Cultivating Teen Programming at the Library

When someone wants to start their own garden, there are a lot of things they have to think about–location, climate, soil, and maintenance to name a few. It is important to know what kind of soil you are dealing with before you start cultivating the ground. Determining the quality of your soil allows you to utilize the ground to produce the best crop possible.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  -Audrey Hepburn

What does this have to do with having a teen presence and programming at the library? I have found the same principles and practices used in having a successful garden can be applied to cultivating a teen presence at your library.

I am the director of Bolivar-Hardeman County Library in Bolivar, Tennessee. We are a small and rural public library serving a diverse community. When I started nearly two years ago our teen attendance at our programs were at an all-time low—basically zero at our library. The demographic of our patrons is increasingly getting older. It was and is my passion to revitalize the library into a place where teens want to come. Shortly after I started, I became of a member of YALSA (Young Adult Library Service Association) and ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries). You can become a member by going here for YALSA and here for ARSL. I was starting from ground zero on developing any type of teen programming at the library. YALSA and ARSL has and continues to provide invaluable information and resources regarding teens and young adults with little to no budgets. One example is the Future Ready with the Library grant I received to be a member of the second of cohort. 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. I highly encourage you to read more about Future Ready with the Library. The past several months I have been very busy with gathering information about my community, schools, and youth for the Future Ready with the Library project. Because of my recent research and community engagement it has given me a fresh perspective on Bolivar. One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the lack of teen involvement in the library.

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Future Ready with the Library: The Power of Index Cards

This blog post is adapted from a Future Ready with the Library Community of Practice reflection by Amanda (Mandy) Bundy, Kaibab Paiute Tribal Library; Fredonia, AZ, Mandy 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. You can read more posts by current and previous project cohort members on this blog.

Mandy’s post is available in three parts
* Part 1 – Introduction
* Part 2 – Weeks 1 to 3
* Part 3 – Weeks 4 to 6
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Explore Libraries at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference: The New Orleans Public Library Main Library and Best Buy Teen Tech Center

The New Orleans Public Library Main Library, located in the Central Business District at 219 Loyola Avenue, is worth a visit during your conference down time. This mid-century modern library opened in 1958 and was designed by Curtis and Davis Architects and Engineers, the same firm that designed the Superdome. The first floor houses the adult collections and computers, and just received a facelift. The second floor houses the library’s youth services division and the brand new Best Buy Teen Tech Center. The third floor holds the city archives and special collections.

The Best Buy Teen Tech Center is funded by Best Buy and the Clubhouse Network, a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. By design, Best Buy Teen Tech Centers foster interest based-learning using new technology with the support from peer and adult mentors. Here, teens in New Orleans can develop their digital media and maker skills in music production, video production, graphic design, and more. The space will contain Macs and PCs, Adobe Creative Cloud, a music studio, drawing tablets, a 3D printer, green screen capabilities, an HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System, and more.

While there is a formal tour set via a LLAMA ticketed event for Friday, June 22, people with questions or those interested in visiting the Best Buy Teen Tech Center can contact the staff at bbttc@nolalibrary.org

Getting There:

The Main Library is easily accessible from the New Orleans Ernest M. Moral Convention Center with many options to choose from. The 16 and 22 buses offer an air conditioned ride with a fair of $1.25 in exact change each way. The Main Library is also a 1.3 mile walk or a quick Lyft, Uber, or taxi ride. Lastly, some of the ALA shuttles are likely to get you close enough for free with just a short walk.

Adrienne L. Strock is a member of the YALSA Local Arrangements Committee for ALA Annual 2018 and works for the New Orleans Public Library.

Gimme a C (for Collaboration): Collaborate to Stop Summer Slide

As the school year wraps up and Summer Learning approaches, now is a perfect time to collaborate with your local school and public libraries. We all know how important it is for students to maintain literacies, math and other skills during summer vacation. It’s time to reach out and work together to give kids the best summer opportunities, especially those who need the most support.

For schools with summer reading expectations, providing summer reading lists to public libraries can help to ensure that they have listed books on hand for students. School library staff can help to facilitate the connection by reminding teachers to prepare and share lists in spring. Having reading lists early helps public libraries to purchase books before Youth Services Departments get too busy with summer programs.

