This post is part of a series where the YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in “mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.
Today we will listen to a conversation about the Philadelphia Free Library Foundation Learning Lab from K-Fai Steele (pronounced Kay-F+eye), Teen Programming Specialist SteeleK@freelibrary.org. (more…)
In response to President Obama’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ campaign in 2010, in order to improve student’s participation and performance in STEM, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and MacArthur Foundation teamed up to offer planning and design grants to libraries and museums throughout the country. “The Labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.”
YALSAblog contacted all of the grantees to learn more about these exciting plans and partnerships with their organization. While the details for each place varied, especially by incorporating the local significance to the services and programs, there were several aspects that were pretty uniform across the board. Some of these tenets include the importance of teen input, mentorship (peer and adult), Connected Learning, principles of HOMAGO and of course over-the-moon enthusiasm for supporting teens and giving them all opportunities to become successful adults.
Today we will read about the Dallas Learning Lab in Texas which is a partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science from Nicole Stutzman Forbes, Chair of Learning Initiatives and Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education (firstname.lastname@example.org). Twitter: @nicstutzman (more…)
by Eleanor Guldbeck
Have you been running teen events for years at your library but want to try something bigger? Would you love to see hundreds of teens invade your library? Are you ready to shake up your library a bit and have a completely new event? Do you want an excuse to have a rock band play at your library, have a zombie walk, and have a karaoke contest on the same day? Young adult librarians all have experience putting together fun, quirky and amazing programs for teens. The trick is to bundle these activities together on one day, make them bigger, better, and louder and add a few extra special events.
As Young Adult Librarians know, there aren’t many places teens can hang out, much less attend a safe and fun all-day festivals. There are many Family Festivals out there but very few festivals just for teens. The Miami–Dade Public Library System has been attracting over 1,000 teens to the Teen Zone Festival for the past five years. Over the years we have featured teen rock bands, speed haiku, video gaming tournaments, manga giveaways, Hunger Game Crafts, book discussions, Cosplay contests, story slams, Steampunk crafts, zombie walks and more.
I want to share with you some of the tips we have learned over the years.
Prepare a Timeline
You already know that you are better off planning this event months in advance. There are a lot of decisions that you will need to make right away, like the date, the location, the budget, and the staffing level. Plus, there may be many deadlines that you can’t control such as marketing, permits, contacting authors or booking a local band. (more…)
As a librarian working with teens, I often think of one of my most important roles is encouraging connections between young people and the wider world. I’ve done a project where students up-cycled magazines into PostSecret-type confessions to unburden themselves, but even looking for PostSecret examples to share with teens can be a little like Russian roulette, given that so many of the messages are NSFW.
A new book by Keri Smith, encourage users to use the public postal mail format to share in a more targeted way. Smith, the creator of Wreck This Journal, uses a similar creative scaffolding in her new project Everything is Connected: Reimagining the World One Postcard at a Time (Perigee; October 1).
Smith’s partially-designed postcards offer space for readers to confess their secrets, become superheroes, travel through time, create a secret identity profile and interact with people yet unknown. And it will provide teen librarians with an easy, fool-proof programming resource, as well a great jumping-off point for conversations about the shared challenges of the human condition.
The result of the postcards, Smith hopes, is a deviation from life as usual and the discovery of human connections—new and old.
Jeremy Scott’s Pink Poodle Shoes aren’t something I see too often. But they were worn by a teen at the library who was a member of our radio program. The two canines had their own story, of course, and it turns out they had a lot to do with bullying.
I was prepared to co-lead this session of my library’s Turn it Up Teen Radio program. It’s a podcast that’s also a partnership of a local NPR affiliate, WFAE. I came with an agenda. A plan. The curriculum dictated that this day was for research. Participants were scheduled to identify topics and resources pertaining to the segment on the topic of bullying. They would record next month.
I started the session off with a warm-up activity, selecting several short (4-7 minute) public radio segments, mostly on the topic of bullying. I divided the teens into teams and asked them to identify the research that informed the story, then come back in 15 minutes and share with the group.
