Preliminary Schedule for the 2015 YA Services Symposium

The preliminary schedule for the 2015 YA Services Symposium has been announced!  This year, we’ve expanded our focus to cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services to young adults… and boy, do we have an exceptional list of programs for you!

First, there will be three half-day preconferences.  One preconference session, “Hip Hop Dance and Scratch: Facilitating Connected Learning in Libraries,” will focus on resources and best practices for implementing interest-driven coding workshops, with some hands on experience.  More information to come about the other preconferences.

Program topics:

  • Customize to connect – small libraries build participatory learning environments for teens
  • Diverse Teen Fiction: Getting Beyond The Labels
  • Full STEAM Ahead: Lessons Learned From a Library Coding Camp
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Establishing Teen Services in Public Libraries
  • Lessons from Learning Spaces: Challenges and Opportunities for Maker Programming in Libraries
  • Maker Space Programming without the Space (or How Hollywood Came to Indiana and Brought a Community Together)
  • Moving On Up: Introducing Middle Schoolers to the YA Collection
  • New Adulthood: Literature & Services for NA Patrons
  • Teaching Urban Teens Valuable Skills: A Teen Job Fair
  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Connecting School and Public Libraries to Enhance Teen Services
  • Teen Services without Borders
  • Acting and Beyond: Helping Teens and Libraries Establish Connections through Theatre
  • Using Digital Literacy Trends with Teens
  • Elevating Teen Volunteers to Loftier Roles
  • Teens As Parents: Library and Early Literacy Connections
  • Starting From Scratch: My 18-Month Quest to Fill the Library with Teens, Convert my Colleagues, and Keep My Sanity

Paper Presentations

  • Skin Deep:  Hispanic and African American Experiences in Young Adult Literature
  • Teaching digital, media and information literacies to foster youth at a university curriculum materials library
  • Writing within Community:  How Mentoring Works in Online Fan Fiction

See the extended program descriptions and updates at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium/programs.

The symposium will take place November 6–8, 2015 in Portland, Oregon at the Hilton with a theme of: Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities.  Early Bird registration starts April 1, 2015.

There’s also a stipend available for two YALSA members.  Each stipend offers up to $1,000.  Applications are due by June 15.  To apply, view details at:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium/stipend.

Want to help advocate?  Grab a flyer.  Help us promote; tell your colleagues!

Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond!

–Jane Gov for YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

#act4teens: The Inclusive Library: More than a Diverse Collection: Part 1

The growing conversation surrounding the need for diversity in teen literature is wonderful—it is essential, it is long overdue, but it is only a starting point. Wait, what? Yes, a starting point. If we are not using those diverse collections in our library promotions, programming, and reader’s advisory with all students, we are diluting their influence. Furthermore, if diverse collections are housed in libraries that are not inclusive and welcoming to all youth, then we are negating the power of those collections.

“Diversity is not ‘praiseworthy’: it is reality.” Malinda Lo’s recent statement  can serve to remind librarians that focusing on diversity is not an extra facet of our job. It is central to what we do. Consider these facts:

  • In the 2014-2015 school year, youth of color were projected to make up the majority of students attending American public schools (not just urban public schools, but ALL public schools)
  • Approximately 9.1% of students attending America’s schools are English Language Learners
  • Approximately 10% of the general youth population in the United States identifies as LGBTQ+
  • One in 45 youth experience homelessness in America each year [references for all of these statistics can be found here]

YALSA’s The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action details even further the significant shift in the demographics of teens. To paraphrase Ernest Morrell (2015), our multicultural America is in our libraries no matter where we are.

Library collections obviously need to reflect the diversity of our nation. But that is just the beginning. Public and school libraries must be inclusive. Inclusive libraries are staffed by librarians who are culturally competent, use their diverse collections with all teens, identify and remove barriers, and have an expanded definition of ‘the library as a safe space’. In this two-part blog post, we will briefly examine these components. Our goal is broaden the conversation about the needs of diverse youth beyond diverse literature, and to highlight the need for librarians to engage in discussions about equity and inclusivity.

Continue reading

YALSA wants YOU for our virtual strategic committees!

Happy Monday, amazing YALSA members!

Can you believe it’s already near the end of February?

For those who’ve made New Year’s resolutions to be more involved in the profession, it’s not too late!

The deadline to apply to join a YALSA strategic committee, jury, or taskforce is this Sunday, March 1st!

You can see the full list of committees and juries here.

