I’ve been fortunate to be part of Limitless Libraries, Nashville’s groundbreaking collaboration between school and public libraries, from both the school and public library perspectives. Students and teachers in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are automatically enrolled in Limitless Libraries, meaning their student and teacher ID numbers are also public library card numbers. They can access all of Nashville Public Library’s (NPL’s) digital resources, and request physical materials that arrive through school delivery. Additionally, Limitless Libraries supplements local schools’ library budgets to ensure all MNPS libraries have recent and relevant collections.
Shortly after Limitless Libraries began, a private donor, inspired by the collaborative spirit of the program, donated $1 million through the Nashville Public Library Foundation to renovate two MNPS libraries—one high school and one middle school. NPL’s funding and renovation experience combined with MNPS’s knowledge of their students and best school library practices to produce welcoming and functional school libraries. As the librarian at the selected middle school, I worked with MNPS and NPL to create a student-centered, flexible-use space to meet the needs of our school. We surveyed students and teachers to find out what they wanted in their library; their responses became part of the architect’s design. Students selected the color scheme. They told us they wanted a place to hang out in comfy chairs. When the library opened the following school year, students saw how much their input mattered, and how integral they were to the design. Needless to say, they LOVED it.
Any 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 Spring 2017 theme is Advocacy and includes articles on:
- Using media literacy to combat youth extremism
- Supporting teens understanding privacy and surveillance in digital spaces
- Teaching Hip Hop as a way of life and a means to empower youth
- Advocating for teens in public libraries
- Creating a unique brand for your school library
- The library as a refuge for marginalized youth
- Moving from passivity to activism
- Making a case for teens services
This content was originally posted on the YALSA Future Ready with the Library Cohort Community of Practice and written by Stephanie Loiselle. The Future Ready with the Library project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
March was a month that kept me hopping. I really enjoyed meeting so many people in the community, and hearing their concerns and interests. I met this month with people from the economic development committee, school board, superintendent, our business owners who belong to the Main Street organization, a couple of teen groups, and some interested parents. I still have meetings lined up with the school librarian, PTO, and our state rep who has been working with our manufacturing locations on how to attract more employees.
As I’ve talked with other Future Ready with the Library cohort members, I’ve expressed some frustration with the tendency of people to associate libraries with early literacy exclusively, which is actually my LEAST successful service area. Because of the conversations I’ve had, I look forward to really turning up my advocacy and letting the entirety of the town know what we are up to in serving middle school youth, and other teens too. Part of this will involve taking the library outside the walls for programs.
As democratic strongholds, libraries are open to all, serving as a space for community engagement, open discussion, and intellectual development. Not only does the library space serve as a civic forum and information hub, libraries are community conversation initiators and civic guides (Gutsche, 2012; Kranich, 2012). Often when discussing civic engagement, the focus is on adult participation. However, teens should be brought into the discussion as young citizens with powerful voices that can effect change on local, state, and national levels. Libraries provide teens with “genuine and meaningful opportunities to work with each other and with policymakers to impact issues of importance” (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2011, pg. 2). Civic engagement is tied to healthy youth development, introducing opportunities for teens to become comfortable expressing themselves, learn to think critically, and hone empathy and compassion skills.
Teens must develop the skills necessary to fully participate as engaged and informed citizens. Librarians can, and frequently do, help by providing youth programming that supports the development of 21st century skills. YALSA’s report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, highlights the essential literacies that youth need to acquire to be work, college, and life ready. Through knowledge and skill accumulation, teens are more confident entering a world where sometimes opportunities for personal and professional development are few and far between. Additionally, within the safe space of a library, teens feel liberated to share their opinions, thoughts, and concerns with willing, involved, and engaged peers and adults. Growing up in a small rural town in Georgia, my library became one of the few places where I could learn about cultures, belief systems, and opinions that were far removed from my tiny hometown. These experiences have had a deep impact on how I serve my local community, country, and profession.
Tomorrow the YALSA Executive Committee will hold its virtual Spring meeting! I’m joined on this committee by President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Past President Candice Mack, Division Councilor Todd Krueger, Fiscal Office Nick Buron, Secretary Crystle Martin, and Executive Director Beth Yoke.
