YALSA’s 2019 YA Services Symposium — Early Bird Registration Ends This Sunday, Sept. 15!

Early bird registration for our 2019 YA Services Symposium, which will take place Nov. 1-3 in Memphis, TN ends this Sunday, Sept. 15.

As an added perk, those who join YALSA and register for the symposium by Sept. 15 will be automatically entered for a chance to win free registration for the 2020 YALSA symposium. Why join YALSA? Joining YALSA makes you eligible to register with the YALSA member rate, gain access to a quarterly journal, apply for YALSA grants and awards, volunteer on committees, and more. Plus, joining and then registering often costs less than registering as a non-member.

What’s included with registration?

  • Opening session on Friday evening feat. Kekla Magoon, Sandhya Menon, Lauren Myracle, and Meredith Russo
  • Book Blitz on Saturday evening with light refreshments, up to five free books, and the chance to meet dozens of authors
  • Concurrent sessions on Saturday from 8:30am-5pm, and 8:30am-1:00pm on Sunday, with the option to register for additional events Friday
  • Closing session on Sunday feat. Renee Ahdieh, Shaun David Hutchinson, Marie Lu, and Veronica Roth
  • Access to a free webinar
  • A certificate of participation with your contact hours (to receive the certificate, there will be a sign up sheet on site)
  • Refreshment breaks mid morning on Saturday and Sunday and an afternoon break on Saturday
  • A symposium bag
  • A badge holder

In addition to the included programs, the following ticketed events can be added for an additional fee:

Friday

  • Civic Engagement Pre-conference; 9am-12pm, $79. Learn more and view a sneak peek of the session.
  • Information Literacy Pre-conference; 1pm-4pm, $79. Learn more and view a sneak peek of the session.
  • Graceland Tour, 2 time slots: 9am – 1pm or 12-4pm, $76. Includes transportation and Elvis Experience Pass (mansion, planes, auto museum, special exhibits, and visitors’ center).

Saturday

  • Author Luncheon, Saturday, 12:00pm – 1:30pm. $49. Feat. Tiffany Jackson, Jennifer Mathieu, Mitali Perkins, and Vince Vawter.

View the list of programs and the ever growing list of participating authors (more to come). Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/registration.

 

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Denton Public Library

This year our library was selected as one of the recipients of the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Resources Grant. We chose to use the awarded funds to provide “starter” books to incarcerated teens in our county’s juvenile detention center and to our local school district’s summer high school ESL program. By providing the students with a book up front, we were able to give them the tools necessary to spend a summer reading and improving their literacy skills.

This partnership was not a new one to us as we have worked with these groups in summer of 2018 as well, but this year was special because we were able to provide the kids with the tools to succeed right off the bat. In 2018, the students participated in our summer reading program by borrowing books from their teachers and counselors but this year we were so excited to give them their own book to keep as soon as they signed up.

Instead of buying a variety of books for the students to pick from, we bought each participating student a copy of Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X. We felt this book really represented the teenage experience well and that the students reading it would find it appealing as well. Our hope was that each child reading the same book would lead to lively discussion and team building in their group. This also provided another great outreach opportunity because our two teen librarians were able to go out to the sites, meet the students participating, and book talk one of their favorite books. Our ESL group had never read the book before but their teacher had. The class decided to swap out the group reading they had previously chosen for this one instead. At the detention center, several students had read the book before but enjoyed it so much they were happy to receive their own copy to keep. They even helped us make our book talk more appealing by commenting on how much they enjoyed reading it and pushed their classmates to give it a chance as well.

Overall, 32 students participated in just a few short weeks and read a total of 15,600 minutes which averaged to about eight hours per person. After completing their first five hours of reading, each student received another free book courtesy of our Friends of the Library group to keep as part of their completion prize. We heard very positive reviews about The Poet X from students and teachers. Money leftover from purchasing the book was then used to stock and replace books in the counselor’s library at the detention center.

 

Sarah Ward is the Teen Services Librarian at Denton Public Library – South Branch.

Supporting Youth Mental Health Through Library Services

Over the years I’ve started almost every conference presentation or staff training related to mental health by sharing three key statistics:

  1. Roughly 70 percent of mental health problems have their onset during adolescence (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
  2. The 10th leading cause of death in the United States is suicide (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).
  3. There is approximately $139 billion dollars in lost earnings per year due to serious mental illness (National Alliance on Mental Health).

Those numbers never fail to grab the attention of the audience because it highlights just how prevalent mental illness is and it reminds people that no community is exempt from these issues. 

As we wrap up the first month of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, Teen Growth and Development, we’re shifting our attention to the second competency; Interactions with Teens. Specifically, we’ll be spending time discussing youth mental health and exactly how library staff can better positions themselves as allie’s and community connectors for those in need. 

Before we dive in, let’s take a minute to discuss what exactly what people mean when they talk about mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Furthermore, it’s the ability to meet the psychological and emotional demands of everyday life.

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YALSA Member EDI Task Force Member Volunteer Opportunities – apply by Friday, 9/20

Hello YALSA members!

