Support #eBooksForAll

America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections, programs and services for all ages. In an increasingly digital world, libraries are investing more in eBooks and downloadable media, and thousands of people discover and explore new and favorite authors through both digital and print collections.

But now one publisher has decided to limit readers’ access to new eBook titles. Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.

Libraries and readers alike cannot stay silent! 

The American Library Association and libraries across the country are asking you to voice your opposition to Macmillan’s new policy by signing this petition and telling Macmillan CEO John Sargent that access to eBooks should not be delayed or denied. We must have #eBooksForAll!

Visit eBooksForAll.org to sign the petition and share the news widely.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Rancho Cucamonga Public Library

Flyer for the Summer Teen Volunteer Internship

Thanks to the YALSA Teen Summer Intern Grant, the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library was able to offer two teens the opportunity to be volunteer interns. Advertising for the internship began on April 1, 2019. The marketing included flyers and posters in both library locations, as well as a social media posts on the Library’s social media platforms. Both paper and online applications were available from April 15 to May 1. However, due to needing a parent or guardian’s signature on the application, a paper application was required to be turned in. In order to be considered, the applicants had to follow three requirements: 

  1. Applicants had to be between the ages of 16-18 during the internship
  2. Teens had to commit to intern for the full ten weeks to receive their stipend
  3. Interns were required to work three specific dates during the Summer Reading Program.

The review process was determined by teen services staff. Twenty-seven applications were turned in. The applicants were screened by age and availability in terms of the three requirements listed above. They were then ranked based on their answers to the application questions such as volunteer experience, hobbies and interests, current use of the library, and overall professional demeanor. Based on the ranking system the top 8 were offered interviews. These interviews were held over two days in which teen services staff asked teens about their strengths and weakness, why the wished to intern at the Library, experience working with children and teens, etc.  Of the 27 applicants, teen services staff made two offers for the internships. 

At the start of their ten-week internship, Morea and Nayana were given a two-day orientation and tours of both Library facilities by teen services staff. Each week the interns focused their time with a division of the Library including Children’s Services, Technology Services, Second Story Services, Teen and Tween Services, and Circulation Services. This rotation between the divisions allowed the interns to work with different supervising styles and exposed them to various facets of the Library. They were also given opportunities to learn hard and soft skills including copier skills, Google Docs, using office equipment properly, working on communication skills, teamwork, collaboration, and trying new things. 

Two teens pose in front of a door.

Getting started was a struggle in terms of Human Resources and Risk Management. There have never been teen interns at the Library, and therefore no pre-existing structure for us to follow. Our process was delayed from our original plan due to some logistical matters with HR. This impacted what information was available for the orientation, as well as some steps the interns had to take later in their internship to receive their stipend. We also learned that it was best to market our internship as “Summer Volunteer Teen Internship” to satisfy what we wanted to come across as well as what HR needed. Overall, timing was the biggest factor to keep in mind, but once it was all set-in motion it was an enjoyable experience that we would do again. 

 

Brittany Garcia is the Young Adult Services Librarian and Janet Monterrosa is the Library Technician at Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. 

Podcasting the Possibilities: Norman North High School’s YALSA Digital Equipment Grant in Action

From passion projects to final assessments for units over psychology, human rights, and more, Norman North students have flocked to using the library makerspace’s audio equipment to record podcasts. Hundreds of students utilized the library during the last school year to showcase what they had learned in a unique way, as well as record podcasts with their friends about “whatever comes up in conversation at lunch.”

With the help of the YALSA and Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Digital Equipment Grant, the Norman North Library was able to purchase additional podcasting equipment, as well as explore a topic yet to be discussed in our students’ podcasts — books! During the summer, North students that spent their summers volunteering with the public libraries were contacted about an opportunity to be the first to use the new equipment and record a podcast about any of the 2019 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominees. Before the school year began, several students came in record their podcast where they passionately discussed what their book was about, what they liked best, and what made it a “Teens’ Top Ten.” Many had never used the podcasting equipment before, so a quick crash course was given to each student so that they could use it independently afterward. Anchor was used to host the episodes of North’s Teens’ Top Ten podcast and each student was taught how to use Anchor to use in conjunction with the audio equipment.

As the school year began, more students who had read Teens’ Top Ten titles came in to record episodes. Library assistants were trained on how to use the equipment so that they could begin helping students as individual appointments began to come in from students interested in recording their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas about various topics. One assistant, Emma, a Senior and avid podcast listener, was amazed the library offered this. “I love podcasts and now I’m able to create my own and it’s amazing,” she said, after a training on how to use the equipment.

