Open Recruitment

Posted by Kendra Skellen, TAGS Committee Member, Gwinnett County Public Library

How do you recruit? Here you will use your standard forms of publicity: word of mouth, brochures, posters, flyers, web and maybe applications. When we started our TAB groups at our branch libraries, we used an application form. This allowed us to create a database of interested teens, and each teen then got an invitation from the library for the first TAB meeting at the branch of their choice.

If you are relying on posters and flyers, you will want to place these items in more places than just the library. Where to place the flyers and posters:
• local hangouts
• coffee houses
• parks

• schools
• Boys & Girls clubs
• Library (of course)

Make them eye-catching with enough information to catch their interest.

If you have teens who are already volunteering in the library, they are some of the first you should try to recruit. They already have an interest in the library or they wouldn’t be there volunteering. Ask they to help recruit their friends and to put up posters and flyers to the places where teens hang out.

Next posting – Recruitment by Invitation

Teens Are Great

Posted by Linda W. Braun

A couple of days ago I was with a group of teens in a public library and was reminded of how wonderful teens can be if we give them the chance.

There was a group of about 20 teens at the library for the weekly teen advisory group. For this week’s TAG the teens were testing out some new games the library purchased. Not everyone wanted to play every game, and when some teens were playing a game others weren’t interested in, the non-interested teens hung out, talked, read, etc. No one got all crazy about not being able to play. Similarly, whenever it was time to try out a new game, no one got all crazy about having to give up what they were playing.

The one game that brought everyone around the gaming console, and the TV which it was hooked up to, was Karaoke. (Which had a DDR dance pad attached along with a microphone.) All of the teens were interested in watching and/or singing. All of the teens cheered each other on – even when it was obvious the person singing had a terrible voice. When one of the youngest (and smallest) teens said he wanted to sing (he didn’t play any of the other games) I was really impressed with how comfortable he was getting up in front of the others whom he had just met, and how supportive the other teens were of his singing.

There were a couple of things I thought about as I spent time with this group of teens. First, the library was obviously a place where they felt welcome and respected. They were comfortable in the environment and were comfortable being themselves. They knew no one was going to judge them about how they played, sang, talked, etc.

Another thing I thought about, this is something I think about all the time, is how much more often we need to tell the positive stories about teens and what they do for themselves and with and for each other. The afternoon I spent with this group of teens was a definite positive story of smart, respectful, and confident teenagers.

I also have been thinking about how the library, through this TAG, demonstrated several of the ways in which it is possible to help teens develop successfully as outlined by the Search Institute’s Developomental Assets. These include:

  • Support – by respecting the teens, giving them a chance to plan programs and services, and giving them a place in which to test things out and be themselves.
  • Boundaries and Expectations – by helping the teens cycle through the games in order to test each one.
  • Empowerment – by giving the teens the role of game testers and by showing teens then can “perform” in front of others and not be judged.
  • Social Competencies – by giving teens the chance to play games together, hang out in a comfortable environment, and talking to them about their needs and interests.

I know the library I visited isn’t the only one doing great things for teens. It’s incredibly exciting however any time I get to see the positive impact library services can have on teens in actual practice in a library.

Second Life Library

The Second Life Library 2.0 popularity is growing. We are starting to have more classes, regular reference hours, and many visitors. Our facilities now include the main building, a smaller version with a medical library, and teen planning area, a beautiful Garden, friendly neighbors and a new outdoor classroom.

In addition to our wonderful library on the Adult Grid, Kelly Czarnecki is working on creating a Teen library on the Teen Grid. In Second Life, there are two different worlds. One is for adults 18 and older, while the other was created for Teens. Adults are not allowed on the Teen Main Grid, but approved educators are allowed to purchase an island for about $1250 up front and $195 a month. Last night was the first official meeting for organizing this library. For complete minutes you can go to Virtual Teen Library: Second Life, the official blog.

Look forward to more updates about this library.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

YALSA Institute 2007

Posted by Linda W. Braun

That’s right we are talking Midwinter 2007. The YALSA Taskforce planning the next technology institute is hard at work developing a program that will give attendees ideas, information, inspiration, and capabilities to bring technology to their libraries and to their teens.

The Taskforce isn’t ready to make any big announcements, yet, but stay tuned. And, start thinking about making your plans to attend on Friday, January 19 in Seattle. YALSA will also host the second annual gaming night that same evening. It’s going to be a great day of learning and playing.

Huge Voting Increase!

Posted by Amy Alessio

Thank you YALSA Members! From the 15% of membership who voted in last year’s election, you have increased participation to 25%!

Thank you also for passing the dues increase! While that makes me especially happy as your Fiscal Officer, you all will be enjoying the new and regional opportunities we will now be able to support.

YALSA membership also voted to increase the nominating committee from 3 to 5 members and to establish Interest Groups. A few are already getting started, but if you have a group who want to form officially on a teen topic, check out the handbook for the procedure. (YALSA page, under About YALSA, then Handbook)

Speaking of the nominating committee – they strive to offer a slate each year of truly excellent people, which can make voting hard! Thank you to everyone who took a risk in front of their peers and agreed to run for positions which require large time commitments. Many of those people wrote all about themselves on this blog and in other ways for the past 7 months since they were approached before this election. From someone who went through this last year, the process can be nerve racking.

