Future Ready with the Library: Still Time to Apply for Cohort 3

There are still two weeks to apply for cohort 3 of Future Ready with the Library project that supports library staff in designing and implementing services that support college career readiness services for middle school youth, families, and community. You can learn more about the project and the cohort 3 application process by watching the recording of the informational session.

Cohort 3 applications are due May 15. Learn more and apply.

This project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is a collaboration between YALSA and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries.

If you have questions about the project contact Linda W. Braun the project manager, lbraun@leonline.com.

Future Ready with the Library: When a Snowball is More Than a Snowball

This is adapted from a Future Ready with the Library Community of Practice reflection by Allison Shimek, Fayette Public Library in La Grange, TX. Allison is a member of the second cohort of the YALSA Future Ready with the Library project. Future Ready with the Library provides support for small, rural, and tribal library staff to build college and career readiness services for middle school youth. Read more about Future Ready with the Library and apply for cohort 3.

image of teens reading snowball ideasLike everyone in the Future Ready with the Library cohort, over the past several months I have been busy with meetings and gathering information. Through this work I learned a tremendous amount about my community. So far I met with the middle school principal, middle school librarian, school district assistant superintendent, members of the community theater, parents, a local camp, teens, and the local Rotary Club. It seems that the majority of the community agrees that middle schoolers need social skills that will help them prepare for the workforce. At the same time, those I talk with note that there is little for middle school youth to do in the town during out of school time. Except for band and sports, all after school activities end at 6th grade. There is nowhere for teens to go and hang out or a place that they can feel is just for them. The entire community and the teens recognize this as a huge topic of concern. As a part of the Future Ready with the Library work, I plan to continue to meet with more community groups and businesses in the local area to learn how to and plan for ways to better support teens.
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Teen Services Competencies for Staff: Ensuring Equity of Access in Your Library

This spring, many students have walked out of class to call attention to the need for greater gun regulations in the wake of the Parkland shooting and on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Seeing these teens’ bravery woke up many of my favorite memories of working with passionate and idealistic young people.


By rmackman [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

But this sort of activism shouldn’t been limited to those in positions of relative power. I know librarians around the country were embracing these walkouts as teachable moments and punctuating students’ rights to demonstrate.

Like the ability to protest, access to information is a constitutionally protected right. These protests dovetail well with one of YALSA’s identified Core Competencies for Library Staff, ensuring Equity of Access, defined broadly as “access to a wide variety of library resources, services, and activities for and with all teens, especially those facing challenges to access.”

Equity is one of the most critical roles that libraries play in the lives of young people, helping to level a playing field that increasingly seems to depend upon consumer buying power.

As with all of YALSA’s competencies, these can be viewed in terms of developing, practicing, and transforming the work of libraries working for and with young people. The progression of these skills begins with recognition of this critical role in the lives of young people, progresses to taking action to work with others in the community to ensure equitable access, then culminates in sharing your work so that others can learn from it.
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Get Involved: Join the Financial Advancement Committee

YALSA is currently looking for members to join the Financial Advancement Committee.  What is FAC? This committee is tasked with the important job of working with the Board to implement virtual fundraising campaigns and fundraising efforts at conferences, aimed at both members and nonmembers, to support the $19,595 worth of scholarships and stipends YALSA gives out annually.

Being on FAC is a one year commitment and conference attendance is not required. FAC members work together virtually to plan and promote fundraisers throughout the year, focusing on different scholarships and stipends as we go along. For example, we are currently raising money for a National Library Legislative Day travel stipend, so YALSA can send members to Washington D.C. to advocate for teen services. We also raise money for other grants and awards that don’t have corporate sponsors, such as YALSA’s Spectrum Scholar, an Emerging Leader, a Board Fellow and a Midwinter Paper Presentation.

When FAC isn’t working on fundraising, we spend time contributing content to the YALSA Blog, helping members and non-members understand the long-term value of YALSA’s mission and work and we periodically update and promote YALSA’s Fundraising Toolkit. FAC also makes sure to thank all of the generous donors that give to YALSA.

Don’t have any experience fundraising? Don’t let that stop you! All you need is the ability to work virtually, creativity and a passion for YALSA’s mission! Being on FAC this year has been a very rewarding experience, and I hope you will join me in July for another great year.

If you think you would be a good fit for this exciting committee, please contact YALSA President-Elect Crystle Martin at crystle.martin@gmail.com

Supporting our Teens Working for Gun Reform

Written By Chris Tuttell

This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement

When the #EnoughisEnough movement began, many of our first thoughts may have been: how can I help? How can I support these courageous teens? As librarians, we are uniquely situated to support teens as they engage with social justice through our comfort with both the power of story and the importance of information literacy.