Because of the Digital Equipment grant, more of the 2400 Norman North students are now able to “podcast the possibilities” and a book podcast that the library will continue to record episodes for was born. Thank you to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA for this amazing opportunity.

Link to podcast: North’s Teens’ Top Ten

—Molly Dettmann, Teacher Librarian at the Norman North High School; currently reading Fullmetal Alchemist vol 1-3

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Collaborating Among the Stars – Summer Teen Programming at the Randallstown Library

This summer, the Randallstown Branch of Baltimore County Public Library received a Dollar General/YALSA grant. Randallstown is located on the west side of Baltimore County. Our summer population teen population visits daily. Many teens walk to the branch both after school as well as during the summer. Our branch features the highest computer use in the county.

We used the funding to offer additional summer programs. In conjunction with the “Universe of Stories” summer reading theme, we sought programs that connected to astronomy and space science. We marketed these programs heavily to schools and on in-branch flyers. Programs were also featured in the system’s summer calendar.

In addition, one of our staff filmed an internal video for staff across the system. This let the entire system know about the background of the grant. This video was taped after we had confirmed dates; it also highlighted the programs we were presenting.

We sought to use this money to provide programs featuring outside presenters. We serve summer lunches and provide daily activities in conjunction with that initiative. Staff researched a variety of potential options including NASA, the Maryland Science Center, Baltimore Robotics Club, and the National Museum of Aeroscience. We decided to go with two local presenters: Future Makers and The Science Guys of Baltimore. The branch and the system have worked with these partners in the past. Both groups have a reputation for engaging well with both kids and teens.

Programs were scheduled throughout the summer. In June, Future Makers presented two standalone programs: Build it: Mechanical Rovers and Build it: Light Orbiting Machines. This allowed us to capitalize on interest in the first month of summer reading. Eight teens attended Mechanical Rovers, and twelve attended Light Orbiting Machines.

In the mechanical rovers program, teens explored how to modify devices to move over different types of terrain.  In the light program they discussed centrifugal force before creating mechanisms that spun and glowed. These machines featured motors, batteries, and LEDs. Attendees got to take all assembled projects with them at the end of the sessions.

The Science Guys presented DIY Comets and Vacuums on July 31. In this program, teens worked in groups to make their own comets from dirt, sand, and even dry ice. Participants also experienced putting things into a space “vacuum.” Each group member shared their experiments to one another. Twelve teens attended the program. Sessions focused primarily on collaboration. Teens worked independently as well as in small groups. At the end of each session, attendees showcased their items.

 

Sarah Smith is the Manager and Ife N. Allette is a Librarian at Randallstown Library.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Suffolk Public Library Career Fair

Suffolk Public Library hosted a Career Fair for six teens and one summer worker who were chosen to participate in our Teen Summer Internship Program made possible by the grant from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the Dollar Tree Foundation. We wanted to do this because our internship consisted of a continuing education element as well as a practical element. The teens really enjoyed using the O*Net Interest Profiler in one of their earlier activities to see how their interests related to their career goals. The interns were fascinated to learn which areas of the United States employed their chosen career field, expected income, and the technology skills related to their future paths. We wanted to further ignite this spark, by inviting individuals to speak at the career fair to the teens about their businesses and jobs aligning with career paths that were highlighted during the career profiling session. This internship took place in a high poverty area with limited resources. Working in such an environment gave the teens an opportunity to see individuals, who hailed from the same, achieve their career goals. The teens were able to interact with these individuals and explore their success.

This event was rather casual, as we wanted the teens to feel comfortable asking any questions. We began the career fair as a group enjoying hors’doeuvres in a meeting room.  Then the teens went to a separate room and each individual speaker came into that room, sat down, and had a conversation with the teens. If we could do it over again, we would get a bigger room, have each speaker set up a table and have the teens walk around a little bit  and ask them questions in order to get them up and moving. However, space was an issue this time. We would not change the causal manner in which the program was done so that the teens would feel comfortable and be relaxed.

Teens sit around a conference room at the Suffolk Public Library Career Fair.

The speakers included a local high school teacher, an owner of an art business, a law school student, a construction worker, and a manager at the library. We also had a wonderful opportunity for the teens to send questions in advance to a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many of our male teens that hang out in the library are interested in sports so through some connections we were able to provide them with an opportunity to get real answers from someone who works for a team in the NFL. They asked all types of things from “What do players eat?” and “How often do they practice?” to “How did Donovan Cotton become a scout?” Library staff who worked with the teens during the internship asked community members to volunteer their time to speak with the teens.

What did they learn?
The unanimous response was that you can have fun doing something that you love.