Strategic committees are a great way to get involved with YALSA, as they are virtual committees. Or, if you are a new member and looking to try committee work for the first time, the strategic committees are a great way to learn about YALSA, connect with teen service professionals from around the country, and help you develop your virtual work skills and teen expertise. So, if travel and conference attendance aren’t an option for you this year, please take a minute to fill out the volunteer form here and send it in before March 1st!

My Appointments Taskforce and I will begin the process to fill the over 200 open positions that help YALSA accomplish the work of the strategic plan and the work that moves the association and members forward immediately after March 1st, so please be sure to get your application in before then.

I strongly encourage all YALSA members to apply – it is an easy and great way to get more involved in this amazing association, especially if you are interested in joining a YALSA selection or award committee in the future.

Please feel free to contact me at candice.yalsa (at) gmail.com if you have any questions!

#act4teens: The YALSA Future of Library Services for and With Teens Report: Resources to Help You!

In 2012 and 2013 through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, YALSA embarked on an ambitious journey to create the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. Its culmination was The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, or Futures Report for short. The report’s purpose is to provide a roadmap for 21st century teen library services. Its hashtag, #act4teens, boldly reinforces the report’s subtitle. For me, #act4teens is akin to the Yoda quote, “Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” We must act to move teen services in our libraries forward.

YALSA and the Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce created several #act4teens resources that can be found on the National Forum on Libraries and Teens’ shared resources page, which directs you to three types of tools designed to help you #act4teens at your library and in your community.

You’ll find:

  1. One-page fact sheets to give to a variety of different audiences to raise awareness and excitement about the future of library services for and with teens. Factsheets are geared to the following audiences:
    • Community members, partners, and advocates
    • Faculty and researches at library and information science schools
    • Library staff
    • School administrators and principles
    • Library trustees
  2. Canned presentations to use when you present the report to others and again can be used with a variety of audiences.
  3. A tip sheet geared specifically to help you bring the ideas of the Futures Report to administrators. The tip sheet provides strategies for starting a dialogue with your supervisor about the report and its implications. It also provides steps on how to start moving forward to reimagine services for and with teens in your community.

Continue reading

Winner of the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens: Peggy Hendershot

Peggy Hendershot, Youth Information Specialist at the Johnson County Library, Blue Valley Branch, has just been awarded the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens with her program, the Young Adult Discussion Diversity Panel she formed with their Young Adult Advisory  Council (YAAC).  Peggy told me about her experiences.

What was the reaction to winning the award in your community?  How did your students react?

Everyone has been very kind and full of congratulations.  The Kansas City Star’s 913 (Johnson County section) requested an interview. It’s great positive publicity for the library.

We told the teens during our usual round of introduction questions at our February 7th YAAC meeting. We asked, “What was the most exciting thing that happened to you in the last year.” When it was my turn, I said, “Winning the YALSA Mae Award for the Diversity Discussion Panel!” Then we handed out a copy of the press release to the kids. They were very excited!  There was quite a bit of whooping and hollering going on, along with plenty of high fives! We celebrated with cake, ice cream and confetti poppers.  Then they wanted to talk about the next big event they could plan!

You mention in your application that your library’s YAAC takes advantage of the YALSA YA Galley program.  Could you talk about how that works with your group?

The Johnson County Library YAAC groups applied to participate in the YALSA YA Galley/Teen Top Ten book project and were accepted into the program. Publishers sent out galleys and review titles of new and upcoming books. At our monthly meetings, the YAAC teens selected the titles that interested them from the selections sent out. The teens then read the books and completed reviews for them, which were sent back to the publishers. They also rated the books, nominating their favorites for the Teen Top Ten best books. YAAC members also discussed the books they did not select and why they chose not to read them. This information was also sent to the publishers. Our term was up the beginning of this year, but we plan to reapply to the program at the first opportunity!

Continue reading

#act4teens: Midwinter, YOUmedia, Partnerships, Tours, and You

By Adrienne Strock

For a complete list of YALSA happenings at ALA’s 2015 Midwinter meeting, see the YALSA Midwinter wiki page.

