The Teen Programming Guidelines discuss the physical spaces of hosting teen programs in their eighth guideline.  When YALSA released its Teen Space Guidelines in May 2012, I dove into the wealth of information that the guidelines provided.  My school was in a transition period where we gained an additional media center space that needed to be completely renovated.  Our original media center also needed some updating, so the Teen Space Guidelines was the perfect tool for me to use in approaching our spaces.

The first teen space guideline states, "Solicit teen feedback and input in the design and creation of the teen space." Librarians and media specialists should always take into consideration the community they serve.  I needed feedback on what our students wanted to see in our original space.  A simple Survey Monkey survey was all it took to gain valuable insight into layout, furniture, needs, and wants for our high school students.  With their advice, we were able to rearrange furnishings and incorporate a few new pieces to freshen up our original media center.  Students also suggested that we move our manga section closer to the circulation desk.  Manga books are cataloged in the 740s in the nonfiction collection.  In our media center, this happened to put them in a far corner of our space and hard to see from the circulation desk.  Not only are these super popular books that are checked out frequently, but they became hot commodities that were frequently stolen.  (We do not have a book security system.)  After moving these books closer to the circulation desk, students have easier access to them, and we do not lose near as many to theft.  This also allowed us to promote the books more easily, which is also one of the guidelines in Teen Space Guidelines.  Teen feedback can never be underestimated.

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The March 2015 issue of Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults features two papers relating to YALSA’s The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report.

In “The Impact of Assigned Reading on Reading Pleasure in Young Adults,” Stacy Creel, Assistant Professor in the School of Library & Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, discusses a survey of the reading habits and preferences of 833 U.S. teens aged 12 to 18. Her research showed that students who self-selected reading materials for school-assigned reading projects enjoyed the reading more than those who read assigned titles, and that girls tended to enjoy reading for school more than boys. This research adds to a growing body of research supporting the importance of allowing students to choose their reading materials to develop a life-long love of reading.

In “Connected Learning, Librarians, and Connecting Youth Interest,” Crystle Martin, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Digital Media and Learning Hub of the University of California at Irvine, presents an in-depth look at the educational benefits of connected learning. Connected learning harnesses the connective power of social media and teens’ excitement about their personal interests and hobbies to facilitate deep, teen-driven exploration and experimentation. It also combines peer learning and creative production, such as blog or digital artwork creation. Dr. Martin describes the connected learning framework in detail and explains how YA librarians can take advantage of its potential learning benefits.

Together these two papers show the importance of making teens’ interests core to library services. This means turning the traditional view of librarians-as-experts on its head to make teens the experts of their own interests and information needs. It means encouraging teens to make collection development and programming decisions, and viewing social media and other youth-driven information environments as prime places for providing library services. Above all, these papers argue for youth-centered, youth-driven library services as the future of YA librarianship.

Denise Agosto, Editor

Are you preparing for Summer Reading?

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

Where has the time gone? Is it really almost time for summer reading again? Didn't we just finish last years summer reading? Well let's get our super powers charge up and talk about how we are preparing for teen summer reading.

This year's theme is UnMask! How fun is this going to be?! The 'grams below are just a taste of what we can do to prepare. From awesome displays to getting in to full superhero character to creating great PR materials. Teens are going to love this theme this summer and by using your imagination you can draw in there attention! Maybe have a wall that is a depiction of Gotham City, or use old boxes and make Superman's telephone booth. Dress like your favorite character or keep it simple and wear a superhero tie or fun headband. No matter how small or big you go, you are bound to hit it out of the park this year!

Comment below and let us know some of what you plan to do this summer!

"Mrs. Thompson, why we only got two Bluford High books?"  "We need more manga."  "I like that Sharon Draper lady.  We got anymore of her books?"  These were just a few of the questions and statements directed at me about our high school media center's collection when I became a media specialist.  Through day-to-day direct observation and through results of a student survey, I quickly realized areas of our collection that were being underserved - manga and urban fiction.  There were groups of students who were all clamoring for the same few titles that we had of a certain genre or series and our "hold lists" were growing longer by the day.

Several reasons may attribute to underserved groups in a library program.  Community dynamics change.  Our small suburban school system has seen tremendous growth in the 18 years that I have been here - 400% growth.  That translates into a graduating class of 78 in 1998 to a graduating class of 478 in 2015.  In the same time period, our minority population grew from 5% to 30%.  Our media center's collection does not reflect this growth.  Another reason for underserved groups is the rapid growth in new styles of writing, like manga.  It can be difficult to know whether new styles of writing are going to be accepted by your patrons, and we hate to waste money on books that are just going to sit on the shelves.  We started out with three different manga series to test the waters.  The popularity of these titles exploded!  They rarely made it back onto the shelves as students would grab them from the "re-shelf" cart as soon as they were checked in.  They also became our most stolen titles!  (We do not currently have a book security system.)  There were titles that our students desperately wanted to read, so why wouldn't I listen to them to continue to foster their love of reading.