When asked what we could have done differently?
The teens suggested that we could have invited even more guest speakers to the Career Fair.

 

Tiffany Duck is Manager of Library Locations at Suffolk Public Library.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Marion County Library System

Graphic reading "TEEN TECH" with media equipment in background.

Some Background Info
Our Teen Tech program had six scheduled meeting times, each lasting one hour. Originally, we had intended to make a short documentary-style video telling the stories of our small community and of its strength and resilience following two major flooding events. In doing so, we hoped to provide teens with the opportunity to work with technology they may not have access to without the assistance of the library. Through this, we hoped they would gain problem solving skills and become reacquainted with the offerings of the library.

Getting Started
Before our program, we contacted another library system –experienced in doing videography with teens—to gather information on which equipment we would need. We also collaborated with our city’s municipal government, and met with the city administrators on several occasions, discussing possible ways they could help with our summer programs. At times, we felt like we may have been asking for too much, but the city’s administration was more than happy to grant any and all requests we had of them. Through trial and error, we discovered that some of the equipment we had ordered needed add-ons to function as intended. The municipal government supplemented the equipment we had purchased with grant funds. The city administrators truly exceeded our expectations!

The Best Laid Plans…
Our plan was to divide the teens into teams and alternate times recording interviews of local people and editing the footage, so we would always have someone using the camera and learning the software. The first day, we had enough teens show up that this would have been possible. The next week, however, only two teens showed up. With the small number of attendees, we gauged that it would not be feasible to proceed as originally planned.  Instead, we decided to make a movie trailer-style promotional video for our library.

Because we only had two consistent attendees, every week we feared that nobody would show up and our program would be a complete failure.  To our surprise, we learned that low attendance does not necessarily indicate the program is doomed. Additionally, we learned that even though we are in a very economically disadvantaged location, some of the schools have camera equipment, so the teens had already been exposed to professional videography tools. Because of this, the teens were able to work collaboratively and give each other insight on angles, lighting, and video editing.

In Conclusion
Although only a couple of teens saw the project through to the end, they worked diligently to ensure their project got completed. (I must admit, though, we underestimated the amount of time it would take to edit the footage and condense it into a cohesive video. We wound up asking the teens to come back on unscheduled days to work with us on the project, to ensure it would be completed.) The teens and their families were excited to see their project in its final form. Once we uploaded the video to YouTube and posted it to Facebook, we saw that many of the family members and community members shared it and there was a positive buzz in the community.

This project has reaffirmed in my soul that we should never underestimate our power as a small community. We had a small turnout, but we accomplished big things. Though our small, rural community is poor, we are all willing to work together and pool resources to ensure that our children are learning and growing, in spite of hardship. In this way, we told the story of our community’s strength and resilience.

 

Ashley Hall is the new Youth Services Librarian at Marion County Library System in Marion, South Carolina.

YALSA’s 2019 YA Services Symposium — Early Bird Registration Ends This Sunday, Sept. 15!

Early bird registration for our 2019 YA Services Symposium, which will take place Nov. 1-3 in Memphis, TN ends this Sunday, Sept. 15.

As an added perk, those who join YALSA and register for the symposium by Sept. 15 will be automatically entered for a chance to win free registration for the 2020 YALSA symposium. Why join YALSA? Joining YALSA makes you eligible to register with the YALSA member rate, gain access to a quarterly journal, apply for YALSA grants and awards, volunteer on committees, and more. Plus, joining and then registering often costs less than registering as a non-member.

What’s included with registration?

  • Opening session on Friday evening feat. Kekla Magoon, Sandhya Menon, Lauren Myracle, and Meredith Russo
  • Book Blitz on Saturday evening with light refreshments, up to five free books, and the chance to meet dozens of authors
  • Concurrent sessions on Saturday from 8:30am-5pm, and 8:30am-1:00pm on Sunday, with the option to register for additional events Friday
  • Closing session on Sunday feat. Renee Ahdieh, Shaun David Hutchinson, Marie Lu, and Veronica Roth
  • Access to a free webinar
  • A certificate of participation with your contact hours (to receive the certificate, there will be a sign up sheet on site)
  • Refreshment breaks mid morning on Saturday and Sunday and an afternoon break on Saturday
  • A symposium bag
  • A badge holder

In addition to the included programs, the following ticketed events can be added for an additional fee:

Friday

  • Civic Engagement Pre-conference; 9am-12pm, $79. Learn more and view a sneak peek of the session.
  • Information Literacy Pre-conference; 1pm-4pm, $79. Learn more and view a sneak peek of the session.
  • Graceland Tour, 2 time slots: 9am – 1pm or 12-4pm, $76. Includes transportation and Elvis Experience Pass (mansion, planes, auto museum, special exhibits, and visitors’ center).