When we came back together, I sat at the front of the group and asked them who wanted to go first. I noticed they were directing their feedback to me, when I really wanted it to presented the group. I asked them to take the stage, so to speak. They did, sharing topics and research pieces and then T., with the awesome pink poodle shoes, took the stage and said he had a story to share. (more…)
Members of my Teen Advisory Group (TAG) are lovingly called minions. While it started as a joke I called my core group long before TAG got started, I decided to make it mean something when TAG officially began. The point reward system encourages them to get involved in the teen department beyond TAG and quieted the fights over who claimed the title of “top minion”.
How it works
To become a minion you have to attend at least one TAG meeting. No matter how active a teens is, they cannot earn any minion points until that first meeting. Here is how the point system works:
- Come to a program: 5 points
- Bring a friend: 10 points
- Write a review for the website: 5 points
- Record a review for the website: 10 points
- Create a book trailer: 15 points
- Create a book poster: 10 points
- Submit something to the Teen Creations: 5 points
- Participate in Summer/Winter Reading: 5 points
- Complete all 3 levels if the Reading Program: 5 points
I do assign other points for special projects as well. For example, this summer I had the teens help me create the Summer Reading Promo Video; each minion that was involved earned 20 points. I’ve also given points here are there for teens that have helped me clean up, decorate the department, or some other small job I’ve needed done.
DJ mixing is essentially creating a continuous musical track by combining songs or sounds, mixed together using loops, scratching, or other techniques. The Teen Advisory Group tends to be drawn more to geeking out, crafting, and competition. But as this has a much cooler vibe than most, this program brought in some guys that had never shown up at our events before.
For this event, we bought one basic DJ mixer (the MixVibes Ion Discover DJ with MixVibes Cross) which works with your desktop computer’s iTunes. Basically it can pull all your iTunes songs straight into the MixVibes Cross software where you can then mix up the songs, scratch, loop, and create playlists. Some accomplished DJs you might know include DJ Jazzy Jeff, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, DJ AM, Fatboy Slim, Deadmau5, Grandmaster Flash, Spinderella, DJ Skribble, Samantha Ronson, and Jam Master Jay, and while the DJ mixer software is simple to use, it has enough bells and whistles for a beginner to play with. (more…)
photo courtesy of flickr user Vancouver Public Library
I’m on the job hunt. I have been for some time despite loving my job. I’m lucky enough to have found a position fairly quickly after graduating doing pretty much exactly what I want to do, being a teen librarian. I am also the first teen librarian my library has ever had. Yes, they have a separated YA collection (an only slightly more recent addition than me), but they had yet to offer a cohesive teen program let alone have a staff member devoted to the teens and to creating programming for them before I started working there. I got to start from scratch; to try out programs I thought would be fun and throw out things I saw didn’t work. It’s been a lot of work and while there is so much I would change or do differently and so many things I really want to do with my teens; I think that my first year as a Teen Librarian at a library experiencing their first year with teen centered programming, has been a great success. (I reserve the right to take back that statement after I see how our first teen summer reading program goes!)
But remember, I said I’m on the job hunt. Not because I don’t love my job, I really do. I’m looking for a new position because I am only part-time.
by Guest Blogger Sharon Grover
When Hedberg Public Library teen librarian Laurie Bartz and I learned we would both be part of the 2013 Michael L. Printz Award committee, we hoped this might be our chance to get our teens reading and discussing books from a critical perspective. We had tried before to form teen clubs around critical book discussion without success. Kids were happy to come talk about books, but all we ever got out of them (no matter what strategies we employed) was so much plot that no one else in the room needed to read the books.
So when we invited some teens to read 2012 books we thought were “important,” we said we expected them to talk about the books the same way the real Printz committee was going to discuss their books. Our high school faculty partners asked us to create a rubric from the criteria and, armed with that rubric [doc] and Book Discussion Guidelines [docx] from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, we began our exciting, year-long adventure.
“The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture…” –Thomas Jefferson; Memorandum of Services to My Country, after 2 September 1800
You may have heard a lot of talk lately about seed libraries. In February, NPR ran a story entitled “How to Save a Public Library: Make it a Seed Bank.” If we put aside the argument over whether or not public libraries need to be saved, this story actually highlighted an interesting movement that has been sweeping across the country and libraries are leading the way.
A seed lending library works on the simple principle that you can ‘lend’ out seeds to be grown by patrons who will then harvest new seeds and return them to the seed library to be lent out again.
Hosting a seed library can help you connect, create, and collaborate with your community, and especially with your teens.