As a reader, I cannot stand to read things in a series out of order.  Many of my students are the same way.  Why did we only have some of the Bluford High series?  Why were #1, 4, 6-8 of Full Metal Alchemist missing?  Our database showed that we had owned, at one point, #1-15 of the manga series BlackCat, but several of the titles were now marked "Lost".  I set filling in the gaps of the asked about series as my first goal in strengthening our collection for our underserved patrons.  In the urban fiction section, we went from two Sharon Draper titles to all 10 of her young adult titles.  We were also able to fill in the missing Bluford High titles, which serve our urban fiction fans as well as our Hi/Lo students.  For the manga patrons, we filled in all of the holes in the series we already had and aimed to include four new series a year.

Another strategy for building our collection for these underserved populations was to get input from the students.  In adding more manga, we allowed the students who were most interested in these series to help us with the selection of new titles.  They perused catalogs and looked online for reviews and suitable content (as some manga is aimed at a more adult audience). My African-American girls, who were devouring the urban fiction, asked about adding the Drama High series.  They loved looking for new authors to tell me about as well.  With the addition of the new titles, plus the marketing of the items through displays, our circulation increased 67% in one year!  Allowing students to assist in making our collection stronger for them gave them a sense of ownership and pride in our media program.

YALSA's Teen Programming Guidelines states that librarians should "create programming that reflects the needs and identities of all teens in the community."  Many media centers and libraries run into the problem of having an underserved population, and it is the duty of the librarian to recognize the needs of all patrons and work to strengthen the weak areas.  Investigate your collection for missing titles and allow your teens input.  These practices can go a long way in reflecting the needs of the communities we serve.

The Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults  has a new call for papers for a special issue highlight research-based best practices. Check out the full CFP below.

CALL FOR PAPERS:

Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults

Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA), the official research journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), is currently accepting submissions for a special themed issue. Researchers, librarians, graduate students, and others who conduct research related to young adults (ages 12 – 18) and libraries are invited to submit manuscripts. Papers describing both scholarly research and action research are welcome and will be submitted for peer review and consideration for publication. Submissions are due June 30, 2015.

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Throughout the YALSA Board meeting at Midwinter, the Board discussed some of the possible changes YALSA needs to make so that the organization can grow and change its strategic plan to reflect the Futures Report. In order to incorporate outcomes-based thinking into the strategic planning process, several things must be decided relating to the future direction of YALSA. What do we really want YALSA to look like in the future?

Having worked with outcomes-based planning in a school setting for several years, we were very pleasantly surprised to hear a number of board members relate their experiences with outcomes-based planning at their libraries. I think that everyone understood that this type of planning serves to focus the activities of an organization to attain measurable results. To that end, the YALSA board can look forward to many fruitful discussions between now and annual conference in San Francisco as we define and refine our goals and intended outcomes.

Is outcomes-based planning something new to you? IMLS has a section of their website that explains the process and why it is beneficial for libraries to use it. If you have more questions about outcomes-based planning and YALSA, feel free to contact Board members Vicki Emery or Carrie Kausch. Contact information can be found on the YALSA website.


Vicki Emery and Carrie Kausch

Have you heard of YALSA's President Program the Shark Bowl? I hope your answer is yes and you are in the process of submitting your pitch to YALSA's President's Program Task Force.  If you haven't heard of the YALSA's President's Program, that's okay, here is some information to get you started and submitting your pitches in no time.

Do you work with teens in public and school libraries? Then the YALSA’s President’s Program Task Force is looking for YOU! to be a part of the 2015 President’s Program. Think Shark Tank, the popular TV show that features aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business idea to a panel of potential investors. In YALSA’s version, library staff will pitch their ideas to a team of sharks made up of tech entrepreneurs, educators, and library staff who will provide feedback and a chance to win cash and technology prizes.

The first step is to submit a pitch to the YALSA President’s Program Planning Task Force. Task Force members will review the pitches and select up to 6 for presentation to our sharks at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco on June 29 2015. All pitches must show that the idea:

Your pitch can be for something brand new that you want to try out, or something that you have tried before and would like to enhance, change, re-envision. All submissions, no matter if you make it to the finals or not, will receive feedback from members of the President’s Program Task Force. The up to three pitches that are selected to be presented at Annual Conference 2015 will receive feedback and information on how to expand their pitch for official presentation to our panel of sharks.

Why wait? Get started on your pitch and don’t forget to submit by April 1, 2015.