Public library staff who serve youth can contact their local schools to promote summer learning opportunities. At the elementary level, visiting library classes to encourage students to participate in summer programs can get kids excited about the public library. They should have a flyer or brochure ready to send home with elementary students. Some libraries issue public library cards to students through school, and this can help kids take ownership of their library and strengthen the relationship between school and library.

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National Library Legislative Day 2018

Colleagues-

Last week, Beth Yoke and I traveled to Washington DC to participate in National Library Legislative Day – a twoday advocacy event that brings hundreds of librarians, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress and to rally support for library issues and policies. This year, the ALA Washington Office asked NLLD attendees to focus conversations with their Congressional representatives and their staffs on three key issues:

  1. Reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act
  2. Full funding for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL),for FY 2019
  3. Inviting representatives and their staff to visit their local libraries to see broadband access in action.

On Monday, after a full day of advocacy training, Beth and I attended a reception on Capitol Hill. Among the speakers were four teens who had been selected as the 2017 North Carolina Library Association Student Ambassadors. The teens spoke powerfully about how libraries have impacted their lives:

Libraries have personally impacted me in so many ways, including the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and gain service and leadership skills. Alizdair Sebastien Ray

 

The library is a place where you can forget about reality and be present in the moment, where you can meet new people and develop new interests through the diverse programs it offers. Angelina Bayrak

 

It’s the perfect place to contemplate how we should handle our situations. Christina Haley Williams

One of the teens, Sam Kostiuk, created a video to share his experiences with libraries. Click here to view it.

In addition to attending ALA events, on Tuesday and Wednesday Beth and I met with representatives from the Department of Education (with AASL & ALSC), IMLS, the Afterschool Alliance, and the American Youth Policy Forum. Beth also met with the National Center for Cultural Competence.  These meetings were productive and Beth has already begun to follow up on our conversations.

Thanks to all of the YALSA members who participated in NLLD either in person, virtually, or by coordinating events in their communities.  Your advocacy efforts make a difference!

While participating in NLLD is important, we know that for libraries to be successful in our efforts to ensure federal funds and support for libraries, we need sustained, year round advocacy efforts. Read these 10+ ways you can take action and take a deep dive into all of the free advocacy tools and resources YALSA has on the web site.

Make sure to also reach out to your members of Congress during District Days – the time when they are back in their home districts. Invite them to come for a visit to the library and show them how you serve teens. Schedule a meeting with them at their local office to strengthen relations. YALSA has all sorts of free resources and tips to help you with this on the wiki.

Consider involving teens in your advocacy efforts like the NC Library Association did!  Visit the Youth Activism through Community Engagement wiki page for resources to help you and the teens you work with engage with their communities and advocate for issues like funding for libraries.

By stepping up our advocacy efforts we can help make the world a better place for all teens!

-Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff Webinar: Learning Environments

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 May webinar (the full video recording is available after the break), facilitated by Yvette Garcia from the Chicago Public Library, covered the topic Learning Environments. In her discussion Yvette talked with participants about the staff, policies, and space needed in order to provide quality learning opportunities for and with teens.

YALSA will host a follow-up Twitter chat on youth development on Thursday, May 24, at 7PM Eastern. Use the hashtag #yalsace to participate.
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Book Buzz at ALA Annual 2018

Join us for Book Buzz before this year’s annual conference!

What: Book Buzz at the New Orleans Public Library

Where: Main Library, 219 Loyola Avenue

When: Thursday, June 21, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

Schedule:

8:00-9:00 Registration/Networking

9:00 – 12:30 Children’s Presentations

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch provided by Publishers

1:30 – 4:30 Adult Presentations

Why?: Find out about new and forthcoming titles for your library, and get advanced reader copies and marketing materials from more than 30 publishers!

The New Orleans Public Library will host Book Buzz as part of this year’s pre-conference festivities. More than 30 publishers will present new and forthcoming titles for you to add to your reader’s advisory toolkits. The morning session will include children’s and young adult presentations, while the afternoon session will focus on adult materials. The publishers will provide lunch.