Both the winners and the others who were not chosen represent some of the hardest working and enthusiastic of our members. It is not uncommon in our organization for people who are not elected one year to be chosen in future years. It is certain that YALSA will continue to need their valuable contributions.

Recruiting for your Teen Advisory Board/Group

Posted by Kendra Skellen TAGS Committee member, Gwinnett County Public Library

Recruiting for your Teen Advisory Board/Group
Recruiting teens to be a part of your Teen Advisory Board (Group) can be one of the most maddening yet worthwhile tasks you will have in creating or maintaining a TAB. Being teens it will be a constantly changing group. The teens will become interested in other activities or, gasp, grow older over the years and outgrow the group. However, with good recruitment tools in place you will never lack for those new teens to replace those you have lost.

Open to all or by Invitation

You need to decide what is best for your library. Open recruitment to all interested teens will give you a group with a wide range of interests. It can also give you more teens than you may want in your group. Membership by invitation will be a lot more work, but will limit the number of teens you have to work with. It may also give you a group of teens who are more responsible for they are teens who have been recommended to you by your peers in the community.

Your choice of open recruitment or recruitment by invitation may be determined by what your plans are for the TAG. Will the group be advising you in materials selection? Will they be planning and presenting programs in the library? Will the group be more involved with getting teens into the library for fun activities? What will be their purpose?

Once you have determined the purpose of you TAG, you can then make a determination of how you would like to recruit the members.

Next installment: Open Recruitment

My Space Security Through Staff and Advertising

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Last week My Space announced that beginning May 1 they will have a Security Officer on staff. The job was given to Hemanshu Nigam – formerly of Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department.

This hiring coincides with an advertising campaign My Space is initiating along with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and others, to educate about the possible dangers of online community.

Ever since I heard about the hiring of a security officer at My Space I’ve been thinking about the balance adults need to help teenagers reach. I’m talking about the balance between the ability to feel empowered to make choices (and sometimes bad choices) and the need to keep teenagers safe from the dangers the online world potentially brings.

I’m not sure a security officer and public service announcements is the way to go in order to strike this balance. It’s very similar to tactics used for other areas in which teens must make decisions that relate to their health and safety – drugs and cigarettes come to mind. Do statistics show that the PSAs teens see and hear help them to make smart decisions in these areas?

Of course the people teens trust in their lives really have the key to helping make good decisions. These include:

  • Trusted librarians who listen to what teens have to say about their use of the technology before making judgments.
  • Trusted librarians that are willing to test out the technology before jumping to conclusions.
  • Trusted librarians who advocate for teens and their use of technology.
  • Trusted librarians who think about how technology supports teen developmental assets and see technology use as more than passive entertainment.

These librarians perhaps help teens to make good choices better than a security officer or PSAs ever can.

Before the ad campaign and the security officer go to work I hope the people involved don’t make assumptions about teens.

  • They need to know that teens have the ability to reason and make good decisions.
  • They need to know that teens don’t automatically go to the dark side just because they are teens.
  • They need to know that teens often know the rules of Internet safety and know how far they can go in order to remain safe.

A picture of a teen on My Space does not automatically mean that the teen who posted the image is going to decide to rendezvous with the next anonymous stranger she meets at the site.

If you haven’t heard about My Space enough at this point – it sure is in the news a lot these days. There was an interesting article in yesterday’s New York Times about how the online community is going to be connecting with and displaying advertising on the site.

Second Life Library 2.0

Alliance Library System has started a Second Life project. They have created a library within the game, that people can use as meeting place.

Second Life Library 2.0

As part of the library they are going to offer different programs such as a Book Discussion group on Tuesday nights, and live events. This morning they had their first Library program hosted by the Johnson County Library KS as part of the Librarian’s Continuing Education Seminar Series. They featured David King who spoke about how IT and librarians can talk each others language. For more information on upcoming events visit the official blog

Lori Bell

Lori Bell originally had the idea, and now a group has began to help her. For more information about participating with the library you can join thier Google Group

Second Life Library 2.0

I encourage everyone to take a risk and try something new like Lori, together we can make great ideas into reality. I think that is what organizations are for.

The images are from the Second Life Flicker Group. The first one is the library, and the second is the avatar for Lori. I included the last picture (me with a box on my head) because it is an example of me looking completely unprofessional, when I did not know how to open a box. Do not let the technology intimidate you. So what does it matter that I got a box on my head. I took it off and someone helped me open it. That is what people do, and as librarians, I think we need to remember that it is all right to look dumb sometimes. Those moments teach us what we need to know.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder aka Eiseldora Reisman

More reasons for TAGS

Judy Macaluso TAGS Committee Member Ocean County Library

Today’s Millenial Generation wants to give back to their community and to become involved in things that affect them. Our library has been very successful by our TAGS being a community service opportunity and for teens to earn volunteer hours for their participation. And when that concept is carried forward into meetings where they learn that their ideas count and programs they want can and will happen and they are making a difference – it’s a win-win for sure. It is good to keep in mind that teens influence not only their peers, but their parents and adults as well. A meaningful experience for them being a library TAG member can have an unforeseen ripple effect. Positive news about the library, it’s activities and staff gets communicated to others. An unorthodox, but effective public relations strategy for sure! What are your thoughts about TAGS being a community service opportunity?