As we continue to prioritize our dedication to striving for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in YALSA and throughout the profession, the YALSA Board has directed the formation of four (4) task forces that will further address the strides our division would like to pursue. These all are year-long (expected service: Oct 2019 – Oct 2020), virtual task forces that will each require some effort, but please do not let that dissuade you from applying! The output you create will be critically important to our profession and the work we do with and for teens. Please note that this is a members’ only opportunity.

Task Force 1: Promoting Professional Success for Underrepresented Groups within YALSA.  Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will assess existing pathways to professional success and involvement within YALSA for underrepresented groups.

Task Force 2: Encouraging LIS and iSchools to Include EDI Plan Elements in Curricula. Charge:  Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will work with LIS and iSchools to ensure that cultural competencies, equity, diversity and inclusion is included in all youth-oriented curricula.

Task Force 3: Modeling Services and Programs to Include EDI Plan Elements. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will provide models of inclusive and equitable services and programs to share on the YALSA Programming HQ and other avenues.

Task Force 4: Addressing Institutional Bias and Racism in Libraries. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will create and distribute materials to help members better serve diverse youth and to address issues of institutional bias and racism in their libraries.

If you are interested in participating in one of these Task Forces, please contact Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by Friday, September 20, indicating your first and second choice of task force by number.

Thanks for your dedication to the important work that we do to move the profession forward, and for the work you do for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: YALSA Grant Makes Big Impact at Montclair Community Library

From improving teen summer reading volunteer training to increasing visibility and enhancing teen programs to raising funds, the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Teen Intern Grant made a big impact this summer at Montclair Community Library, one of Prince William Public Library System’s 11 branches located just 30 miles outside of Washington, DC.

Our grant had three components: develop an interactive training element for teen summer reading volunteers, plan and execute a fundraiser for Montclair Community Library, and produce a teen outreach video. Rob Solka, Librarian I and Teen Volunteer Coordinator, and I conducted 29 interviews to choose the two teens that would be awarded $500 each for 50 hours’ work.

Teens sit around a table working together.

Teens hard at work on the outreach video.

First, the teens developed a popular scavenger hunt to highlight the summer reading program and Montclair Community Library. They also created a role-playing component to help teens handle situations that might happen during their shifts. “The surveys after the training said the scavenger hunt was the best part because it was so much fun,” Solka said. “We will definitely do it again next year.”

Selected teens Katelynn L. and Sally D. also led teens on other projects. This provided individual professional development for them and also helped build the Montclair teen program since the projects were fun and memorable for teens participating.

Four teens pose in dance outfits in front of a rock wall.

Teens dressed up for the Rhythmaya program.

“We got our own project and got to be creative about it,” Sally said in describing the best part of participating in the grant. She was in charge of leading the outreach video that featured other teens. She added, “I liked working with everyone. You guys were really nice.”

Sally offered a unique perspective: she had never been to the library before being selected as one of the two interns. She was unaware of all the great resources that the library makes available to the public, but promotional efforts for the grant opportunity paid off.  “I learned about what the library has to offer for sure. OverDrive, hoopla digital. I didn’t even know the Digital Media Lab existed,” she said.

Four teens pose in front of a green screen.

Teens pose in front of a green screen in the Digital Media Lab.

Sally said she heard about the grant three different times before she decided to apply. “First, my English teacher told me. Then my school librarian told me. After that, I heard it on the school morning announcements,” Sally said. The Prince William Public Library System regularly coordinates and collaborates with Prince William County Public Schools and other schools in the community.

Katelynn, an active Montclair teen volunteer, was also selected and led a fundraiser selling doughnuts that raised $174.50. “The fundraiser was my favorite because of the experience it gave me. I’ll be able to use the skills I gained here in the future,” Katelynn said. She said she developed time management, leadership, and sales skills. “I always felt that I worked better alone. This helped with group project skills. I think it strengthened those.”

Solka, Katelynn, and I will be joining Tiffany Duck from Suffolk Public Library, the other library in Virginia to receive the YALSA Teen Intern Grant, to present “YALSA Teen Intern Grants: A Tale of Two Libraries” at the Virginia Library Association this October.

“I’m honored to have been given this position. I really enjoyed it,” Katelynn said.

 

 Robin Sofge is the Youth Services Supervisor at Montclair Community Library.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: East New Orleans Regional Library

With my Summer Resources grant, I purchased video games for our teen room and supplies for a maker wall and cart. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from this process, and what I wish I had been telling myself (and my coworkers) at the beginning of the summer:

