Speak up for Teens this August

District Days offer the perfect opportunity for legislative advocacy. District Days are a period of time in which Congress is out of session and members of Congress are back in their hometowns. This year, District Days begin on August 1st and end on September 5th. This would be an excellent time for library staff to show elected officials how important libraries are and even get them to visit your library. Members of Congress are always busy in Washington and don’t get many opportunities to visit their local library and really see and understand all the services that libraries provide. It is important that they know this so that they can promote legislation that is beneficial to libraries and teens. If legislators actually see and experience all that libraries do they will be more likely to take action on behalf of libraries and teens. District Days offer library staff and teen patrons the chance to inform members of Congress of their constituents’ needs and help educate them on an issue that they might not know too much about. It can also help forge a relationship with elected officials that would be instrumental in bringing the needs of libraries to the minds of members of Congress, helping them make legislative changes that can only aid teens and libraries.

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YALSA Snack Break: Salvador Avila on Connecting Teens and Community

The latest YALSA Snack Break highlights the ways in which Salvador Avila, Manager of the Enterprise Branch of the Las Vegas Clark County Library District, is working with teens to help them connect to their passions, practice what they learn, and perform as a part of community programs and events.

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YALSA @ ALA Annual 2016: Update on Board Meetings, Discussions & Actions

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

As we celebrated our country’s independence last weekend, YALSA, too, has sought to break free from past models of association work and is currently exploring new ways to engage our members that better meet their interests, skills and busy lifestyles.

It was with those #teensfirst  and members’ first ideals in mind that the 2015-2016 YALSA Board approached our work before and during ALA Annual last month as we worked on aligning existing YALSA groups, programs and services with the association’s new Organizational Plan.

Here are some highlights:

– The Board adopted the following consent items, which were items that were discussed and voted on previous to annual, including:

– The Board also approved a more concrete structure to support and revitalize interest groups.

– The Board approved experimenting with new kinds of member engagement opportunities, especially virtual and short-term ones.

As part of its effort to align YALSA’s existing work with the new Organizational Plan, as well as update member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, the Board began a review of all existing member groups at our June meeting.  While the Board was not able complete the review, we did come to decisions about some of the groups.

– The Board agreed that the following committees’ structure and workflow will remain as they currently are:

  • Alex Award Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Board for YALS/YALSAblog
  • Financial Advancement Committee
  • Margaret Edwards Award Committee
  • Mentoring Task Force
  • Michael Printz Award Committee
  • Morris Award Committee
  • Nonfiction Award Committee
  • Odyssey Award Interdivisional Committee
  • Organization and Bylaws Committee
  • The Hub Advisory Board

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YALS Summer 2016 – Workplace Expectations for Today’s Library

cover of summer issue of YALS with pathway/map and images related to college career readinessThe theme of the summer issue of YALS (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) is college and career readiness. When thinking about being career ready it’s important to remember that library staff working with teens always have to be ready to support the needs of teens of the current age, and be able to work in the current library environment. Kimberly Sweetman’s article in this issue of the journal focuses on five areas library staff have to be ready to navigate in order to succeed in today’s library. You have to read the article to find out what those five areas are, but here are the resources Kimberly suggests you check-out to learn more about succeeding with current library workplace expectations:

Active Listening: Hear What People are Really Saying.”

Alessandra, Tony, “The Platinum Rule.”
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YALSA @ ALA Annual 2016: Take the Next Step in Teen Services

Over the past few years, I have noticed that there has been a movement in YALSA to shift teen services in libraries. This shift has taken teen library staff from being mere program providers to being opportunity connectors and learning leaders. With the rise of connected learning, libraries are quickly moving into the forefront of informal learning and teen empowerment. Library staff have become vital elements in the empowerment of teens through relevant, outcome-based programming that develops the 21st century teen. This notable change in direction has made me extremely passionate about services for and with teens, and I noticed this theme in every session I attended this year in Orlando. Library staff all over the country are stepping up their programming in favor of interest-based learning and exploration that effectively engages today’s teens.

One of the first sessions I attended was a presentation on Raspberry Pi by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. I had visited their booth in the exhibit hall and wanted to learn more about their products and how to incorporate them into my programs. Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your tv or computer monitor and uses a keyboard and mouse. It’s a high-performance device that allows the user to explore computing, coding, and more. I was amazed at how such a small device has put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. In addition to computer education, Raspberry Pi has an unlimited number of uses; everything from turning it into a personal wifi hotspot to creating advanced maker projects like a wearable camera or developing a multi-room music player. Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has partnered with British ESA Astronaut, Tim Peake, to send two Raspberry Pis (dubbed the Astro Pi) into the International Space Station. Both devices were augmented and coded in part by school-age students to measure the environment inside the station, detect how it’s moving through space, and pick up the Earth’s magnetic field. Each Astro Pi is also equipped with a different kind of camera; one has an infrared camera and the other has a standard visible spectrum camera. I had absolutely no idea that a Raspberry Pi had this much potential for STEM and cross-curriculum learning, or that the same Raspberry Pi’s that were sent into space are the same as the ones you can purchase online. Not only is the potential for engaging STEM learning abundant, but The Raspberry Pi foundation makes its learning resources available for free on their website. You can download their magazine, MagPi, check out their books that will help you navigate a Raspberry Pi, or begin tinkering with a Pi by downloading the desktop interface, Raspbian. With all of this potential for making and learning packed into a compact, affordable package, Raspberry Pi’s are the next step in your library’s makerspace.

