National Week of Making: STEM Programming and YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ

National Week of Making is upon us, and with that, I thought it would be fun to highlight some program ideas that I have done at my library, and some that were shared on the YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ. STEM programs becoming more and more prevalent in libraries, and it is possible to do these programs in the smallest of libraries to the largest.

As we all know, STEM programs are a great way to get preteens and teens excited about coming to the library. It is a chance for them to expand their STEM skills, and to use devices, programs, and materials that may not be available to them in their schools. At my library, we work with a lot of schools that are disadvantaged, and we want to be a place for preteens and teens to learn something outside of school that could interest them enough to make a career out of it. With this in mind, we started a STEM Club a couple of years ago, along with a dedicated teen volunteer. Within our club, we have taught teens how to code, print on a 3D printer, make apps, build with Strawbees, and so much more.

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Common Reading for Freshman Students

A continuing trend for colleges and universities is to sponsor a Common Reading Program for incoming freshman. These programs aim to connect new students around a shared experience that promises to build community. Every freshman (in theory) reads the book, so when they arrive in August, they have something to talk about beyond the normal freshman small talk.

Now, this isn’t a new idea and in fact, lots of libraries have done similar programs with their more broader community. We might call it something different, like City Reads or One Book, One City, but the concept is the same. It’s a way to bring people together, create common ground, share diverse perspectives, and come to a better understanding of one another.

The library is a natural partner in these sorts of programs, not only for our ability to provide copies of the book, but also the wealth of resources around the book itself. We are in great positions to provide programming and additional information for those really interested in the book content. Additionally, because the library is often considered a third space, it’s a natural spot for some community discussions on the book.

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Putting Teens First In Library Services: A Road Map

Check out this 20 minute video in which I talk with Shannon Peterson, Youth Services Manager, Kitsap (WA) Regional Library, about the new book, Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Road Map, we edited for YALSA. During our conversation we talk about each of the topics (continuous learning, connected learning, youth voice, community engagement, and outcomes) covered in the volume. We also discuss some of the ways that the title will be useful to a wide-range of library staff from those just starting out to those who have been working with and for teens for many years.

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Get Involved in YALSA!

2017 marks a milestone in my career. It’s been 10 years since I worked in a library! I started working in my local library in high school, shelving books and preparing materials for circulation, working my way through different positions before becoming a YA Librarian in 2003. Without knowing it, I landed my dream job! The library climate was very different then…there were far fewer YA librarian positions and even less that were dedicated YA positions (mine was half YA half Volunteer Coordinator). Finding a place to ask questions, gain support, and foster my excitement about serving this great population became a critical part of my career. I became a YALSA member because I needed what YALSA provided. In 2007, my career took a turn and I became a Consultant for Youth Services in a regional library system in MA. YALSA continued to provide me with opportunities and resources that helped me become a resource to my members. Now, I’m the Consulting and Training Services (CATS) Director for the MA Library System. I haven’t worked directly with youth in ten years, but YALSA is still as important as ever to me.

I’m sure your story is similar to mine. Working with teens is a unique and wonderful experience that fulfils many of us. Many librarians I’ve spoken with say they have “found their calling” when describing why they are YA librarians.

As a member of YALSA, I wanted to give back to the organization that had given me so much. I gained teamwork, leadership, and project management skills as I volunteered and participated in in-person and online committee work. Toward the end of 2009, I saw that YALSA was re-committing itself to not only providing opportunities for librarians serving teens, but to the teens themselves. I wanted to be a part of that conversation. After talking with a few trusted colleagues, I ran for the YALSA board and won a seat on the Board of Directors.

What’s YALSA committee and Board of Director work like?  It’s amazing. To be an active member of the organization gives you a new sense of understanding. You’ll gain critical leadership skills (public speaking, project and financial management, working with people of differing viewpoints, time management and more) and be an integral part of the organization. There’s a lot of work, though. Meetings (online and in person), self-directed assignments like reviewing board reports, connecting with other YALSA members, acting as a YALSA rep in your region/district/state, bringing ideas to the table, and balancing big picture thinking with practical library implementation. Library and family support of your role is critical, as travel to conferences is often (but not always) required. You’ll need to manage your work to ensure ample time for committee/board work. Board work is generally 5 hours a month, and more during the months of Midwinter and Annual. Committee work time varies by committee. Conferences will become work time, not session attending time. But you won’t miss out on the learning aspect. What you will learn in a role like this cannot be taught in any session or workshop.

Are you hesitant about this? Good…that means you are thinking seriously about it! But with some support and planning, board work can fit and enhance your professional life. Don’t agree with the votes or thoughts of others? A difference of opinion is welcome, provided that it is done with respect to colleagues as we all move forward to ensure the mission and vision of YALSA is fulfilled.

