When I mention to some people that I’ve helped organize events that were not only staffed by teens, but also attended by over 100 of their peers, I get a variety of reactions: admiration, respect, but mainly people questioning my sanity. As someone who could get 6 teens in room on a good day (maybe more if there was pizza), making the jump from small, niche programs to taking a chance on planning something big required a lot of work and a big leap of faith. Now that I’ve lived to survive two large events and am in the midst of planning a third, I feel like I’m at a point where I can share what I’ve learned so perhaps you won’t end up crawling into a ball and crying when your administration suggests you “think outside the box” with your programming.
So what is big programming? “Big programming” is not a game of numbers; it is a mindset. Like most of you, I host some programs on a regular basis. We have an Anime Club, a Zombie Club, and a Minecraft program. We have a small group of devoted followers who come to these events and these programs are definitely one of my favorite parts of my job. However, these programs serve a niche audience. If 50 teens suddenly showed up to Zombie Club, I wouldn’t count it as “big,” since I would still be serving the same group.
In March 2013, staff members of the Youth Services department at the Kansas City Public Library took a group of teens on a field trip to the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City. This trip was just one of many that have come from a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Center (Kansas City, MO). Not only are teens able to expand their knowledge of places in the Missouri area, but they are getting an opportunity to see different things that may affect their lives. Teens are experiencing a host of activities that are enriching, educational, and fun. The impact of these trips is obvious to us as librarians – we are hoping to create lifelong learners. To those outside of our profession, we must advocate for teens, libraries, and the magical experiences in between.
Crystal Faris, the Director of Teen Services at the Kansas City Public Library, took the time to answer a few questions about the teen trips and the effect on teen programming at the library.
Marketing for advocacy doesn’t just need to come out of storage annually, like holiday decorations, when it’s time to defend this year’s youth services budget. Instead, advocacy needs to happen all year-round. If we’ve done our work during the year, it should be easy to have a range of examples of real impact from which to draw when next year’s budget is being decided. (more…)
Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! Over the next six weeks, I’ll be sharing some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.
In March, YALSA surveyed members whose job titles identified them as supervisors or managers. We asked them some questions about administrative support for teen services in their libraries, and what would improve that support. There were some common threads, and today I’m going to start with a big one:
Presenting Yourself as a Professional
In the comments to our survey, one manager said that YA librarians need to learn how to “code-switch” between being “hip” and being “professional.” It’s true that a lot of YA librarians have a lot invested in their look and style–and that works with teens. But sometimes the style doesn’t come across with the people who are making decisions–especially the ones who are of a different generation. (more…)
When I learned about Shakespeare in Bits at the fall 2012 YALSA Lit Symposium in St. Louis, it seemed like a great fit for our English Language Learners (ELLs), who are assigned Macbeth in 10th grade. Animation, audio and text combine to offer the reader a multimodal approach to reading and understanding Macbeth. After playing with the lite version, I wanted to see more. (more…)
I am enjoying the “Day in the Life” series and thought it would be interesting to write a post from my perspective. I started in public libraries as a Children’s and YA librarian for a small system, then became the Teen Coordinator for a larger system, did some partnerships and development work for a bunch of years in that same system, then managed a library building and now coordinate services to children, youth and families in a large urban/suburban library system. This day actually happened on Monday, May 6th.
8:25 – 8:50 Arrived at work and approved timesheets. Couldn’t remember the password to open the computer-controlled shades in my office so squinted into the sun.
8:50 – 9:30 Met with Senior Librarian in our Information Services section about updates that have been long needed to the Youth Services portal, the section on our staff intranet that includes too many separate lists we have to keep up, lots of duplication of information that is in other places, and other valuable stuff we could put in a different order. We developed a joint list of the easy parts and she will lead a conversation with the Youth Services Management Team about how to best organize the rest of the stuff. Our conversation was in the context of knowing that our County will be moving to a new platform later this year and we will need to migrate to a new platform. (more…)
Recently I was talking with library staff that work with youth and heard “Maker spaces are dead.” With an amazed look on my face, and since I know that many libraries are still developing these types of spaces, I said, “What?” And, it was repeated, “Maker spaces are dead.” The person who stated this was actually repeating something heard at another meeting. So, I contacted someone else I knew that was at that meeting and she confirmed. She’d heard that too – the idea was that in a few years the whole maker/DIY movement in libraries was going to be dead. Say by 2016.
This really bothered me, and at first I couldn’t figure out why. Then it came to me. People are missing the big picture here. Maker spaces aren’t about the space or the equipment in those spaces. They are really about a philosophy of service related to libraries and the community. Libraries and youth. Libraries and teens. (more…)
It’s Choose Privacy Week, and this year’s focus is on raising awareness of tracking mechanism used by the sites we visit. But teens might challenge those cookies and algorithms. One strategy I’ve observed them using more and more in the digital realm: split personalities. But unlike the depiction of Sybil’s bifurcation, these teens tend to stick closer to their chronological ages and societal stations. It’s the connections that vary.
Some teens carry a second cell phone, the one they would surrender if it was “taken up” in class. The trend towards alternate social media presences demands the same sort of deliberation and foresight. (more…)
A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between May 3 and May 9 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter. (more…)