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

On Saturday, March 21, over 130 locations throughout all 21 counties of New Jersey participated in the inaugural New Jersey Makers Day. From public libraries and museums to businesses and schools or youth organizations, each site celebrated maker culture by hosting events that promote making, tinkering, and STEM-based learning. Presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities introduced attendees to local makerspaces and provided an opportunity to interact with new technologies such as 3D printers, littleBits and Makey Makey kits, and computer programming. A wide variety of workshops were offered in which participants could try their hand at making things such as light bulbs, balancing toys, jewelry, duct tape bags, robots, and sculptures as well as learn the basics of sewing, gardening, origami, woodworking, car maintenance, and more! For more information on Makers Day and to see a list of activities provided by participating sites, visit the Makers Day website: http://njmakersday.org/

Similarly, just a week prior to Makers Day, Teen Tech Week took place from March 8-14 with the theme "Libraries are for Making." Aimed at helping teens develop digital literacy skills and demonstrating the value libraries can provide for non-print resources and access to technology, this week also provides an opportunity to showcase all the library has to offer in a collaborative and hands-on environment. Many fun programs were held this year and shared on Instagram including a technology petting zoo where teens can interact with different products, using 3D pens, making solar powered cars, and a retro gaming night with older gaming consoles.

Did your library participate in NJ Makers Day or Teen Tech Week? Which types of programs and technology did you offer? How did you get teens involved? Did they volunteer and help ensure programs ran smoothly or share their interests with the community by conduction demonstrations? Did you collaborate with other local organizations or businesses? Share with us in the comments section below!

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Local teens tuned in to the Davie County Public Library in Mocksville, North Carolina, as the Youth Services Department celebrated Teen Tech Week  March 8-14. The following events were sponsored:

Movie Magic: Behind the scenes technology: Teens saw how movies are brought to life with the use of technology! Behind-the-scenes clips from several popular movies were shown and discussed.

Cyber Safety and the Law- Speaker Rob Taylor, ADA: Mr. Taylor gave a speech about cyber safety and cyber bullying. Teens, parents and interested adults were invited.

Libraries Are For Making: A hands-on workshop was held featuring the following stations:

-Robotics station featuring the Lego Mindstorm EV3: Teens worked together to figure out how to build and program a robot to complete each simple task like pushing a wooden block, turning around a coin, and picking up an object.

- Brush robot construction: Teens followed instructions provided to create the robots from wires, toothbrushes, pager motors, and batteries.

- Augmented reality book preview: Teens were able watch books come to life and created their own augmented realities through pictures and video captured by an iPad.

- Teen Tech Tutors: Teens were encouraged to show parents and friends how to use a device provided, and to answer any questions about the devices.

- Animation Station: Teens were able to use this studio for creating stop-motion animation videos that enabled them to build and shoot their own short movie using given props.

A wide variety of print resources were available that featured different areas of technology.

 

 

Submitted by Debbie Archer

February President’s Report
Just a quick update from a short month! The Board has been having quite a number of conversations related to strategic planning, and I invite you to the next town hall – May 14th at 8pm EST to be part of the discussions!
Activities

  • Hosted YALSA member town hall to discuss member implementation of the recommendations from the Futures report.
  • Led a Board Planning Session which focused on outcomes training and ways to incorporate outcomes into YALSA’s strategic planning process.
  • Prepared board standing committees for revised quarterly chair report review process
  • Appointed members to fill vacancies on various committees.
  • Facilitated online discussion and voting for student engagement taskforce, programming guidelines, and the president’s program.
  • Spoke with Santa Rose Press about teens and library usage

Updates

  • Elections begin March 24 and run through May 1.
  • Congratulations to the winners of YALSA’s writing awards: Shari Lee, Sarah Ludwig, Jaina Shaw, and Anna Tschetter.
  • See you in San Francisco, Lisa Castellano, Lauren Lancaster, and Alicia Tate, the winners of YALSA’s Conference Travel Grants.
  • Happy collection development to Kay Hones, Christy James, and Joan Yarsa, whose libraries are receipts of materials from YALSA’s Great Books Giveaway
  • Special shout out to Sarah Hashimoto and Robin Fogle Kurz, the winners of YALSA’s Volunteer of the Year award.
  • Peggy Hendershot brought diversity to the forefront of her teen discussions and won the MAE award for best literature program
  • Smooth ordering to Brandt Ensor, Jean Forness, Graig Henshaw, Carolann MacMaster, Emma McCandless, Brooke Nelson, Emily Otis, and LaRaie Zimm, the winners of the MAE collection development grants.

Stats

  • Membership - 5,168 members in Jan, up 1% over this time last year
  • Donations - $2,029.21