My journey to passionately advocating for the students calling for gun reform began because I believe that every student deserves to feel safe in their home, neighborhood, and school. I have been following @WhyWakeWalks—a local group of high school students in Raleigh, NC—as they have worked to gain awareness for the rally they are single-handedly organizing on April 20.

In an effort to raise awareness, gain district support,  and elevate the voices of these students, I interviewed the Why Wake Walks leaders on my podcast. The podcast, In Their Best Interest, is dedicated to elevating student voices and centering teens in education and advocacy conversations. This was a natural fit.

The teens in our #WhyWakeWalks podcast [spreaker.com/episode/14541745] powerfully articulate their platform and reference research and data. As librarians, we can help amplify teen voices in our communities—through social media, through the use of our library recording spaces and resources, through help with research, and most importantly, through lending our time to their causes.

Please consider ways in which you can support teens in your area as they advocate for safety in their schools and communities.

Visit the Youth Activism through Community Engagement wiki page for resources to help you and the teens you work with start conversations in your community.

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Chris Tuttell is a Librarian and Instructional Tech Facilitator in Wake County, NC. For the past 18 years, she has been an elementary school teacher, librarian, and instructional technology facilitator working with kindergarten through fifth grade students. Even though she works solely with elementary-aged students, she was so inspired by the teens advocating for safety from gun violence—both nationally and locally—she sought out teens in her district to support. Follow her at @ChrisTuttell.

Preparing for National Library Legislative Day

I’m getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for National Library Legislative Day on May 7 and 8. And that means more than just watching reruns of Parks and Rec and Veep! It means taking the time to prepare for the conversations we will have with representatives to advocate for libraries. You don’t have to be in Washington in May to advocate for libraries, you can call and email your representatives, too!  Register via the ALA site (it’s free) and they’ll send you free resources so you can easily participate from home. Here are some great tips from a recent NLLD webinar:

Know Your Audience

Create a legislator profile for the person you are contacting. Know their committee assignments, their history on library support and funding and try to find a personal connection if you can (you both have young kids, you both went to University of Pawnee, they are the caretaker of an aging parent). Whether you are talking to your elected official or their staff, this shows that you took the time to prepare and you really care! Continue reading

Transforming Teen Services Through CE: What’s Your Feedback

photo of participants in the live forum meeting in November 2017Over the past year, YALSA and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) worked together to research the continuing education (CE) needs of public library staff. That work (funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services) led to a report that is now available in draft form. YALSA and COSLA are seeking feedback from the library community on the content of the document.

The report looks at:

  • The skills and knowledge all library staff, not just staff with teen in their job title, need in order to serve adolescents successfully.
  • Why having the skills are important within the context of the lives of teens today.
  • The barriers and challenges in participating in high quality CE in the areas needed.
  • Examples of innovative models of CE

The report also provides a series of recommendations for a variety of stakeholder groups.

The feedback period is open through April 30.

You can learn more about the project on the YALSA website. If you have any questions about the project, the draft report, and/or the feedback requested feel free to get in touch with Linda W. Braun the Project Manager for the Transforming Teen Services Through CE project.

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff Webinar: Interactions with Teens

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffEach month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The April webinar (the full video recording is available after the break) focused on Interactions with Teens. Megan Burton, Kitsap Regional Library (WA) and Valerie Tagoe, Wilmer Hutchins High School, facilitated a lively discussion about strategies for building relationships with teens. Megan and Valerie included a lot of very useful tips and first-hand accounts of challenges and successes in this work.

YALSA will host a follow-up Twitter chat on interactions with teens on Thursday, April 26, at 7PM Eastern. Use the hashtag #yalsace to participate.
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Using ASCLA Toolkits for Autism Awareness Month

As the YALSA ALA Liaison, I communicate with many different groups whose member composition varies. One of the many benefits of working with so many diverse groups is being privy to the latest developed resources created by them that are also relevant for a library staff member serving teens. One such excellent resource I want to share with YALSA members comes from the Accessibility Assembly. The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) heads the ALA Accessibility Assembly, which is comprised of many liaisons from other ALA divisions and round tables as well as ASCLA members.

Several months ago, ASLCA updated their online toolkits that target easy ways in which library staff can make their places and services more accessible to “populations that are underserved such as those with sensory, physical, health or behavioral conditions, those who are incarcerated and more.” There are fifteen toolkits in total and many of the recommendations are applicable to teen library services. As April is nationally recognized as Autism Awareness month, the Autism Spectrum Disorders toolkit might be a good place to start in improving library services to your community’s youth and better meet their needs.

Consider this resource share as an opportunity to improve your status and knowledge in Competency Area 1: Teen Growth and Development and move further through the stages of Developing-Practicing-Transforming.

Amanda Barnhart is a Teen Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library and the current YALSA ALA Liaison.