  1. It doesn’t take as much as you’d think.
    When I applied for the YALSA Summer Resources grant, I predicted that I’d need to spend half of my grant money on video games. I spent months polling teens and asking for feedback about what games we should buy. (They’re not allowed to play M-rated games at the library, so that limited their options.) I don’t know much about video games, but I imagined we’d need a ton of them for teens to feel like they had enough choices. I was wrong. The same titles came up over and over again. It didn’t take as much money or as many video games as I thought it would to give teens some solid choices.
  2. Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened (or, just fix them when they do happen and move on!).
    If you work with teens, you have probably heard these concerns from your coworkers:
    “They’re going to draw/write/make/say/do something inappropriate.” I have only removed one inappropriate drawing from our teen room all summer.
    “They’re going to make a mess.” Yeah, they will make a mess. Then they’ll clean it up. If they don’t, I will.
    “They’re going to think it’s dumb.” Probably not. If they do, we’ll change it.
    “They’re just going to steal that.” Most of our maker wall supplies have not walked away. Bigger ticket items are in a cart that I can move in and out of the teen room. But I think that leaving some supplies in the room at all times shows teens that you trust them, and building that trust is critical. And if they do steal some stickers or a ball of yarn—who cares? Maybe that item will occupy them on a long bus ride or make them smile before a test. Plus, adults steal pens and other supplies from our library all day long—I’m not going to worry about it if teens take stuff that I’m specifically leaving for them to use.
  3. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good (or even the good enough).

I know this—we all know this—but I still have to remind myself all the time. If I waited for the perfect space or the perfect day or the perfect idea, I’d never get anything done.  Especially with a project like this, it will change over time. I can always add supplies or project ideas later, but it was important to start with what I have!

A maker wall at East New Orleans Regional Library.

The “Maker Wall” at East New Orleans Regional Library.

Carolyn Vidmar is a Teen Services Librarian at East New Orleans Regional Library.

Thoughts on two common teen developmental topics

Hi everyone!

To wrap up the month of the first of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, Teen Growth and Development, I thought I’d look at a couple developmental issues that affect teens and can cause inequities. Returning to the US Health and Human Services website, I found this fascinating statistic:

According to teens themselves, 57% of males and 37% of females (no data was apparently collected for non-binary teens) reported devoting at least sixty minutes of physical activity to their schedules, five or more days a week. Research has shown that among male teens, there is a considerable importance for “boys of all abilities to seek both structured and unstructured physically active fields, activities, and opportunities that elicit excitement, novelty, a sense of inclusion, and pleasurable experiences. However, those teen males in the same study “who self-identified as having low physical ability also revealed negative self-perceptions and body dissatisfaction and had internalized the idea that their (too fat or thin) bodies had no place in mainstream sport and physical activity”. Some teen males are less likely to use library services because they focus their time on physical activity; yet that very focus may limit them from pursuits that potentially will be of more interest to them and make them prosper as individuals. There are also many aspects to what type of physical activity options are available to teens, depending on their access to parks, gyms, rec centers, and other optimal locations and environments to pursue physical fitness. It is a critical need to close the gap to provide all teens in all communities with equal opportunities.

Chronic health issues affect nearly 1 in 3 teens. While many people default to thinking of adolescents as being in the “physical primes” of their lives, this is often not the case. Many teens struggle with often debilitating physical conditions (the most common of which is asthma), which library staff need to be aware of to best serve these users. As an example, sharing information with your peers about what asthma in teens looks like can be helpful is better understanding what some of your students or library users may be going through. Teens that deal with chronic illnesses, particularly those with issues that are not instantly visible, deserve understanding and the same services that are provided to those who have not been diagnosed with these maladies.

Thanks for reading and the work that you do for and with teens! Don’t forget to watch the free webinar that discusses this competency in-depth.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Teens engaging children through inquiry-based play

In my rural community, opportunities for teen employment are limited mostly to food service, yard work, and babysitting. When I applied for the YALSA/Dollar General Teen Summer Intern Grant, my goal was to offer meaningful employment that would allow teens to share their skills and passions with younger children. By employing interns in this way I could have helping hands during summer activities and provide a deeper learning experience for school-age participants.

I advertised the position through the guidance office of our local high school, who kindly emailed the details to all students. We also posted the opportunity on our library website, bulletin boards, and social media. With my program goals in mind, I needed candidates who genuinely enjoyed spending time with younger children. I also hoped for applicants who had experience with hands-on STEAM activities and who could take a leadership role during activities. Several applicants had leadership experience through Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, which has sparked my interest in reaching out and partnering with these community groups. Most of my interns had experience with the Technology Student Association at the high school, which might be another source of future collaboration.
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2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Reaching Underserved Youth through Teen Internship at Indian Prairie

As a district library, the Indian Prairie Public Library serves parts Darien, Burr Ridge, and Willowbrook, IL. One of the underserved areas in our district is known as Willowbrook Corner. In the summer, staff from the Kids & Teens department visit the Willowbrook Corner Summer Camp at Anne M. Jeans Elementary each week. We present activities to four different groups—approximately 72 kids, in grades K-5.

Our Teen Summer Intern, Carson Wagner, planned and presented the activities for the kids and led various staff members who took turns accompanying him on the visits. With Carson, the kids were able to plant seeds and learn about gardening, create Makey Makey banana pianos, play with a variety of musical instruments that the library circulates, make catapults, complete various art projects, and more. He taught them several cooperative group games, like Frogger, which he incorporated into his visits. On the last day, Carson delivered prize books. Each of the children received a new book to keep.
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