The YALSA Board of Directors is the decision-making body of YALSA, so the meeting will be a discussion session. The Executive Committee focuses on strengthening YALSA’s relationship to ALA by fostering strong ties with ALA governance, as well as providing oversight and support for fiscal planning. Take a look at the agenda and the committee documents. If you have any questions about the Executive Committee’s meeting, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian [at] gmail [dot] com.
Stay tuned for more posts about the Executive Committee’s meeting in the coming days that my colleagues will be writing!
Looking for ways to participate in YALSA? Have the time and energy to serve on a YALSA Selection Committee? Have previous literature evaluation experience and previous successful committee experience? Have a strong sense of integrity and high ethical standards?
If you answered yes, then make sure to complete a Committee Volunteer form now. The form closes on Friday, June 2nd .
As YALSA President-Elect, I’m preparing to make appointments to the Printz, Edwards, and Nonfiction Award committees. If appointed, work on these committees will run from Feb. 1, 2018 through Jan. 31, 2019.
- To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form.
- Individuals may not serve on more than one selection or award committee at the same time, nor may they serve on the board and a selection or award committee at the same time.
- There are no virtual members on Printz or Nonfiction—those committee members MUST attend ALA’s 2018 Annual Conference and 2019 Midwinter Meeting. The Edwards Committee works 100% virtually, so there are no in-person meeting requirements for that committee.
Important Points to Keep in Mind:
- We strive to ensure a broad representation on all committees across diverse backgrounds, types of libraries, geographic location and more.
- Serving on an award committee is a significant commitment.
- Please think about what your work, personal, and family commitments will be in 2018 before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
- When you fill out a form, you will receive an automated email response letting you know it was received. After that, you should not expect to hear about the status of your volunteer form until I contact you in mid to late June.
Want more information? Check out the Committee FAQ, and read this brief article. You can also watch the Selection Committee Webinar, or contact a current committee chair.
Please free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and a lot can be shared with teens about the negative side effects underage drinking can have on youths. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol usage by youths “is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex, and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction.” The NCADD also shares that “more than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions more people – parents, family members, friends, and neighbors.” Research has shown that teens who have open conversations with their parents about alcohol and drugs are 50% less likely to use versus teens who do not have these conversations with their parents. These statistics alone are proof enough that parents, as well as educators, librarians, etc. should be bringing these conversations and issues to light.
Although the idea of teens using alcohol and drugs is daunting, there are a lot of ways that librarians can bring facts and information to their teen customers. Sometimes teens don’t want to listen to what their parents have to say, but librarians can do a lot to get these facts out. One thing librarians could do is to have a teen council, or program, where the idea of alcohol awareness is shared. Librarians can even present a quiz the NCADD developed for teens to see if they have alcohol issues. The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens) has a few free, online games that explore what happens to the brain and body when drugs and alcohol are used.
This content was originally posted on the YALSA Future Ready with the Library Cohort 1 community of practice and written by Christina Boyles. The YALSA Future Ready project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services
On Monday, March 20th, my library hosted our first College and Career Readiness programming roundtable event. Our goal was to find out what our community members feel the youth in our community need in order to be successful. We personally invited community members (including teachers, school administrators, school counselors, school board members, county commissioners and parents) to the meeting, we encouraged youth to attend and it was advertised on Facebook, at the school literacy night and through word of mouth. We had food – I ordered pizza and breadsticks and had water available. We only had five adults and two middle school students attend. It was definitely not the turnout I was looking for – I had a lot more people say they were coming than who actually came – but that is okay. I know the people who attended care, I know they had opinions that they wanted to share and I was there to listen.
I started with a brief discussion on what the Future Ready with the Library project is all about and what the library’s goals are as a part of that project. As each person walked in I gave them a copy of the pamphlet I created that provides information on the project. I also gave everyone an article from Forbes on the top 10 things employers are looking for in employees and an article on the seven skills students need to succeed. Then I opened the floor for open discussion to the public and what followed was a fantastic two hour discussion.
To be honest, I just really need to tell you about this toasted marshmallow latte. Seriously, that’s the whole point of this post.
I’m not sorry. In fact, you’re welcome in advance!
Typically, I’m not a latte drinker. Instead, I tend to favor coffee. Plain and simple. The less frills the better, really. Except we all know some of the best roasts and roasting methods are quite fancy and the resulting flavors and aromas are often worth the wait. And, since we’re heading to Chicago I thought it might be fun to profile a few of my favorite coffee shops.
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