Help YALSA help you! Take this quick poll.

YALSA wants to support you as you implement “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action,” and is currently considering publishing books focused on major topics in the report.

The YALSA Publications Advisory Board has identified some of the topics from the Futures report that are the most under-represented in professional literature, and we want your input. Fill out this brief poll to let us know which subjects and formats you would find the most useful in future publications from YALSA.

Which topics from the Futures report would you most like to see covered in books published by YALSA? (choose up to 3)

  • Teen collaboration/partnership in library services (16%, 31 Votes)
  • Cultural competency (addressing racism, classism, ableism, etc.) (14%, 27 Votes)
  • Teen workforce development/leadership development (12%, 23 Votes)
  • Serving nontraditional teens (homeless, pregnant, incarcerated, dropped out, etc.) (11%, 20 Votes)
  • Creating learning labs/learning commons (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Formal assessment of teen interests/needs (8%, 16 Votes)
  • Connected learning in libraries (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Serving homeschooled teens (6%, 12 Votes)
  • Serving special needs teens (5%, 10 Votes)
  • Serving suburban/rural teens (5%, 10 Votes)
  • International teen literature (beyond English-speaking countries) (4%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 67

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In which format would you prefer to purchase titles from ALA/YALSA? (choose up to 2)

  • Physical books (36%, 31 Votes)
  • Shorter (50-70 page) downloadable eBooks (29%, 25 Votes)
  • Book/eBook bundles (25%, 22 Votes)
  • Full-length eBooks (10%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 58

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Do you have a great idea for a book? Knowledge you want to share? A desire to give back to your professional community? Consider publishing with YALSA! Find more information about submitting publication proposals or writing queries for Young Adult Library Services (YALS) here.

#act4teens: Building a Co-op of Educator-Leaders

I learned about the YALSA The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report through colleagues in the YOUmedia Learning Lab Network when I was managing the Maker Jawn Initiative at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The report affirmed so much of what we had been discussing as a network; connected learning, librarians taking on the role of facilitators and co-learners rather than experts, rethinking staff models, and more. But in Philly, the report didn’t go far enough. We wanted more than a paradigm shift. Maker Jawn’s goal was to break down hierarchies in libraries by eliminating the top-down approach to staff management, and top-down teaching in a library (where knowledge is typically transferred from librarian to youth). Our team believed that while these institutional hierarchies existed, they would continually reinforce each other resulting in no true innovation, regardless of new technology or language to reframe learning in informal spaces.

Maker Jawn’s solution to this problem was to collectively rethink staffing. At its heart was the concept of the co-op: a team where everyone involved has a stake in the maintenance, effectiveness and deepening of the group as a whole. It required everyone in Maker Jawn to be completely on board. This involved a lot of collegiality and community-building amongst the staff themselves; they had to respect each other as equals, and acknowledge that they all brought different strengths and ways-of-getting-things-done. This also involved a lot of collective learning. We developed “tinkering sessions” in addition to weekly administrative meetings, where each week one member of the Maker Jawn team brought a new medium, tool, or technique they wanted to teach.

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#act4teens: The Inclusive Library: More than a Diverse Collection: Part 2

In this second blog post on creating inclusive libraries, we examine the need to identify and remove barriers, and have an expanded definition of ‘the library as a safe space’.

Identifying and Removing Barriers

Paramount to our goal of creating inclusive libraries is removing barriers that prevent diverse youth from feeling welcome. In her research, Kafi Kumasi (2012) found that many youth of color feel like outsiders in library spaces, describing the school library as the sole “property” of the librarian. Kumasi argues that “these feelings of disconnect and exclusion should be attended to by school librarians, if they want to make all of their students feel welcome.”

Physical barriers can be easy to spot and can include, for example, detectors and late fees. Consider the unwelcoming message that detectors—particularly those with a ‘push’ gate—can send about libraries, especially for teens who may regularly be followed in department stores. We must recognize that these kinds of microaggressions are daily experiences for many youth, especially male youth of color, and must be mindful not to replicate them in our libraries. We must also realize that late fees represent a financial burden for some teens and their families causing teens to forego visiting the library, and ask ourselves, what other strategies might we use? Finally, our libraries must be physically and intellectually accessible for teens with disabilities (and, of course, stocked with literature that reflects their lived experiences). Project ENABLE provides free training to help librarians create more inclusive libraries that address the needs of youth with disabilities.

Other barriers are more difficult to unpack, but include library policies or procedures that inhibit teens from visiting or participating. For public libraries, this could manifest as an address requirement for receiving a library card. Teens experiencing homelessness would be unable to fulfill this requirement and thus be denied access to essential public library resources including computer time and material checkouts. For school libraries, perhaps a strict atmosphere of ‘shhh-ing’ is excluding teens from joining in library activities. Janice Hale (2001) reminds us, for example, that African American youth “participate in a culture that is highly dynamic. They thrive in settings that use multimedia and multimodal teaching strategies. And they favor instruction that is variable, energetic, vigorous, and captivating.” Do our libraries support this?

Barriers can also exist in programming. Are we scheduling programs at times that allow teen participation? Are we taking into consideration the public transportation schedules? Are we offering programs at locations in the community, rather than expecting teens to always come to the library? Are we coordinating our teen programs with our programs for children so that teens who are responsible for taking care of siblings can attend? Breaking Barriers: Libraries and Socially Excluded Communities explores ideas related to this topic specific to public libraries.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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#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.

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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.