Midwinter YALSA YOUmedia Partnership Session: Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls

Join representatives from YOUmedia and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) as they discuss the history and evolution of their partnerships throughout their short and robust history on Saturday, January 31, 8:30am-10am, at McCormick Place West in room W183c. In this panel, CPL Teen Services and YOUmedia staff will share their partnership experiences and essential elements for building and sustaining successful partnerships, present best practices, discuss the successes and challenges of program implementation, and how to best leverage resources to enhance learning experiences and increase access through showcase and special opportunities. Participants will also engage in a “Build Your Sustainable Partnership Program” game! Take on the role of a partner in a mock partnership program and navigate challenges and leverage resources to create an engaging experience that demonstrates how teens can be supported and guided along learning pathways.

YOUmedia on Partnerships and Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls

The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” seems ever present in today’s educational mission of rethinking how to create engaging learning experiences for young people. This proverb manifests itself when entities who have chosen to actively invest in the lives of young people come together to support their growth and development. Collaborations and partnerships can yield unique approaches to sparking and engaging interests of young people, acting as a critical component to expand a young person’s learning journey.

Continue reading

Committee Appointments Update

Happy New Year!

I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2015-2016 award and selection committee cycle.

Many, many thanks to the all the talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted nearly 600 volunteer applications to join these great committees!

If you submitted an application, you should have received an email from me inviting you to be on a committee or an email letting you know that my appointments taskforce and I were unable to find a spot for you this year.

If you received one of the latter emails, please don’t be discouraged and please try again. There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.

In the meantime, you can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually and do not require conference attendance. The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2015, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

#act4teens: From E-mail to Action

Early last year, I received an e-mail from our Youth Services Consultant at the South Carolina State Library with information about how YALSA was willing to send their representatives to state library association’s annual conferences to discuss their newly published national report entitled The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action. As Chair of the South Carolina Library Association’s (SCLA) Youth Services Section, the opportunity to connect with YALSA could not have come at a more perfect time. With our annual conference theme focusing on unbound services statewide, it was important to help plan sessions that allowed attendees to think outside the box and assist in re-evaluating services they already provide, while also instilling new ideas within their communities. YALSA’s call to action does just that.

With the neatly bound report in hand, Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reached out on behalf of YALSA to a room of 30+ South Carolina librarians and paraprofessionals. Conversations evolved both during the course of the annual conference and at home within our communities. One such conversation with Cheryl Brown, Past Chair of the SCLA Youth Services Section, spoke of the versatility of this report: “with my involvement in the Collaborative Summer Library Programs’ efforts to bring quality summer programming to teens, I found the session invaluable…We can no longer trust that what we planned for teens five years ago will be what serves teens most effectively today.” Her statement resonates with many teen services-oriented professionals, and holds true for one YALSA forum participant, quoted in the report, who compared this paradigm shift in services to going from “grocery store to kitchen,” where teens move away from being the consumers as we help turn them into the producers.

Continue reading

Tell YALSA How You #act4teens

by Adrienne L. Strock & Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Almost a year has passed since YALSA released The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. In that time, libraries across the U.S. have opened  digital media centers or makerspaces, developed  meaningful community partnerships,  been affected by demographic shifts among their users, and implemented user-driven programs and services both  in and outside of library spaces.  School and public library staff have also been affected – co-learning and developing the new skills called for in the report. Along with this shift in services have come new sets of challenges and opportunities for growth, too.

My #act4teens journey has been both personal and professional. I have dabbled with STEM and maker projects wanting to make things light up as both a personal interest and to level up my own knowledge and skills to better serve and learn with teens. In anticipation of the 2014 launch of Studio NPL, the Nashville Public Library’s (NPL) IMLS learning lab project, NPL teen staff has been diving into and discussing the Futures report at our monthly teen services meetings. We have also expanded  our STEM and maker programs at our Main Library by introducing teens to low-tech maker crafts. A recent partnership with Nashville CoderDojo  has resulted in a surge in tech-savvy adults who now serve as expert mentors for our tweens and teens allowing them to learn about coding, robotics, and game design.

How have you #acted4teens? What’s happened along the way in your #act4teens journey? YALSA wants to hear your stories of how the report has impacted you and your library. How has the report shifted your philosophy of library services for and with teens? What parts of the report have resonated most with you and why? What changes have you implemented as a result of the report? What new challenges or successes have arisen based on the steps you have taken to #act4teens?

Your #act4teens stories are worth celebrating and sharing, whether big or small, through quotes, YALS articles, and more. Soon, the Future of Teens and Libraries taskforce will host a special #act4teens YALSA Blog series, and we want to hear from you, too. Tell YALSA how you #act4teens here.

Catching Up on Current Research

There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.

Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.

This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.

Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.

Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.

Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy (1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.

Continue reading