This event is free and open to librarians. You do not need to be registered for ALA to attend Book Buzz. Because space is limited, registration for Book Buzz is required. Please register through Eventbrite at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-buzz-tickets-45734784973.

For more information about the New Orleans Public Library, visit www.nolalibrary.org.

  

New and prospective YALSA members: start your conference with YALSA 101!

Are you a new or prospective member of the Young Adult Library Services Association? Do you want to learn more about the programs, services, and opportunities that YALSA has to offer? This session is for you! Attend YALSA 101 on Friday, June 22 from 2:30-3:30 pm.

During this “speed-dating style” session, attendees will rotate tables and learn from experienced YALSA members about topics including:

  • making the most of your conference experience
  • applying for awards, grants, scholarships, and stipends
  • getting involved: award committees, strategic work, taskforces, juries, interest groups
  • creating content for YALSA: Programming HQ, YALSA Blog, Hub, Research Journal, and YALS

We will also have prize drawings throughout the session. Kick off your conference experience by networking with YALSA members and learn how the organization can help you!

Five Amazing (and really critical!) reasons for Running for a YALSA Office and Serving on the YALSA Board!

We are just about a month away from ALA Annual and I’m looking forward to catching up with YALSA friends. Recently I was asked why I served on the YALSA Board and what was in it for me. My answer could be a short novel! However, to keep it brief here are my top reasons for serving on the YALSA Board and running for a YALSA office.

1)       It is a great opportunity to develop and cultivate new leadership skills in a very supportive and terrific environment.

2)      It is a great way to get involved while expanding your knowledge of team building, board development and more that is practical to your day jobs.

3)      It is a great way to meet new people who share a common interest: creating and providing excellent service and resources to our teens!

4)      It looks great on your resume AND considered when moving up in your organization. Board experience is a great career builder!

5)      I value the most the friends I made while serving on the YALSA Board and while serving as the YALSA Fiscal Officer. They come from all over the country and it is always a highlight to see them at conferences and events.

So think about volunteering as a Board member and running for a YALSA position. It is an incredibly positive experience and memorable. Additional information and FAQ’s are available on the YALSA website and here is a link to the nomination form – http://www.ala.org/yalsa/governance-candidacy-form. See you in New Orleans!

Mary Hastler is the Chief Executive Officer of Harford County Public Library in Maryland. Ms. Hastler is a Past-President of the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators and Past President of the Maryland Library Association. Ms. Hastler is the recipient of the Maryland Library Association Outstanding Member Award 2018. She was recognized by The Daily Record as an Influential Marylander 2017, and a 2017, 2015 and 2013 Top 100 Women in Maryland earning the Circle of Excellence distinction. Mary is an active member of YALSA and served five years on the YALSA Board in various capacities including Fiscal Officer. She is also active in ALA and PLA.

Ms. Hastler received a Master of Library Science in 2002 from the University of Maryland, College Park, College of Library and Information Services, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration Human Resources from Towson State University, Towson, MD. In addition, she received a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University in 1998. She is a graduate of the Harford Leadership Academy.

Getting Started with Youth Activism at Your Library – From Stay Woke to Out @ Library

An interview with Jenifer Phillips by Izabel Gronski

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

Most of my networking and professional development happens on social media. There are excellent conversations happening about librarianship on Twitter and Facebook. One group in particular that I enjoy watching for collaboration and idea curation is Teen Librarians. That is where I “met” Jenifer Phillips, the Teen Program Coordinator at the Haverford Township Free Library in Haverford, PA. There was a great conversation going about teen activism programs in the weeks leading up to the student-led walkouts on gun violence, so I popped in to promote the Youth Activism through Community Engagement wiki that this Presidential Advisory Taskforce has been working on. Jenifer commented a little bit later about her Stay Woke program and I knew we had to touch base and asked her to share her knowledge in a blog post. Her insights are especially helpful for those of us who just don’t know where to to start, but feel the need that our teens have for activism based programming. Hopefully, Jenifer will inspire you to take the leap as well!
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