).

Day One 

What we did:

  • Spent some time on designing a roadmap for the week (see photo). Ann had written this roadmap for the week in terms of the themes of the projects we would be working on and then what skills and outcomes we were hoping for. This roadmap was partially empty and in the picture, you can see we asked questions and got answers from the teens to fill in the roadmap.
  • Community tour. We had the teens go out into the Peoria Heights downtown area and observe what they liked about the area (and what teens might like about this area), what they thought was problematic or what they didn’t like about the area, and then what questions they had or what surprised them about something they saw. We also sent them out with iPad Minis to take photographs with. We encouraged them to talk to store owners and ask questions. The facilitators wandered around the downtown area as well, but we really let the teens do their own thing. We will use this feedback for future design projects this week.
  • Spoke with the township administrator, Roger, (we had met him previously and he gave us input in how he hoped the camp would run). He talked about his beliefs in doing community engagement and some of the neat projects the Richwoods Township had done recently.

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A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

During the summer months, some librarians and library workers experience a lull or even an entire "break" (I use the word loosely, fellow school librarians); however, many teen services librarians are in the middle of a whirlwind of programming. It would be appropriate to save the summer reading wrap-up for the end of the summer, but this is a great time to check-in with programs and other services. If you work with teens during the summer months, how do you maintain your enthusiasm for programming? How have teens responded to non-summer reading programs and events? Please share tales of your own programs - successes and failures, highlights and lowlights - in the comments below!

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A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between July 18 and July 23 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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I'm very proud of all the work that the 2014-2015 YALSA Board has accomplished, and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our work from Annual last month.

  • The board approved the proposed Professional Values document, which outlines nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries
  • The board discussed Member Recruitment and directed the Standing Board committee on Member Recruitment & Engagement to explore the issue further and bring recommendations back to the board
  • The board discussed ways that YALSA might better support members in their Collection Development  and content curation efforts and determined a first step would be to compile resources on YALSA’s wiki
  • The board passed a policy designed to encourage a broader segment of the membership to participate in Selection Committees .  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016 any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they’re eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee
  • The board voted to establish an Award & Selection Committees Oversight Committee to help ensure that these committees have the support they need to run smoothly
  • The board decided to put a proposal to the membership to vote on tying YALSA Dues to the Consumer Price Index, which will appear on the 2016 ballot
  • The board got an update on what is being done to align resources and activities with the Futures Report
  • The board approved a petition to establish a Teen Mental Health Interest Group.

To learn more, check out the Board agenda and documents as well as the meeting minutes.

At the conclusion of the board meeting, I turned over the reins to Candice Mack, who will be the awesome 2015 – 2016 YALSA President.

The Board’s next meeting will be at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Jan. 8 – 12. We're looking forward to seeing YALSA members in Boston! And remember, YALSA's YA Services Symposium is coming up in Portland, Oregon, November 6 - 8.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an amazing association and I enjoyed working with you all this past year!

Title: 1010!
Cost:  Free
Platform:  iOS and Android

In these summer days of heat and travel and waiting in lines for things, I often find myself opening a file on my phone titled 1010 logo"Meditation Games" -- games like Candy Crush, Dots, and 2048 that help me shut my mind off when I'm stressed or worried, or just block out the world when I need a break. 1010!, a minimalist puzzle game by Gram Games, is the newest addition to my meditation game arsenal.

1010! is essentially a modern-day version of Tetris, without the stress of the falling blocks and the timer.  Hit the green play button on the home screen and you're met with an empty 10 by 10 grid with three colorful block shapes below. Your job is to place the shapes on the grid. Once you've placed the three shapes, you get three more until you run out of room for your shapes. Completing a row of 10 squares, vertically or horizontally, clears that row to make room for more shapes and the more shapes you fit on the board, the higher your score. It's really that simple.

1010

 

You can play challenges against friends via your platform's game center (or by signing in with Facebook) or try to beat your own score. The free version comes with ads that disappear with a $1.99 upgrade available on the home screen.

Whether you're waiting in an airport this summer or hiding inside to avoid another scorcher, 1010! is a good thing to have in your pocket.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know.  And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

 

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

How do you network? The American Library Association's Annual Conference is a great place to network. I went for the first time this year and it is "survival of the fittest". The 'grams you will see below show you a glimpse into the weekend where thousands of librarians were able to participate in hundreds of workshops, lectures, social events, culture, and exhibits. Networking as defined by Merriam Webster; the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business, is an important and integral part of a librarians career. At ALA, there is every opportunity to give your business cards out like candy. You get to network with authors, vendors, committee members, librarians, etc. Workshops are a great place to network as you are in a room full of those interested in the same thing you are. The real question is, how do you network with other librarians outside of going to ALA or other conferences? Do you follow librarians on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform? Comment below with your networking tips that are outside of the realm of conferences.