Being an active member of an organization like YALSA will give you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, while giving back to an organization that is so critical to many of our colleagues working with young adults.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns about considering a role as a YALSA Leader. And join us on June 20 for our Open Q and A to learn more about YALSA Governance

Sarah Sogigian is the Consulting and Training Services Director at the Massachusetts Library System. She has been an active member of YALSA for over 10 years, including serving a 3 year term on the YALSA Board of Directors. She is currently Chair of the Governance Nominating Committee.

Board Doc # 32: Teen Tech Week and Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week have done a great job of getting the word out about two specific areas of teen services. But feedback from these two celebrations demonstrates that there are needs of the community that are not being met. One of these needs is that for nearly a decade members have been asking for more examples of low-cost and no-cost programming that works with these and other topics for teen services.  Another is to create more awareness and advocacy opportunities for teen services.

To meet these needs, this board doc offers a re-envisioning of TRW and TTW. It offers several options for thinking about the role TRW and TTW serve for YALSA members. One option is to combine TRW and TTW into one month long celebration of teen services, as a public awareness campaign to raise awareness about the value of teen services. The document outlines modeling it in part on the Lights on Afterschool celebration.  It also emphasizes the importance of selecting a month that supports school and public libraries can celebrate.  The month long celebration offers flexible participation, opportunities to try new things with the longer celebration time, and  structure for celebrating in a way that best fits each libraries needs. It broadens the focus to cover all areas of teen services so that you can customize for your community and your teens.

Along with this month long celebration, the document also focuses on implementing teen services and programs year-round teen programs and services. This will support library staff in all sizes of libraries to more easily support teens in the library, no matter what their staffing situation.

For more information check out board document #32 located here! Have questions? Post your comments here!

Crystle Martin, YALSA Secretary, 2017-2018 President-Elect

 

Future Ready with the Library Cohort 2 – Time to Apply


Future Ready with the Library Cohort 1 gets messy while learning

Do you work with youth in a small, rural, or tribal library?

Would you like to help middle schoolers start to think about how they can turn what they love to do and are interested in into a career?

Do you want to join with your community members to support the success of middle school youth and their families?

Are you interested in learning more about teens, community engagement, connected learning, and college and career readiness?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions then it’s time for you to consider applying to participate in the second cohort of YALSA’s Future Ready with the Library IMLS funded project.

The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that All Students Are on Target for College and Career Readiness highlights the need for and value of supporting the college and career readiness needs of middle school youth and their families. A key finding of the research included in the report notes that, Continue reading

ALA Annual Visit: Eating in Chicago with Special Diets

Chicago offers a smorgasbord of delicious food options, even to those with dietary restrictions. While you should be able to find at least one option that fits your diet at most restaurants, a great thing about the city is that there are all kinds of people and we have restaurants for every taste. Here are some restaurants that specialize in vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, Kosher, or Halal options.  In addition to names and addresses, I’ve listed each restaurant’s distance on foot from McCormick Place.

Eleven City Diner, 1112 S. Wabash, 1.7 miles – Kosher

This Jewish deli serves up corned beef, pastrami, beef brisket, and lox.  For breakfast, try the Eleven City French Toast.  They also have several vegan/vegetarian options.

Chicago Curry House, 899 S. Plymouth Court, 2 miles – Halal

Chicago Curry House offers Nepalese and Indian cuisine, including a full buffet.  Try the momo and naan.  They also offer a large selection of vegetarian meals.

Jason’s Deli, 1258 S Canal St, 2.2 miles – Gluten-free, Vegan/vegetarian

This health food deli has both a vegetarian and a gluten-sensitive menu.  Their website also include a Special Diets Wizard that allows you to search for items without the common allergens of your choice. Continue reading

Want to get involved in YALSA? Volunteer for a Jury or Short Term Group

Have you wanted to get involved in YALSA but don’t know where to start? Are you a committee pro but don’t have the time to commit to a full year committee term? Are you a YALSA member who likes a shorter term volunteer opportunity?

Juries and short-term groups may be just what you are looking for! These opportunities range in length from 3 to 6 months.

Juries (3-month appointment, starting in Nov.1; 4-month appointment for chairs, starting Oct. 1)

Short Term Groups

The jury and short-term group volunteer window is open until July 1. Use this quick form to volunteer! Once you have been appointed to a committee or jury you will receive an email from the Membership Marketing Manager. Accept your place on the committee or jury by responding to the email and be ready to jump in when you here from the chair.

