#TeensFirst the Focus of YALSA’s Early Winter Webinars

What do YALSA’s December and January webinars have in common? They each focus on how a #teensfirst approach to teen services is important . Both the December webinar on user-centered teen spaces, and the January session on supporting teen social justice and equity conversations, look at how to provide library services by paying attention to teen specific interests and needs.

On December 15 YALSA hosts, What Do You Want to Do Here? Designing Teen Library Spaces that Work, San Antonio, TX, teen librarian Jennifer Velázquez and Lee VanOrsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan will discuss how their new spaces support the activities that teens and students want to participate in in library environments. Each has taken an innovative approach to creating user-centered spaces. You can learn more about the spaces Jennifer and Lee have developed in American Libraries and Jennifer’s space in the fall 2016 issue of YALS. (Login required)

The December Snack Break, produced by teens at the Hartford (CT) Public Library, provides examples of what teens like to do in library spaces.

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YALSAblog News of the Month – November 2016

Welcome to the YALSAblog News of the Month. In this post we highlight a few news items from the past month that we think are of interest to staff working with teens in libraries, schools, and youth development organizations.

When Libraries Become a Refuge for Youth in a Post-Election World

Provided by Kyna Styes

Provided by Kyna Styes

On November 8, 2016, the United States of America elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. The campaign process and the election was both tumultuous and divisive. When the results of the election were announced, some people took to the streets to protest their anger and disappointment while others expressed hatred and bigotry in acts of violence, vandalism, and intimidation. Needless to say, our country is hurting and many of our patrons are living in fear for themselves and their families. In times like these, many assume that libraries must remain neutral and continue business as usual. However, for those of us who work on the front lines, we see the pain and we see the fear, especially from the youth. As young adult library staff, we can no longer remain neutral because it our responsibility to stand up for youth and convey to our communities that libraries are a safe space for all and we will not tolerate any behaviors that threaten the safety and the well-being of our youth.

Before we create a plan of action, we need to go back to the fundamentals of what it means to be a young adult professional. On June 27, 2015, the YALSA Board of Directors adopted the Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession (developed by YALSA’s Professional Values Taskforce) that outlines nine values that set the foundation for young adult professionals. Here are the nine values: Accountability, Collaboration, Compassion, Excellence, Innovation, Inclusion, Integrity, Professional Duty, and Social Responsibility. If you have not reviewed this document, take a few minutes to read it, especially the values that focus on: Compassion, Inclusion, and Social Responsibility. As young adult library professionals, some of us have already witnessed the backlash of the election as teens divulged their fears, shed tears, and made hasty decisions to do things that could harm them in the future. By upholding these core values, we have a responsibility to inform teens that they are safe in our buildings and that we, as library professionals, will help them in any way we can to make sure they have access to services and information to overcome any adversity they may face. More importantly, by demonstrating these values with our teen patrons, we have the opportunity to build, or reinforce, relationships where they know we care about them and that they are not alone. Here are some great ideas that youth services library workers are doing for their communities, post-election:

By standing up for our youth, not only are we modeling positive behaviors between youth services staff and teens, we are conveying to our non-youth services colleagues, fellow city workers, and community partners that we need to work together to ensure our youth is provided for, nurtured, and protected. In other words, start partnering with your city organizations to create a united front to convey to the community that we will stand up and protect the youth of our cities. More importantly, relay patron concerns to city officials and ask them to stand with us and our partners. As the Social Responsibility states, “[Social responsibility creates a] mutual trust between the profession and the larger public [by responding] to societal needs as they relate to teens and libraries” (2015).  YALSA has some partnering resources on its wiki that you may want to explore. Continue reading

Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!

YALSA 2016 Symposium: The Double Bottom Line

At #yalsa16, I presented on a panel focusing on summer learning programs with Emily Samose, Director, Education and Learning Initiatives, Urban Libraries Council; Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational Programs at the New York Public Library; and Kelly Rottmund, Teen Services Coordinator at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In particular, we highlighted programs with a “double bottom line” approach, addressing summer slide for youth and peers by engaging teens as program leaders.

Emily began the session with information about Accelerate Summer, an ULC and NSLA summer learning initiative funded by IMLS. She covered their findings after surveying, observing, and conducting interviews at public libraries nationwide.

Next, Maggie covered NYPL’s Literacy Leaders program, a yearlong program targeting high school teens in danger of not graduating. The program begins during the fall semester when teens complete a credit-bearing ELA course and continues with teens working directly with younger students during the spring semester and into the summer.

Then, I presented AHML’s Summer Volunteer Squad program, a teen component of the library’s summer reading program. Summer Volunteer Squad is 8-12 focused groups comprised of teens that complete projects for the library over the summer. I focused on the groups achieving the “double bottom line” through paired reading, mentoring through STEM activities and more.

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Make Do Share: STEM Program Design and Partnerships

In 2015, Kitsap Regional Library received a three year National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Libraries to design and implement a sustainable STEM programming model for public libraries. The project, entitled Make Do Share, collects tools and resources to support staff in planning, facilitating and improving STEM programs for and with youth.

For more information on the project, read the full grant proposal. You can also access various project resources via YALSA and WebJunction.

Downloadable resources

Kitsap Regional Library created a downloadable guide to serve as a primary resource for those interested in STEM programming for and with youth.  The Road Map portion of the guide provides an introduction to concepts and activities which support staff learning and planning. The Playbook portion outlines potential program types, provides examples of sample programs, and describes strategies to support successful facilitation.

