I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the incredible and enriching experience I had as a 2016 YALSA Emerging Leader. Without the Friends of YALSA and your donations, I would have not had enough money to attend both conferences as was necessary with this honor.
Participating in the Emerging Leaders program has changed my life as a new librarian. Not only did I have the privilege of attending both ALA Midwinter and Annual, but I got to participate in leadership training with 49 other outstanding young librarians. It was an amazing networking opportunity, not only with my diverse cohort, but also with the leaders of the program and guest speakers.
I also had the privilege of working on a project for YALSA with 5 other Emerging Leaders. We created a social media calendar for YALSA to use with its members. We started by surveying YALSA members about how they use social media, then developed best practices based on the response, and finally developed a social media calendar with Facebook and Twitter posts for the entire year. I learned so much throughout this process, including how to communicate and manage a large scale project virtually. At ALA Annual, we presented our project at the Emerging Leaders poster session, but also to the YALSA Board, which was super exciting.
Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA), the official research journal of YALSA, is currently accepting submissions for a special themed issue. It will highlight research related to social justice issues and public and school library services for teens. Researchers, librarians, graduate students, and others who conduct research related to teens (ages 12 – 18) and libraries are invited to submit manuscripts. Papers describing both scholarly research (qualitative, quantitative, or theory development) as well as action research are welcome for peer review and consideration of publication. Papers that report library programs but lack an original research component will not be considered.
JRLYA is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal located. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with this population.
You may have already read about YALSA’s IMLS funded project, “Future Ready with the Library.” It’s focus is on helping library staff in small, rural, and tribal libraries to support the college and career readiness of middle school students. That’s right, middle school students. Some people I talk with wonder, why start at that young age? Isn’t that too young? These are teens who are as much as 7 years away from graduating high school, why make them think that far in advance?
Those are all good questions and it’s understandable why they get asked. The thing is that what we do in libraries to support middle school student (and beyond) passions and interests, really helps them to think about pathways to college and career success, even if it’s not overtly presented that way. For example: Continue reading
YALSA’s webinars this fall cover a variety of topics from school library partnerships to coding as a learning activity to transitioning from summer reading to summer learning. Along with these new webinar topics YALSA is moving to a new webinar platform and format. Starting in September webinars will be hosted using Zoom and instead of 50 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A we are going to focus on 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes in which attendees get to talk with each other, and the presenters, about the topic. Here’s a brief overview of what’s coming this fall: Continue reading
More and more these days, teens and preteens are expected to participate in community service for their school requirements. This is a great opportunity for teens and preteens to give back to their community and learn skills that are helpful in their lives, education, and career. For a library, it can often be difficult to accommodate the vast number of teens and preteens who wish to participate. It is also difficult dealing with different ages and abilities.
In my library system, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we have a program for older teens, ages 14 – 18, that they apply to, are interviewed for, and dedicate their time for a semester. Because of the responsibilities that are given to these teens, it would be difficult to accommodate those that are younger. This is why our system developed the Community Service Project for Preteens program(s).
The Community Service Project for Preteens is a great way for youths, aged 11 – 14, to earn their community service requirements, but they are also given tasks that are more appropriate for their age. These preteens are not required to apply, as if for a job, they simply have to register to come and complete the given task. By having preteens register for the program, staff are able to control the number of participants, but it also teaches preteens the responsibility of signing-up on time. These programs often fill up fairly quickly, and we do not allow a waiting list due to the quantity of the materials, etc. By meeting the deadline for registration, preteens are gaining responsibility for themselves.
I can’t believe it’s already time for my first monthly president’s report! Tune in monthly to find out what I’ve been up to. Most importantly, a huge thank you to the YALSA Board, staff, and members who made Annual 2016 great!
Here’s what I’ve been working on since then:
Appointments to the Edwards, Printz, and Nonfiction committees
Virtual online training for new board members
Assigned board mentors, board liaisons, and standing board committee members
When we think of creating programming for teens, our first thoughts are probably what are teens into? A Teen Advisory Board can be helpful in deciding which programs they might be interested in. Casually bring up all ages events at TAB meetings, and whether a teen wants to volunteer to help run it or show up for the event itself, it boosts attendance and their enjoyment of library activities.
It can be hard to separate what I think is awesome from what my teens might, so I even had to question whether they would be into Pokemon Go. (Clearly, it’s taken off with all age groups, but that’s a whole other blog post.) So when it comes to creating programming specifically for teens, maybe we restrict ourselves too much. I know that YALSA members want to provide targeted programming for teenagers but it is important not to ignore the fact that sometimes teenagers really want to participate in programs aimed at younger readers.
It’s a delicate balance to strike in order to invite teens into all-ages programming. First, you need to make them feel welcome there, instead of making them feel like the kid who never outgrew Chuck E. Cheese. The children at an all-ages event also need to feel comfortable with having older teenagers around. I’ll repeat that it’s important to have specific, targeted programming for teens, but also it’s important to make them feel included in general library events.
Recently at my library there was a petting zoo as part of our Summer Reading Program, and it was conceived for younger children, the normal age group for an activity like this. I was surprised at how many teenagers, caregivers (and library staff) were excited for the petting zoo. One of my Teen Advisory Board members brought friends, while another volunteered, and they were more than thrilled to pick up the bunnies and the chicken, and pet the pig that had come along as well.
Yesterday during a virtual meeting to address unfinished business from its June meeting, the YALSA board met to continue its discussion about how to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan. Last month, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at their June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post). The Board accomplished a lot in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups. The Board met virtually yesterday to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio recording of the meeting.
The Board voted to accept the recommendations from the Standing Board Committee for transforming the first 8 strategic committees as listed in Board Document #2. This includes keeping some strategic committees as-is (Awards Committee Nominating Committee, Awards & Selection Oversight Committee, Competencies Task Force, President’s Planning Taskforce, School and Public Library Cooperation Interdivisional Committee), expanding others (Division and Membership Promotion Committee, Research Committee) and the transitioning to more of a short-term structure for the Summer Learning Taskforce. These changes will not go into effect until July 2017, as the next several months will involve working out a transition plan.
Over the last few years the library world has been buzzing about programming in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and coding, the new digital literacy. For many librarians like myself, who come from a humanities background and are used to planning programming around books and literature, this new digital literacy can seem daunting. Add in the fact that many celebrated STEM and coding programs are backed by large budgets, multi-system libraries, and lots of staff, and the idea of putting together a meaningful program at your own library can seem almost impossible! However, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a big budget and oodles of staff to bring computer science to your community. You just need Girls Who Code.
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit aimed at closing the gender gap in tech. As the name Girls Who Code indicates, women are still vastly underrepresented in the tech industry – just 18% of computer science graduates are women. Girls Who Code is working to change this with their FREE Clubs program that teaches middle and high school girls how to code after school during the academic year. The organization partners with volunteers like libraries to host and facilitate the Club curriculum – all you need to host your own Club is space, computers, internet and leadership. The program goes beyond just exposing young people to the hard skills of computer science, it also fosters soft skills like public speaking, networking, and collaboration. Additionally, the Girls Who Code network includes a supportive and active community of over 10,000 girls across the country.
What can library staff serving teens do to support teen mental health needs? That’s the focus of the latest YALSA Snack Break and August webinar. In this Snack Break, Meaghan Hunt Wilson discusses the value of supporting teens in this area.