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YALSA Board @ #alaac17

Happy LGBTQIA Pride Month!

YALSA’s Board has been hard at work since their last face-to-face meeting in Atlanta: continuing the work of the organizational plan, working on these projects, and planning for ALA Annual in Chicago!

Now, the Annual Conference is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to the Printz Ceremony on Friday night, honoring Sarah Dessen at the Edwards Award Brunch on Saturday morning, talking with members at our Membership Meeting and President’s Program and so much more! You can find the details about these events and many more YALSA activities on the YALSA wiki.

In lieu of a happy hour this conference, YALSA is co-sponsoring The Other (Invisible) Refugees – Supporting Central American Children in Crisis on Saturday, June 24, from 4:30-6:30 pm in McCormick Place, W178a.  Join us for viewing a film from IBBY & REFORMA, and learn about the Children in Crisis Project, which seeks to raise awareness about these vulnerable youth and to provide resources to them. Donations are accepted at the door.

The Board agenda is up online, and more documents will be posted soon. Members can check them out in advance and send comments or feedback to me at gsarahthelibrarian @gmail.com. If you’ll be in Chicago for the conference, the first ten minutes of each of our board meetings are open to public comment. If you have a question for a particular board member about a document they’ve written, you can reach out to them here.

Be on the lookout for more blog posts in the two weeks from fellow Board members about the topics up for discussion and action.

You can stay up to date with all the conversations by following Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights. In addition, there will be follow-up blog posts explaining decisions and board actions once the conference is done.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an awesome association, safe travels and hope to see you in Chicago!

President’s Report – May

Annual 2017 is almost here!  It’s been a busy month preparing for conference, but I’m looking forward to a productive and exciting week in Chicago!

Accomplishments

  • Led the May board chat about the 2017-2018 draft implementation plan.  Look for an updated version coming soon!
  • Beth Yoke submitted these comments on behalf of the YALSA board about net neutrality to the FCC website, urging the FCC to neither alter nor eliminate the Open Internet Order.
  • The Board moved to approve the establishment of a President’s Advisory Taskforce for in-coming President Sandra Hughes-Hassell.
  • Traveled to DC for my very first National Library Legislative Day and went to 7 meetings on the Hill in 7 hours!  It was energetic and eye-opening and I enjoyed the conversations I had with committee and Congress representatives. Some of the meetings were held jointly with my colleagues from AASL, ALSC, PLA, and ACRL. You can read more about my day in DC in Beth Yoke’s blogpost.
  • Communicated with YALSA representatives to ALA Committees about their upcoming meetings in Chicago
  • Because Franklin Escobedo will be moving to secretary after Annual (due to Crystle Martin being elected to President-Elect in April), the Board filled the vacancy with Derek Ivie. Welcome, Derek!
  • Completed quarterly report for executive committee
  • Worked with the Executive Director on the first draft of the agendas for the meetings of the Executive Committee and Board at Annual
  • Prepared an annual report to the ALA Council about YALSA’s achievements during the year
  • Filled the opening on BFYA with Matthew Layne and the vacancy on GGN with Gail Tobin.  Thank you, Matthew and Gail!
  • Answered questions from YALSA members about committees, task forces, and various other topics

Works in Progress

  • The Board is currently virtually discussing how to best utilize endowment interest.
  • Finalizing documents and agenda for all meetings at Annual in Chicago. All Annual board docs will be posted here in the next few weeks.
  • Assisting Sandra Hughes-Hassell, incoming president, with Board Training at Annual
  • Finalizing agenda for Joint Executive Committee meeting at Annual with ALSC and AASL
  • Preparing for the Membership Meeting/President’s Program about college, career, and life readiness for teens that will be held Monday, June 26, at 10:30a in W184bc
  • Will attend PLA’s diversity-focused library internship training program next week in D.C.

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in April = $845
  • YALSA Membership 4,813 (down 7.2% over April 2016)

Don’t Forget!

  • Visit the YALSA at ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference webpage to find out what’s happening in Chicago! Join Sarah Dessen at the Edwards brunch!  Or Rep. Lewis at the Printz reception!
  • Registration is now open for the 2017 YA Services Symposium, which will take place Nov. 3-5 in Louisville, KY. Register now through Sept. 15 and save with early bird rates! Housing is also open now through Oct. 1.
  • Log on to learn about YALSA leadership opportunities on June 20th at 2 pm ET! Check your e news email for the login info.
  • Members can reserve their free seat in the June 15 webinar: Creative Youth Development: Part One.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

THANK YOU

  • to all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities!
  • to YALSA staff and the YALSA board for your commitment to support our members!

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Hill, YALSA President 2016-2017