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YALS Summer 2016 – A Library’s Role in Digital Equity

cover of summer issue of YALS with pathway/map and images related to college career readinessIn the summer 2016 issue of YALS, (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) Crystle Martin’s article on teens and digital equity explains why the library is such a valuable asset when providing access to digital tools and digital learning. Her article includes references and resources that shouldn’t be missed. The full list of those resources follows:

Research Mentioned
Davison, E., & Cotton, S. (2003). Connection discrepancies: Unmaking further layers of the digital divide. First Monday 8(3).

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education: An introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: MacMillan

DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality. In K. Neckerman (Ed.) Social inequality (pp. 355-400). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital na(t)ives? Variation in Internet skills and uses among members of the ‘Net Generation.’ Sociological Inquiry 80(1), 92-113.

Hargittai, E. (2004). Internet access and use in context. New Media & Society 6(1),137-143.

Hargittai, E., & Walejko, G. (2008). The participation divide: Content creation and sharing in the digital age. Information, Communication & Society 11(2), 239-256.
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Making connections: Learning to Network at ALA

networkingAs important as attending sessions at ALA conferences is, there’s another equally important activity that goes on almost constantly during conferences. Networking. Meeting new people happens in line for book singings, while tweeting about the conference, at socials, and before and after sessions. Four socials that I attended stuck out in my mind: one hosted by New Members’ Roundtable, another by Mango Languages, the Emerging Leaders Mix and Mingle, and the final social hosted by EveryLibrary. Conferences are one of the few instances in my life when I’m a social butterfly. During each of these socials, I met new people, exchanged business cards, and learned more about what the rest of the library world looks like. For those who have been in the profession for a while, networking may come easy, as natural as entering a room. But MLIS students, new librarians, and more introverted librarians may struggle with socializing at conferences. To help out, I’ve pulled together a few best practices (in my opinion) for networking based upon my attendance at ALA conference and others. I’m sure there are even more tips from even better networkers, but here’s what I got:

First, don’t be shy. I know that’s easy enough to write, but test out interacting with new people. It’s not as hard as it seems. Librarians are a friendly and engaged bunch. If walking up to a group full of strangers is too much for you, begin with introducing yourself to one or two people at a session or while wandering around a social. Even better if you can introduce someone you already know to a new friend. This takes a bit of pressure off since all the attention isn’t focused on you. This is a trick I use frequently. Now you’re not only networking, but you’re also a connector!

Second, bring business cards. I honestly didn’t share too many cards while at this past conference. But during my first Annual, I forgot my business cards and all of the sudden everyone wanted one. Just in case, I would recommend bringing at least 25 or so business cards for a conference. Depending upon what you’re attending or doing at the conference, you may need even more cards. If you’re presenting, definitely bring cards.

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YALS Summer 2016 – College & Career Readiness

cover of summer 2016 YALS showing map with paths to different college career related iconsAny day now YALSA members and YALS subscribers should find in their mailboxes the latest issue of YALS. (The digital edition is already available on the Members Only section of the YALSA website.) The summer 2016 theme is college & career readiness (CCR) and includes articles on:

  • Developing space that supports helping youth gain CCR skills and information
  • Developing activities and a program of service that supports teen acquisition of CCR skills and information
  • The role of digital equity in CCR
  • What Project Lead The Way is all about
  • How creating tinkering opportunities supports teen ability to gain 21st century skills
  • The skills library staff need to succeed in the 21st century work place

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REMIX: What’s New At YALSA session, ALA Annual Conference

Are you a member of YALSA?  If you are not, you should be.  YALSA’s newly adopted organizational plan is creating an organization that is “more nimble, more modern and more reflective of the needs of teens and
our members”, according to Past-President, Candace Mack.  The changes in YALSA are daring to imagine a new vision of teen services in any library that serves teens.

On Saturday, at ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, YALSA’s leadership held an informational and focus finding meeting, “What’s New with YALSA” for membership.  Those who attended the session served as a focus group of members who had the opportunity to hear the organizational plan, and then provide feedback about what that plan looks like to them.

The first question posed to the group:  “What opportunities for member engagement do you find most useful?

  • Members were quick to point out that YALSA’s trainings provided wonderful opportunities for meaningful and timely learning.
  • YALSA offered so much to members in terms of grants and awards. Several people in the room indicated that they had applied and received a YALSA grant or award in the past.
  • YALSA’s blogs are all content meaningful, never fluff. Whether a quick glance or an in depth read, a visit to the blogs always provided useful information.
  • Serving on a committee, taskforce, jury, or in an office, afforded them an opportunity to demonstrate and develop leadership opportunities that may not have been available in their workplace.
  • YALSA’s programming at conferences and the YALSA Symposium continue to provide the best quality to dollars spent among all of the affiliates under the ALA umbrella.

The next question for the group: What have you found specifically meaningful about these opportunities?

Webinars and Trainings:  Experienced members pointed out that YALSA’s webinars, trainings, and blogs seem to always provide the timeliest information to address what is going on in their libraries now. Serving the Underserved trainings were timely when services to teens were in question in many libraries in the country.  These trainings provided an advocacy and programming approach for librarians on the front lines to use to demand more for teens.  When those trainings had met their purpose and teen services began to gain a foothold in libraries across the country YALSA was not afraid to say that they had served their purpose and move on. When studies showed that boys reading was lagging behind their female counterparts, YALSA began offering programming ideas and training to draw the young male reader.  In addition, YALSA has never been afraid to embrace our teens and promote equality, diversity, visibility, and inclusion no matter how teens identified themselves or what they may be facing in life.

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