Call for partnering libraries

As part of their dissemination plan, Kitsap Regional Library has committed to partnering with two small and/or rural public libraries to regularly support the planning and implementation of sustainable STEM programming in those communities.

What to expect as a partnering library

Partner libraries will walk through the Make Do Share resource guide with the support and guidance of Kitsap Regional Library staff during weekly virtual meetings and through scheduled assignments.  Content areas include:

  • Community Discovery and Engagement
  • Facilitation
  • Outcomes Based Planning and Reflection
  • Continuous Learning
  • STEM Program Design and Implementation
  • Youth Voice

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YALS Fall 2016: Lessons Learned from a New Teen Space

fall 2016 YALSA coverTeen Services Coordinator, Jennifer Velasquez, took a different approach when the San Antonio Public Library Teen Library @ Central wanted to redesigning the library. By talking about what teens wanted to do in the library, versus furniture and colors, staff was able to truly understand what teens need and want in their library. Velasquez mentions that it is not only important to understand what needs want and need in a library, but why the use the library.

Based on focus groups with teen participants, teens expressed that they wanted quiet spaces, active spaces, and social places. Today’s libraries are now incorporating much of these aspects, and are important to remember when designing a new teen library or space. Velasquez’ model for the perfect teen library includes three spaces: participation, contemplation, and engagement. A participation space allows for “group work and activities.” A contemplation space allows for independent work, which would include, homework, studying, reading, etc. Lastly, an engagement space allows for comfortable seating for socializing, displays, technology–a fun, and safe place for teens to socialize. Although space can be limited in some libraries, and not all these spaces can be coordinated, many of these spaces can be made into programs.
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Are you ready for National Voter Registration Day?

September 27th is National Voter Registration Day! There are currently 8.9 million 18 and 19-year-olds who will all be first time voters this year. They can register to vote through the Nation Voter Registration Day website which is powered by Rock the Vote. Your teens can also look up their polling information on the Voting Information Project Get to the Polls map, a handy tool created by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Internet Association, and Google.

Make sure your teens know how they register and that their vote matters!

 

 

YALSA at ALA Midwinter 2017 in Atlanta


CONFERENCE SEEKING PARTICIPANTS

You: A youth services librarian in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area surrounded by young adult patrons who have a lot to say about the books they are reading. Or, maybe you are a youth media specialist who lives a littler further afield but are planning on attending the ALA Midwinter meeting in Atlanta AND you happen to know 5 kids with a lot to say about A Study in Charlotte.

Us: YALSA Local Arrangements committee.


The YALSA Local Arrangements committee for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta, GA is recruiting youth participants for a Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session. As you know, YALSA takes input from the youth very seriously. Not only does it allow us to shape and support our organizational goals, but also it creates a unique and valuable experience for all participants – those speaking and those listening.

For Atlanta we are interested in hearing 50 local teens tell us what they did or (especially) did not like about the books on the BFYA nomination list. The session will be held on Saturday, January 21, from 1pm – 3pm. But that is not all, these lucky teens and sponsors will also get to tour the exhibition halls that morning and have a lunch party before the session even begins.

All interested parties should submit an application for their groups here: https://ugeorgia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_e8umnTXWMKd8dH7

Please direct any questions to Micki Waldrop at waldropmicki@gmail.com

Teen Read Week: An Immersive Experience

This year I am extremely honored and thankful to be a YALSA Teen Read Week grant recipient. I took my time this year deciding what I would do for Teen Read Week. My past Teen Read Weeks had been small in scale. Last year I had teens write a short book review and enter it for a raffle prize (a set of books related to last year’s theme). What could I do this year to really encourage a wide variety of teens to participate, and get excited about reading? I decided to combine a reading program for the month with a fun incentive: Read 1 book for the month of October, get an invitation to our International Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre!!

This year’s theme is “Read for the fun of it”, encouraging multicultural reading and involvement. For the month of October, teens can sign up to be part of our online reading program where the goal is simple: Read 1 book for the month! I wanted an achievable goal, to encourage teens of all reading interests and levels to take part. Upon registering, they will receive a bookmark with suggested multicultural YA books. They won’t be required to read these books, as I really want all teens to be able to participate.  I also wanted a non-reading related incentive, to encourage teens who wouldn’t normally read to do so, thus the murder mystery! I will probably give everyone an Applebee’s Ice Cream Coupon for finishing their book too, for those who aren’t into mysteries. I decided to extend Teen Read Week to a month long celebration, as many teens would find 1 week a daunting time constraint to read a book.  Finally, I will be adding a Teen Foreign Language collection, as part of the grant, to encourage ESL students to become involved as well. I will be working with the school literacy coaches to spread the word and encourage as many students as I can to participate.

Once we have our ‘guests’ invited, it’s time to put on the show! Upon completion of 1 book read, teens will receive the highly coveted and illustrious invitation to the event of the year- An Assassin in Our Midst: An International Interactive Murder Mystery. Thanks to the grant, we will be able to serve a variety of foods from different cultures for our dinner. Guests will be given programs with their team number, a list of the suspects, space to write notes, and a tear out for their team’s murderer guess. Suspects will be played by members of the Teen Advisory Board, with whom I will have at least 2 practices ahead of time. The TAB members will receive character descriptions, and then they will improvise based on who their character is. Each team will get to speak with and question all of the suspects to determine who was involved in the assassination of an important diplomatic figure. Intrigue, fun, and suspense are sure to ensue!

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