Saturday

  • Author Luncheon, Saturday, 12:00pm – 1:30pm. $49. Feat. Tiffany Jackson, Jennifer Mathieu, Mitali Perkins, and Vince Vawter.

View the list of programs and the ever growing list of participating authors (more to come). Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/registration.

 

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Denton Public Library

This year our library was selected as one of the recipients of the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Resources Grant. We chose to use the awarded funds to provide “starter” books to incarcerated teens in our county’s juvenile detention center and to our local school district’s summer high school ESL program. By providing the students with a book up front, we were able to give them the tools necessary to spend a summer reading and improving their literacy skills.

This partnership was not a new one to us as we have worked with these groups in summer of 2018 as well, but this year was special because we were able to provide the kids with the tools to succeed right off the bat. In 2018, the students participated in our summer reading program by borrowing books from their teachers and counselors but this year we were so excited to give them their own book to keep as soon as they signed up.

Instead of buying a variety of books for the students to pick from, we bought each participating student a copy of Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X. We felt this book really represented the teenage experience well and that the students reading it would find it appealing as well. Our hope was that each child reading the same book would lead to lively discussion and team building in their group. This also provided another great outreach opportunity because our two teen librarians were able to go out to the sites, meet the students participating, and book talk one of their favorite books. Our ESL group had never read the book before but their teacher had. The class decided to swap out the group reading they had previously chosen for this one instead. At the detention center, several students had read the book before but enjoyed it so much they were happy to receive their own copy to keep. They even helped us make our book talk more appealing by commenting on how much they enjoyed reading it and pushed their classmates to give it a chance as well.

Overall, 32 students participated in just a few short weeks and read a total of 15,600 minutes which averaged to about eight hours per person. After completing their first five hours of reading, each student received another free book courtesy of our Friends of the Library group to keep as part of their completion prize. We heard very positive reviews about The Poet X from students and teachers. Money leftover from purchasing the book was then used to stock and replace books in the counselor’s library at the detention center.

 

Sarah Ward is the Teen Services Librarian at Denton Public Library – South Branch.

Supporting Youth Mental Health Through Library Services

Over the years I’ve started almost every conference presentation or staff training related to mental health by sharing three key statistics:

  1. Roughly 70 percent of mental health problems have their onset during adolescence (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
  2. The 10th leading cause of death in the United States is suicide (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).
  3. There is approximately $139 billion dollars in lost earnings per year due to serious mental illness (National Alliance on Mental Health).

Those numbers never fail to grab the attention of the audience because it highlights just how prevalent mental illness is and it reminds people that no community is exempt from these issues. 

As we wrap up the first month of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, Teen Growth and Development, we’re shifting our attention to the second competency; Interactions with Teens. Specifically, we’ll be spending time discussing youth mental health and exactly how library staff can better positions themselves as allie’s and community connectors for those in need. 

Before we dive in, let’s take a minute to discuss what exactly what people mean when they talk about mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Furthermore, it’s the ability to meet the psychological and emotional demands of everyday life.

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YALSA Member EDI Task Force Member Volunteer Opportunities – apply by Friday, 9/20

Hello YALSA members!

As we continue to prioritize our dedication to striving for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in YALSA and throughout the profession, the YALSA Board has directed the formation of four (4) task forces that will further address the strides our division would like to pursue. These all are year-long (expected service: Oct 2019 – Oct 2020), virtual task forces that will each require some effort, but please do not let that dissuade you from applying! The output you create will be critically important to our profession and the work we do with and for teens. Please note that this is a members’ only opportunity.

Task Force 1: Promoting Professional Success for Underrepresented Groups within YALSA.  Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will assess existing pathways to professional success and involvement within YALSA for underrepresented groups.

Task Force 2: Encouraging LIS and iSchools to Include EDI Plan Elements in Curricula. Charge:  Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will work with LIS and iSchools to ensure that cultural competencies, equity, diversity and inclusion is included in all youth-oriented curricula.

Task Force 3: Modeling Services and Programs to Include EDI Plan Elements. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will provide models of inclusive and equitable services and programs to share on the YALSA Programming HQ and other avenues.

Task Force 4: Addressing Institutional Bias and Racism in Libraries. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will create and distribute materials to help members better serve diverse youth and to address issues of institutional bias and racism in their libraries.

If you are interested in participating in one of these Task Forces, please contact Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by Friday, September 20, indicating your first and second choice of task force by number.

Thanks for your dedication to the important work that we do to move the profession forward, and for the work you do for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl